Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

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SpeciesK
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Re: Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

Post: # 17802Post SpeciesK
Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:06 pm

Since they are in dirt, I don't see _any_ brood, or the queen of course. I guess I could have some brood in there but no queen, that would be sad. I suppose that if they eat protein for a while and then stop then they would have brood they raised and then ran out. If they keep eating protein then they have some eggs to raise. So the one with a few ants has neither. The weaker ones have some brood at the moment, I guess. And maybe the strongest one has a queen, or maybe just a bunch of brood to feed, but it acts the most normal, I think. I haven't decided how to warm them up a little. I have a reptile undertank heater mat that I had between closed buckets at first, but now I don't think it would warm a dirt nest, and I don't want to put it on top of the dirt in case the ants climb up the cord and get out. I will figure something out... :P

SpeciesK
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Re: Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

Post: # 17812Post SpeciesK
Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:51 pm

I have not found any laws about distributing native ants, only non-native ants. The Lacey Act concerns importing animals from other countries into the USA and has nothing to do with native species. Those are the facts that I have found. :geek: No, I still don't know anyone who keeps ants or wants to keep ants or has any interest in trading ants or anything else to do with ants. :P

Martialis
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Re: Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

Post: # 17816Post Martialis
Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:40 am

SpeciesK, it is illegal. It is necessary to get a permit for any animal classified as a plant pest, of which the entire Formicadae (ant) family is classified.
Keeper of

Tetramorium sp.

Crematogaster sp.

Past Queens/colonies:

Ponera pennsylvanica

SpeciesK
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Re: Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

Post: # 17905Post SpeciesK
Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:24 am

It's necessary to have a permit to _import_ anything in Formicidae, or any other species that might turn out to be a pest. That is what that law actually _says_. It's not possible to import a native species since its native. Its all academic, no one is buying or selling anything to or from me, and it's winter. I am digging up (and mostly killing) ants to keep. :cry:
I think one colony is content enough at the moment. The others are really weak but might hang on a while. :?
I put a little light bulb in a clamp-on lamp and put it over two buckets, and the ants really liked that, so I moved it so it would shine a little into a third, and that one crowded some ants onto the spot. That is kind of exaggerating, but the "good" colony is much more active with a little heat and light, and is carrying dirt and a few dead ants around, and so far acts like a normal very small colony. :P The second colony is much weaker, I haven't seen more than about twenty of them out. The third is even weaker, and I think maybe most of them were gathered in the spot of light/heat, less than twenty anyway. :(
The "good" colony is made of liiiiiiiittle blackish ants that look like pavement ants (Tetramorium) to my ignorant eyes. I never realized they had antennae so long. :mrgreen: They found some big reddish ant heads in the dirt somewhere and carry a couple around sometimes to discard, but so far they don't have anywhere to discard things. There are two pillbugs in with them and they ignore them so far. I wonder why ants make little dirtballs that they pile up instead of just carrying out the separate dirt or sand? I am kinda surprised they have so many openings out of the dirt. They have maybe ten or so openings, and mostly use three of them. I poured some water in the buckets to make sure they have a little water. I looked at test tubes sold at a hobby shop but they were more than I want to pay, and I don't need heat-resistant glass tubes. So, they got a little rain. :P It is interesting just watching them walk around, usually trying to find a place to drop a dirtball. :D
The second and third colonies are much weaker, and are bigger ants, maybe one and a half times as big as the "good" colony. They are lighter color, with lighter reddish brown heads and gradually get darker along the body until the gaster is darkish brown. Somehow the second colony knows when I am trying to look at them and a few come out of somewhere to run out and look at me, and then most disappear again until one is looking at me as it walks slowly around, and then disappears. Their dirt is odd looking chunks with holes in it that I thought they would have hidden inside when I dug them up but it's even too odd for them I guess. I have plenty of food in there for them but they don't seem interested. The third colony has normal looking dirt and if I see them at all then they are in a gap between the side of the bucket and the hole they dug. The spot of light/heat is near that opening. I saw them (all?) out in that spot after it had shone a while, but once I looked at them there, they panicked and ran away back underground. Pretty shy I guess.
I also have my fourth colony but there is no light shining on it, and I put a reptile heat mat under the bucket to see how that goes. It is the colony with a food container on top of a bucket of dirt and that all inside a bigger bucket, so none of the dirt is heated directly. I don't see more than five ever walking in there. It is the weakest. I think they are something like the second and third colonies but I'm not sure, I might have put two kinds of ants in there of slightly different sizes. I never see an ant for very long and it's harder to see anything. Anyway, they have food but ignore it, so either they are cold or have nothing to feed.

