Tar Heel Ants is a full-service ant keeping supply store located in Raleigh, North Carolina in the United States of America.  We research, test, design, manufacture, and sell all of our formicaria (ant nests, ant farms, etc.) on location here at Tar Heel Ants workshops.  Our goal is to provide ant keepers worldwide with the best naturalistic formicaria possible along with an array of other materials and supplies for the ant keeping enthusiast as well as educational institutions.  

As of April 2018 we now have a storefront located at 3209 Gresham Lake Rd. Unit 125, Raleigh, NC 27615.  Call for an appointment (919) 348-3642 and hours.  We take appointment visits only, so please call ahead!

In early 2012 selling a single formicarium design and since has grown to provide a number of formicaria lines such as the Nuclues, Hearth, and Inception lines of formicaria.  We also work closely with several educational institutions, museums, and other entities to provide formicaria products for ant keeping and help spread the knowledge of raising and keeping ants as pets in general.

Live Ant Shipment Unboxing and Refunds

Due to a recent uptick in false claims (fraudulent claims), we now require unboxing videos to be sent as proof.   Most other ant shops have previously adopted this as a policy.  We held out as long as we could so as not not impose too strict rules with our friends in the ant keeping community!  Unfortunately, as the hobby community has grown, so has the number of people that would take advantage of the friendliness of the community and businesses that participate in the hobby. 

Without this unboxing video as evidence, we will be unable to honor requests to replace ant colonies that arrival damaged or unsatisfactory.  PLEASE BE READY TO DO AN UNBOXING VIDEO AS PART OF YOUR LIVE ANT DELIVERY!  You must check the ants immediately upon receiving them!!!

Having said that, we are understanding of problems that arise during the shipping of live ants that are out of your control.  Please contact us immediately if you notice problems with your shipment of ants or any of our products.

The policy to replace live ant colonies that arrive dead or damaged during shipping refers to ants shipped from Tar Heel Ants only as part of your orders from our website.  We do not refund live ants shipped, but will happily replace the colony with one of equal or greater value.

Damaged Packages/Replacement Items

Despite being a little overzealous at times in our packaging efforts (peanuts...foam, double layer boxes), damage does occur on rare occasions.  Below are the instructions for what to do should you receive a package that looks damaged on the outside/inside.

1. Document the original package condition with photos from different angles, including the label in at least one photo.

2. Open all the package contents completely (being very careful if glass is broken) and take photos of the damage. 

3. Save all packaging materials and contact us via email at for further instructions on how to proceed with a claim for your damaged goods and receiving replacements for them.

We do not refund damaged goods, but we do replace the items with new ones at no expense to you.  In order to do this, we must have photos of the damaged items, and you must save all original materials (including boxes) for inspection/pickup by the postal carriers.  If you discard these items or cannot take photos, the claim will be denied by the carrier!  When ordering from overseas with us, please understand that while we make allowances for the difficulty of shipping packages with breakables overseas and do our best to pack items very tightly, damage can occur.  The insurance portion can take a very long time to sort out between mail companies as they determine who, if they believe anyone, is at fault.  We will do our best to expedite the claim process and get you new items shipped promptly, so saving all the items you receive and contacting us promptly will help this process proceed smoothly.

Shipping And Refunds/Cancellations

Tar Heel Ants makes custom formicaria.  This means we keep no stock unless the item is located on our Immediate Shipping pages (please read this page for details).  By ordering custom formicaria from our website you are entering into an agreement with us to make your custom formicaria for the charges paid for at the time of ordering.  The custom nature of our business means that completion times can be longer than stated on the product pages.  This is noted frequently throughout the website.  Please contact us via email or phone (919) 348-3642 if you have questions or problems with receiving an order.  Email is preferred to allow us to track inquiries better.

Once orders are submitted refunds are not possible in most cases.  We order supplies and begin work immediately and for the Immediate Shipping Pages we ship these often within hours of receiving the orders.  Also, due to the sensitive nature of the pets our products support, we cannot resell return items in most cases and thus only allow returns on defective products.  In rare cases (very rare) where honoring a cancellation is necessary, we will charge a restocking fee up to 20% of the purchase price of the items cancelled.  This covers time spent on cancellation, restocking, and packing/repacking.

