What do you do with overpopulation?

Frequently Asked Questions About Ants

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Nezhul
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:55 am

What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14871Post Nezhul
Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:27 am

Ok, I'm not an ant-keeper yet, but I'm considering it.

One thing I can't find an answer for on any forums is - what do you do with overpopulation? As I see it, Ant colony will continue growing over time, producing hundreds, thousands, then tens of thousands workers. But what if I don't want to continue expanding it anymore - what if I want to stop at one formicarium + one outworld area (as a terrarium).

Can I do that? Or will they continue growing either way, and require more and more space? Well, then how to not let them take over my house eventually? I don't have a whole lot of space to set them up, so I can't keep expanding.

That's one of my main concerns. Thanks for answering. :)

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Aussie
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:16 pm
Location: Australia

Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14872Post Aussie
Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:02 am

Never really thought about it as it takes many years to get any sort of a decent size colony, I have also heard many people end up releasing their colony's and restarting fresh wth a new queen

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Batspiderfish
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Location: Maine

Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14876Post Batspiderfish
Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:19 am

You must plan to accommodate your growing colony, just like with any other pet.

They will need more space to nest and forage. Depending on the species and your location, most captive ants wont grow to more than a few thousand. Some even like to stay in the hundreds. If you don't live in the tropics, it will take three or more years to become large.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

Nezhul
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:55 am

Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14877Post Nezhul
Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:01 am

so you are saying that ants (some?) will not overpopulate?

Because my point is, when you have a cat, you are pretty sure right from the beginning about how large it gets and what conditions it will require. But I got the impression from some of the videos that ants multiply indefinitely, and you will need to add new formicariums and foraging areas, as well as keep feeding them more and more food. It's like as if a cat would grow to the size of a lion, then elephant, them whale and so no...

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Batspiderfish
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Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14880Post Batspiderfish
Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:28 am

Remember that almost all of the reproduction in the colony comes from the queen, and the queen has limits. With some ants, like Camponotus (excluding the small species), Crematogaster, Solenopsis (excluding thief ants), Atta, etc. can reach limits at or above 20,000 workers from one queen, after many years.

You know how big a cat will get and what they will need because you are familiar with them.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

Nezhul
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:55 am

Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14881Post Nezhul
Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:38 am

If I want to choose a species that will have certain limits (even after many years they will not go beyond certain point) - where do I look? It's just I don't want to start a colony that I don't have the ability to support in a few year's time. That'd be bad both for me and the ants.

My main concern in starting the antkeeping is being faced with a situation that my colony grows so large that they start suffering, and I have to keep expanding their space while I don't really have a good place to do so. So either them or I have to suffer =P

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Batspiderfish
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Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 14887Post Batspiderfish
Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:26 am

Figure out what ants are present in your area and look up the genera.

http://antmaps.org/?
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

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Serafine
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Location: Germany

Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 15225Post Serafine
Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:38 am

Also note that some ants require less space than you might think. I've seen people keeping about 700 Formica ants in an AntKit size4 nest that's about the size of a small omni nest (probably less).

As long as you don't have a species that multiplies like crazy (Fire ants, Argentine ants, certain wood ants, most multi-queen species, Leafcutters) nesting space usually isn't that much of an issue.
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Cartil
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Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:13 am
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: What do you do with overpopulation?

Post: # 29557Post Cartil
Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:15 pm

Regulating their food intake and temperature will also help controlling the population. Remember that to maintain the population, all you need is to keep the mortality rate equal to the birth rate. So if you reduce the birth rate, your ant colony will stop growing in size.

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