SpeciesK
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Re: Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

Post: # 17973Post SpeciesK
Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:56 am

Man! I really like my ants even if they aren't full colonies! I dug them up where people dump dirt and landscape stuff and who knows what else, so the dirt all looks different in each colony. I can't really recommend getting colonies the way I did though, since I only had about a 10% success rate at most, maybe 0% if the good ants have no queen.
And now that they have a little heat/light they are a lot more active.
So I can tell my first colony (the good ants) is definitely stronger than the others, that is, there are a lot more of them in there. And they aren't actually black, but dark brown. I am uncertain what kind they are yet. I thought they were Tetramorium because they are so small, but they keep carrying around a dead ant with a big brown head that doesn't look anything like the rest of them, and I don't know where that came from although I might have combined the original dead ants in the bottle I had a few weeks ago, and I am uncertain if that is what they looked like at the time. I tried sticking a tape measure down into the bucket to see how long they are but since it doesn't bend right I destroyed one of their main tunnels and didn't get a measure. I pulled out the tape measure and scratched the surface dirt around and added a little water so they can repair it (hopefully) and then I will try again. Maybe I will cut off the end of a cheap ruler and stick it in there flat. I was hoping for millimeters, but I think they are not longer than an eighth of an inch anyway.
The second colony is odd. There aren't a lot of them and they aren't all exactly the same size, but bigger than the good ants and a redder brown in front. All except one ant I just saw in there yesterday that is the smallest ant I ever saw, less than one millimeter, and a slightly different shape, and black. The tiny ant looked like it had three tubular segments without a narrow waist, and the legs looked shorter but sturdier somehow. I only saw it once, at an angle, and like I said it was tiny, so I can't be certain of anything. Anyway, I wonder if I have two different kinds of ants in there even though there aren't very many. They aren't really eating that I can tell so it probably won't matter. If there are as many ants below ground as I see sometimes above ground then there aren't more than 40 total, but that is okay for me except I _want_ to feed the ants every day and they aren't eating.
The third colony is definitely weak but the light/heat brings them out sometimes. I think having 20 ants would be an exaggeration for them. I don't know that there are a couple fewer now than there were but maybe that is the case. They are the same kind anyway. I don't have much hope for them but who knows.
The fourth colony is in the dark compared to the other three and very weak. I think I saw three in there yesterday. I keep hoping that maybe there are queens in two, three, and four but no larvae yet, so they aren't eating for that reason. I mean, they might be eating anyway but there are so few of them that I can't tell. I bought some mini superworms today to put in there. I was gonna get mealworms but the pet shop had them in a "fridge" with ice formed on the upper part, so they are too cold and half the mealworms were dead and black from the cold. I was gonna turn the temp up in it for them, but decided I didn't have any business doing that, if they are so ignorant then they shouldn't be selling them anyway. Mealworms don't like being at just above freezing, or Waxwoms which they also had in there. So the superworms were at room temp and I got a 100 count container with the most still wiggling in it.
I also have a mystery fifth colony in theory but I think there is zero chance its a colony, it was some dirt with a few ants and some male alates I dug up. I think I saw one ant in there a few days ago.
BUT, watching the good ants is interesting to me, but also very calming. I almost fell asleep watching them yesterday. They even surprised me by suddenly grabbing a cricket head and moving it across a few inches. THRILLS! CHILLS! FEATS OF STRENGTH!
This is one of the best hobbies I ever tried.

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Superworms Have Super Powers!

Post: # 18017Post SpeciesK
Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:53 am