Live Ant Delivery Promise:  LIVE DELIVERY OF ANTS IS GUARANTEED.  FOR US TO HONOR THIS PROMISE, YOU MUST CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY NO MORE THAN 2 HOURS AFTER DELIVERY IN THE EVENT OF A PROBLEM WITH YOUR DELIVERY OF LIVE ANTS!  If you do not contact us within two hours, the live arrival guarantee is voided.  Leaving live ants outside in hot or cold weather can kill them in a short period of time, so please arrange for someone to move them inside quickly after they are delivered.  Our website system sends automated emails about deliveries, but we also recommend you signing up for updated tracking on the carrier websites.


We use the highest quality, thoroughly tested materials available to make our formicaria.  In 2010 we began testing a multitude of materials with our local ant species by making formicaria for our personal ant colonies and those of a trusted group of close friends in the hobby.  As we settled on the optimal materials and designs for the species within the state of North Carolina, we began offering formicaria for sale online in various forums, groups, and social media platforms.  Later, in 2012, as we started Tar Heel Ants, we began product lines based on the researched methods and materials to make formicaria available worldwide from our website.

We use Ytong, also known as AAC, as this was our original material we began with in 2010.  Later we practiced with other materials to coat the Ytong with a naturalistic layer of material.  Some of you may still remember the 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 line of habitats decorated with picture frames from local art stores.  This material on our website is now called Type I, and is a bare Ytong material with no coated layers.  We recommend this material for most species, minus a few destructive ants we discuss on our blog such as Tetramorium immigrans and Solenopsis invicta.

Type III material has become the predominant material we use for our habitats.  It is harder than AAC or Ytong, has better absorption properties, and looks more natural compared to bare Ytong with sand coated or vermiculite coated walls.  Type III material uses a process that includes no adhesive materials but relies on the natural curing process to bind materials together without the need for any unnecessary materials such as glues, 2 part epoxy, etc.

There was a Type II material at one time, that was discontinued.  While we enjoyed years of success keeping ants and making habitats with this material, one brief episode was all it took for us to revert to one of our original materials that we now call Type III.  This is our own mixture of materials that is now used exclusively at Tar Heel Ants and in habitats we have made for museums, public displays (including our own showroom in Raleigh, N.C.), and the hobbyist community in general.

In 2019 we began using 3d-printed parts to supplement our habitats as well.

Wholesale Orders and Pricing

More information coming soon on this, but for now there is a minimum order of $1,000 for wholesale orders.  Pricing may vary with each market, so please email us at  Minimum order of $1,000 is required to meet wholesale pricing standards, NO EXCEPTIONS.  You must have an existing website or other comporable business platform (ie, Phyical Store, catalogue, etc.) to qualify as well. 

Express and Expedited Orders

For all expedited and express shipping we recommend you contact us directly via email or phone (919-348-3642) to let us know of the need to receive items quickly.  We do not ship every day and being a small business with fairly high volume express shipping is best done with direct communications.  Please let us know if we can help answer questions about receiving orders quickly!!! Our email is  


We are very active in keeping ant colonies and continuing to enjoy and learn from raising ants of a variety of sizes and species.  We have permits to keep ants from other areas of the world, and we do this to better understand the variations on diet and care across different species.   We also upload ant keeping videos to our YouTube channel and blog (link is on our home page) with articles on methods detailing how to start and keep pet ant colonies and queens on your own.  Always follow the principles of good ecological conservation when obtaining your ant colonies.

We ship our products anywhere the mail will reach and we have shipped to many countries around the world including Canada, Australia, China, Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, and many more.  Our packaging is carefully done to ensure items arrive in perfect condition and all international packages are insured.  Please check  your local shipping regulations for customs fees and import taxes.  We do not pay this in advance for you with your order.  

We are able to ship large orders to most destinations and if you wish to become a distributor of our products in your country please contact us at for more information.


Mack Pridgen, owner, Tar Heel Ants (Updated 8/4/22)