Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Questions from those who are just starting or considering getting into the ant keeping hobby. If you’re intimidated or confused by the in-depth posts of the other sections of this forum, feel free to post here, and we'll start from square one!

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AntsVietnam
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:19 pm
Location: Vietnam

Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 24986Post AntsVietnam
Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:54 pm

Hi,

My name is Nguyen and I'm an ant lover from Vietnam and I've recently caught a red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) queen in my backyard. I've put her in a test tube set up and she should be laying some eggs in the next few weeks. My plan is as the queen fill up the tubes with her first worker ants, I will intoduce her to an outworld and more test tubes. Put after that I would like to move her to a soil formicarium to make it looks more natural and partly because I don't have that much money to buy professional ant products and do not have access to material like ytong.

Here are some questions I have about using a soil nest that I hope you can answer in order to help me grow my colony:
- What kind of substance should I use (soil from my garden, soil from plant store, sand from playground, or a mixture of the substances above)?
- How do you hydrate the formicarium without making the tunnels to collapse and drowning the ants?
- I heard that in soil formicarium, ant would just simply burry their waste and that would increase the chance of harmful bacteria to grow, is that true? If so, how to prevent that?
- Finally, how would clean a soil nest (it just can't be cleaned with water and vinegar like other formicarium)?

Thanks for spending your time to read my topic and I hope that you would comment and answer my questions as soon as possible.

Regards,
Nguyen Dung

Mistergatsby
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:50 am
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 27091Post Mistergatsby
Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:01 pm

Soil from the plant store should be good, and for hydrating you could maybe spray the nest with a little water and put a test tube with water and cotton so they can drink at all times (you will have to refill it when it starts becoming empty). And for the question about bacteria, ants live in soil in the wild so having a soil nest want hurt the ants or give them bad bacteria compared to other nests( non soil nests can get bacteria just like all nests). and for cleaning just use tweezers to pick the waste and dead bugs out. Aslo if its just a soil nest it would be better for the ants if you added somethings like a rock or a plant or stick(dont get carried away and add too much stuff or it would be harder to clean). Anyways hope this helped.

muhilanirudh
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:58 am
Location: bengaluru

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 28409Post muhilanirudh
Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:26 am

YOU CAN JUST USE SOIL FROM YOUR BACK YARD. FOR MAKING IT GERM FREE YOU CAN JUST HEAT IN A PAN.
KEPPER OF :-

POLYRACHIAS DIVES
ASIAN WEAVER ANT
CREMATOGASTER SP
SOLENOPSIS GEMINATE
PHIDOLE SP
CAMPONUTUS IRRITANS
CAMPONUTUS​ COMPRESSUS

FOUNDING :-
HUNCHBACK ANTS

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AqdasHassaan
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:47 am
Location: Pakistan

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 28658Post AqdasHassaan
Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:24 pm

AntsVietnam wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:54 pm
Hi,

My name is Nguyen and I'm an ant lover from Vietnam and I've recently caught a red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) queen in my backyard. I've put her in a test tube set up and she should be laying some eggs in the next few weeks. My plan is as the queen fill up the tubes with her first worker ants, I will intoduce her to an outworld and more test tubes. Put after that I would like to move her to a soil formicarium to make it looks more natural and partly because I don't have that much money to buy professional ant products and do not have access to material like ytong.

Here are some questions I have about using a soil nest that I hope you can answer in order to help me grow my colony:
- What kind of substance should I use (soil from my garden, soil from plant store, sand from playground, or a mixture of the substances above)?
- How do you hydrate the formicarium without making the tunnels to collapse and drowning the ants?
- I heard that in soil formicarium, ant would just simply burry their waste and that would increase the chance of harmful bacteria to grow, is that true? If so, how to prevent that?
- Finally, how would clean a soil nest (it just can't be cleaned with water and vinegar like other formicarium)?

Thanks for spending your time to read my topic and I hope that you would comment and answer my questions as soon as possible.

Regards,
Nguyen Dung
Answer 1: Completely agree with @muhilanirudh doesn't matter if you buy soil or use us from you backyard, boiling is important to kill any sort of harmful organisms.

Answer 2: Do what @Mistergatsby has suggested.

Answer 3: Do the regular cleaning by picking up the leftovers and deadbodies of feeder insects. You can also buy some spring tails colony that also helps breakdown the decomposing matter.

Answer 4: If you do all the stuff mentioned above, you would not have to worry about cleaning the soil.
Keeper of Pheidole sp.

AntsVietnam
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:19 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 28893Post AntsVietnam
Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:39 am

Thanks for your help, just one more question: How can I catch springtails?

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AqdasHassaan
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:47 am
Location: Pakistan

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 28906Post AqdasHassaan
Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:10 am

AntsVietnam wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:39 am
Thanks for your help, just one more question: How can I catch springtails?
I can easily find colonies of spring tails by picking up rocks or any solid thing that provides enough shade to hold the moisture in soil in my backyard. Spring tails are everywhere. Maybe you can find some in your backyard too. They are very tiny white insects and are usually very fast to capture with hand.
Keeper of Pheidole sp.

AntsVietnam
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:19 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 29000Post AntsVietnam
Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:08 am

Thanks for you help!

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AqdasHassaan
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:47 am
Location: Pakistan

Re: Some beginner question about using soil formicarium. (Sorry if I wrote to much!)

Post: # 29027Post AqdasHassaan
Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:40 pm

Happy to help.:)
Keeper of Pheidole sp.

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