Well, that sure was a surprise! :o
I bought a container of mini size Superworms yesterday to feed the ants, and if you have ever had then then you know they are big burly things like mealworms who have been working out at a gym somewhere. And that they can pretty much take care of themselves if they have some food, and eventually turn into huge brown beetles. So, I figured if the ants didn't like them then they would drill thru the dirt eating whatever the ants didn't and maybe turn into beetles if they didn't die. I put a couple in each and most drilled down into the dirt as expected, but in the Good Ants (as I've decided to call them now) there was one flopping around instead of drilling because after I watered them last time the surface had dried into a crust and it couldn't get thru it.
Well, all holy hell had broken loose among the ants in there! Ants started coming out to attack the Superworm to stop it! And they kept coming out. And coming out! And then I found out that the Good Ants aren't just good and strong but Super Powered! There were _hundreds_ of them pouring out to attack the Superworm! And they were going nuts! There were so many going so nuts that they actually were climbing the sides of the bucket covered in powder and vaseline (it had been gradually wiped off on places by my moving things I guess) and were about to start getting out! I was mesmerized at first by all the ants that appeared by magic, but then I hurried to get vaseline and when I got back they were mostly back attacking the Superworm, so I added another layer of vaseline to the top as I watched the ants. Meanwhile, in the other colonies the ants there were also out attacking! Not so many, but now I know there are more ants in each than I thought. The others are much weaker than the Good Ants but not quite at death's door yet. Interestingly, the other ants killed their Superworm pretty quick but the Good Ants didn't, they couldn't because they are smaller. I also found out they aren't Tetramorium ants, they are Pheidole ants! Majors came out of the colony to attack! I had seen the ants carrying around a dead ant before with a large head but didn't know where they found it. I figured it just was in the dirt somewhere. Well, now I know they stay underground until a Superworm comes along and then they attack. And I am guessing that maybe I really might have got a queen in there somewhere! I am trying to read about Pheidole ants now but there isn't much. I also have tried a few times to get a copy of the most accurate list of ant species in the state but it's like it's secret information and I would have to work or attend the university the paper is at. That seems like stupidity to me, but it's also a Masters thesis from 2012, so maybe they don't consider their own graduate students as doing accurate research and so want to hide it from the world. 8 ( My state does everything upside-down, inside out, and backwards, and cherishes enforced ignorance, so nothing surprises me when it comes to obstructing knowledge. But, off my rants and back to my ants!
The Superworm flipped itself into a crack that had formed by an opening and the ants really got pissed off. The majors surrounded it but it seemed slippery enough they couldn't clamp onto it down its back. Their jaws seem to me to be wide enough and strong enough to grab it underneath, and the minors could grab it's legs, so I am assuming that is what is happening to it. Poor thing.
But there is a HUGE difference in the response of all the ants to the canned dead crickets and wiggling Superworms! Like night and day! They are pretty indifferent to smelly dead crickets, but go berserk to wiggling Superworms. The Superworms who managed to drill into the dirt in the buckets eventually won't stand a chance against the ants, any of the ants. Hopefully Superworms only eat vegetable matter and not ant eggs or larvae, but I don't think they would last long if they tried raiding the ant nests, if there are any. I will cut the Superworms in the future. I suspect that most underground places are too moist for Superworms, like Mealworms, so if they are too moist they will come back to the surface and the ants will catch them. I guess I will go read about Superworms now...

SpeciesK
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Re: Superworms Have Super Powers!

Post: # 18018Post SpeciesK
Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:15 am

Rassin rassin forum won't let me correct or add to my last post! I wish someone would change that so we can edit our posts for an hour or something... :oops:
Now I forget what I added, except Mealworms swell up when too moist. I corrected spelling and rewrote a couple things that I phrased wrong. Oh well... so I look worse, I guess I can't do anything about it.
Keeping ants sure is interesting!

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Serafine
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Re: Random SpeciesK Antkeeping Stuff

Post: # 18032Post Serafine
Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:37 am

Pheidole are highly polygynous and can raise their own (additional) egg-laying queens so it is very likely that your colony has more than one queen. Also they prefer living food and are not exactly excited when they find only dead stuff. Pheidole are predators, not scavengers.
"We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull."

SpeciesK
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I Found The Queen Walking Around In The Chaos!

Post: # 18180Post SpeciesK
Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:59 am

