This might be a weird question, but as an antkeeper I'm curious about any rules regarding bringing ants on a plane. In this particular case: on a flight from Albania to Belgium, but any broader answer is also very helpful.

I tried checking all the prohibitions on major airlies in the EU, but could find no rules regarding insects in luggage. Nor could I find any EU restrictions on import of insects. So if it were just me, I'd take the risk and bring'm with me, and if I get questions I'd just try to explain what I'm doing. However... in this case it's not me who's traveling to Albania, but a close friend of mine who wants to take some ants home for me. To make matters even worse: that friend is a teacher accompanying a group of kids. I do NOT want her to get into trouble with customs while boarding the plane. That'd be a catastrophe.

So I wonder where I could find the rules regarding bringing ants on a plane from Albania to a EU country. I'm assuming there's three things I need to keep in mind:

  • export laws (and wildlife preservation laws) of Albania
  • import laws (and biosecurity laws) of the EU country of destination (Belgium in this case)
  • prohibitions of items in luggage of the airline

Yet, I'm struggling to find info. And also from fellow antkeepers I'm struggling to find information.

Some extra remarks, because I'm expecting concerned responses to this question:

  • The ant will be contained in a test tube. It will not be able to escape.
  • As antkeepers, obviously we are aware that bringing invasive species over can be damaging to the environment, and this is something we always keep in mind. Measures will be taken, even though in this case (Albania->BE) the risk is minimal.
  • I think a lot of users of this website are US-citizens. In the US the laws regarding this topic are very clear, and are very strict. However, keep in mind that in the EU this is not the case. Sale of ants (even across borders) is not prohibited and perfectly legal. There's a couple of EU countries (such as Spain) that have some additional laws, but even those do not pose an actual barrier when shipping ants to other EU countries).
  • 4
    I think in this case the rule 'never bring anything for someone else across a border' should count and you should not ask that teacher when traveling with a group of kids. Still a good question, +1.
    – Willeke
    Feb 20, 2022 at 6:56
  • europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/animal-plant/… confims that it's entirely down to national law so your research should focus on Belgium specifically.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 20, 2022 at 8:03
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    I'd be highly surprised if it's allowed. Countries constantly combat invading species, and invading insects were known to cause great damages, e.g. fire ants
    – ugoren
    Feb 23, 2022 at 8:32
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    You may know what you're doing very well. But import rules likely assume that you don't, and expect you to jump through some hoops to prove that your ants pose no risk.
    – ugoren
    Feb 23, 2022 at 13:00
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    The best question ever on the site.
    – Fattie
    Jan 16 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


This seems to involve significant bureaucracy.

www.health.belgium.be says:

In Belgium, there are no specific rules for travelling with other pet animals than dogs, cats and ferrets. However, when the animals come from a non-EU-country, you should submit an application for permission to import to the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain through [email protected].

For travelling with exotic animals, you must also comply with the CITES regulation.

fasfc.be contains various info, including:

Each consignment of live animals must be notified by an interested party to the FASFC at the BIP of arrival at least one working day before its expected arrival on EU territory. The pre-notification must be made by means of a Common Veterinary Entry Document, the CVED, via the TRACES system. A CVED must be drawn up for each consignment, the model of which is laid down in Regulation (EC) N° 282/2004.

  • Thanks a lot! This was indeed the information I was looking for! Strange thing I had such a hard time finding it myself. Upvoted and will accept answer in 24h (as per SE etiquette). Do you maybe also have information about possible export rules in Albania? Extra internet points if you could add that, because I can't upvote and accept twice :)
    – Opifex
    Feb 23, 2022 at 13:27

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