I want to keep live ants and would like some leaf-cutter or other ant species, can you send me some? Since I would like to keep them for a long time, please send a queen too.
This type of question is asked quite often here at AntBlog. Here is a standard response for anyone interested in keeping live ants or collecting ants on your own:
Unfortunately it is illegal to ship live ants, especially with queens, between countries and in most cases even between states. In order for anyone to ship you live ants, you both would need the appropriate permits. Much of this information is also true for collecting ants yourself even if they are dead. This means you would need:
1) a permit to collect the ants (collection permit),
2) a permit to export the ants from the country/state in which they were collected (export permit),
3) another permit to export "live" ants (live ant export permit),
4) a permit to import the ants into the receiving country (import permit), and
5) another permit for receiving the "live" ants (live ant import permit).
There are likely other forms, permits, and agencies that would also need to be involved and the rules are often different between countries/states. So, be sure to carefully check the rules and regulations for both the country/state the ants will be collected in and where you want to take them to. Unfortunately finding who to contact in each country/state can often be difficult, but it is essential that you follow all rules and regulations regarding collecting, exporting, importing and mailing live or dead ants or any other biological material.
Also, please see another related AntBlog post on this topic regarding making an ant farm here. Near the bottom of the post there is a section on "Which ant species to keep?" that will likely also be helpful.
Best of luck!
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team