I figured out a way to add this even though its impossible for me. ;)
I FOUND THE GOOD ANTS QUEEN WALKING AROUND DURING A FEEDING FRENZY!!!
That really is great, but actually surprises me for a few reasons. For one, I thought that once a queen ant starts squirting out her eggs she never comes up out of the ground and never sees the light of day again because she is SO afraid of the light. I have seen with my own eyes that is completely wrong! Not only was she walking around, but she stopped to lick off her front legs while the chaos was going on around her, and she was approached by a worker ant who discovered her out of the ground and she looked kind of sheepish and defiant at the same time, and then the worker grabbed her by the mandibles and the queen curled up like a little kid digging in her heels to resist going somewhere, and the the worker dragged her across the ground to the opening and brought her underground! Once it started dragging her she stopped resisting but stayed curled up. But she looked like she had been enjoying being above ground in the light and was taking a stroll in the park! So now I think that ant queens are not afraid of the light, they just don't want to be forced out of the nest into the light. I have a similar reaction to someone dragging me outside into sunshine but I'm not afraid of sunshine. Okay, I am afraid of sunshine, it hurts and causes cancer and makes your skin leathery, but that is different. (Because it doesn't support my flimsy assertions :lol: )
Another reason, why would the queen of a colony be strolling around on the surface of the ground in the middle of a noticeable chaos of ants when there would be numerous birds flying around (except Indiana where there are no birds around, its totally silent) looking for bugs to eat and big bugs would be even better to eat? It seems like it would have been selected against by queens getting eaten. Contradictory, but I saw it for myself, the queen had no qualms about walking around, and even seemed to act like an escaped prisoner or somebody skipping school (same thing? hahaha! )
And there is probably a third reason it surprises me. Hmm, what would it be? Well, all that comes to mind is a re-emphasis that you are only told that queen ants are afraid of light when it's not true.
Since she has been living in the ground all her life, rather than in a squeaky clean glass or acrylic formicarium, she looks very dusty instead of shiny and clean, and she makes me want to wash her and polish off the dust and scuff marks
It would be great if my Pheidole ants were polygynous and could raise their own queens to replace any dead ones! Does that mean the males and females mate within the colony and don't need to take nuptial flights? That would be great too.
I tried to find pictures of queen Pheidole ants and their workers and majors, but its tough finding Pheidole queen ant pictures that are not just faded, dried, shriveled up husks. Same with the major and minor ants, they are pictures of shriveled carcasses instead of live ants. So the colors are wrong and they are wrinkly and positioned in death shrivels. But though I have more or less given up identifying the species, I have decided they are NOT Pheidole megacephalum, the African Bigheaded Ant, because they are the wrong color and the majors' heads are the wrong shape and their queen is, I think, black and yellow. The Good Ants queen is a camouflaged mottled dusty brown, something like the cheapest clay kitty litter, and blends in pretty well with the dirt, which could be kitty litter for all I know. So I might have actually seen her before but didn't recognize her because of the good camouflage color. She is something like a brown color inside with a translucent dusty shell over everything. I can't decide if she is naturally born that color or if she is old and scuffed up and faded to that color. It doesn't make any difference, really. I looked at a couple ant keys but only got silly answers. And looking at ant videos is much more interesting but the ants look most like an Australian Pheidole ant. hahaha :lol:
I think its safe to say there are zero invasive Australian ants in the USA! HA! If an Australian ant wants to come to the USA then I suggest that Bull Ants (Myrmecia) should consider it! HUGE skinny ants with big eyes that actually see you and seem to be thinking about something, huge snapper jaws, a stinger, an attitude, some jump,and semi-independent. Like an horror movie! That would be interesting to keep in a colony! I bet they could figure out a way to break out and beat you to a pulp for having the nerve to keep them in a cage. :lol:
Last edited by SpeciesK on Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

SpeciesK
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I Found The Queen Walking Around part 2

Post: # 18181Post SpeciesK
Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:02 am

I just found out there is a character limit in posts in the forum... :roll:
Anyway, the most recent publicly available ant list for Indiana is from 1917 :!: because apparently it must be top secret info and someone would have to kill me if I knew or something :roll: so I have decided to call them (after consulting Google Translate) Pheidole bonum, the Good Bigheaded Ants! Yesssssss! :mrgreen:
I went to a dollar store and bought four little plastic bowls for a dollar to use as food dishes. I have only tried one so far. Since they are plastic they are slippery and I thought if they got inside they might not get out so I used sandpaper to scratch the surface inside and out so they can climb it. They mostly ignore the bowl, but they did manage to drag out the Superworm pieces overnight. The weather is very cold right now and its drafty so the ants seem less out walking around. But I thought i would strengthen their powder barrier and vaseline barrier, but that made them able to easily escape! I have tried wiping it off and reapplying, and washing it with vinegar, and that all just made things worse! They began grabbing things and carrying them out of the bucket, and then falling off the outside onto the floor! I don't think I have them trapped any more. I did catch ants and put them back in, but I think they only stay inside because they feel like it, not because they are trapped any more. What Good Ants they are! :D

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