Neerants 1st year of ants.

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NeerAnt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:50 am
Location: USA

Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19473Post NeerAnt
Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:52 pm

Hello, I am Neerants and i wanted to keep a small record of what i go through on my first year of learning about ants up close. As a kid I had ant farms, but never had the privileged of owning a queen or even knowing the difference between a queen and a worker, Ants where just ants! Thanks to AntsCanada, 18 years later of video games and computers my spark of nature has been revived ad i went outside on my own again!

Upon research and wanting to have a great first experience I have come to the conclusion i wanted my first colony to be tetramorium...High energy, fast growing, and common to find. I wanted to be able to see everything my first year from queen, to eggs, to colony bustling around. I also had a dream ant of the honey pot ants only to find out i could not get them in my area, but no worries. maybe one day ill move to one of those areas. For my area I would like to have a large camponotus colony in a large out world set up one day.

Watching the AntsCanada videos served a lot, but my only problem was my interest revived when it was still chilly outside. I did not let that discourage me and i went out looking for queens anyways in my own back yard around Jan or Fed of 2017 in Virginia. So i searched mainly under rocks hoping to find something (i'm not sure what). Upon further looking, we had some lumber laying down on the ground and i lifted it to see what was under only to find a strange looking ant that only kind of resembled a queen. (This was around late Fed early March) I bottled it and then saw another one...then another one till i found about 12 in one area all showing the sighns...larger than a typical and, seeming to have a platued back (but i never seen a queen up close and some normal ants at this time i mistook for the same thing), and slower moving. I did not think queens did this and i have never seen one in person. Excitedly i gathered them all and took pictures. (I, at this time owned no anting tools other than Tupperware and a spoon to dig). I put them them in a semi natural set up since i had no test tubes and observed for a few days to see that they dug shallow holes resembling claustral chambers. I then quickly posted on the forum to see if anyone could help me know if i lucked out and found 12 queens, or if i just dug up a colony of medium sized ants. (Only had a canon camera with no magnifying lens or macro lens). Thanks to the forums we have identified them as Lasius Claviger queens.

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 2144
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19474Post Batspiderfish
Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:59 pm

You've heard that they are social parasites and cannot survive the founding stages without host workers, correct?
Links:
Rules & Requirements for Identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=292

How to take pictures for identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2167

NeerAnt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:50 am
Location: USA

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19476Post NeerAnt
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:05 pm

Yeah, at this time and date they have been released back into the wild away from my house lol

NeerAnt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:50 am
Location: USA

Neerants 1st year of ants catching up to todays date #1

Post: # 19477Post NeerAnt
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:10 pm

After catching the Lasius Clavigers I then read up on their care. It seemed very advanced and was a bit discouraging seeing as they did not typically lay eggs. They where parasitic and would take over made colony. I at this time will remain keeping them in case they did want to lay their own eggs, but introducing other ants was a bit to difficult for me since i am not able to identify to many species at this time by eye and would most likely but a completely wrong species with them and end up in war. It was still cold outside and they remained asleep in their hole all bundled together. So i let them rest and continued to watch AntsCanada videos and planning out what to do once june/july hits and the majority of flights take

Martialis
Posts: 1552
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19478Post Martialis
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:27 pm

They need a completely different species, just from the Lasius genus.
Keeper of

Tapinoma sessile

Tetramorium caespitum

Camponotus chromaiodes

Selliing:

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 2144
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19482Post Batspiderfish
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:39 pm

Martialis wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:27 pm
They need a completely different species, just from the Lasius genus.
It can be the same species, too, which is often ideal, although these cryptic Lasius are not as easy to find nor identify. Host specificity does exist, but it is poorly understood.
Links:
Rules & Requirements for Identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=292

How to take pictures for identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2167

Martialis
Posts: 1552
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19483Post Martialis
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:44 pm

Batspiderfish wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:39 pm
Martialis wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:27 pm
They need a completely different species, just from the Lasius genus.
It can be the same species, too, which is often ideal, although these cryptic Lasius are not as easy to find nor identify. Host specificity does exist, but it is poorly understood.
Interesting.. These parasitic species are incredibly fascinating.
Keeper of

Tapinoma sessile

Tetramorium caespitum

Camponotus chromaiodes

Selliing:

NeerAnt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:50 am
Location: USA

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19487Post NeerAnt
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:48 pm

Batspiderfish wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:39 pm
Martialis wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:27 pm
They need a completely different species, just from the Lasius genus.
It can be the same species, too, which is often ideal, although these cryptic Lasius are not as easy to find nor identify. Host specificity does exist, but it is poorly understood.
Seemed out of my current league and i didn't want to be the reason for any of them passing if they could go on and live on their own. Although they are interesting and think ill take the challenge next year on them if i find them again since they seem to like my yard. I have found many more under things in my yard as well as a few hills that they have infiltrated.

NeerAnt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:50 am
Location: USA

Update #1 fast forwarding trying to get to today's date

Post: # 19488Post NeerAnt
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:53 pm

March rolls around, and the heat increases. Ants popping up hills in the yards and sidewalks. Very excited to see them. Next to my bed is a window some Camponotus ants craw in to see what i am doing and if i dropped any crumbs, and i no longer mind them. I lived near a park that has a nice trail and three separate giant lakes that i have now made my hunting grounds. My excitment made me look up some amazing nuptial flight charts in hope that there was some ant i could capture and get some experience with, so that when i get my Tetramorium in June I will be better off. Camponotus seemed to be flying very soon, but nature doesn't always follow things to a T and i hoped to find something or at least get a layout of the park to know best places to look. Camponotus seemed to take a long time to develop, so if i could get one now, then i would be ready at next year for the experience (Rather than get it when i think im ready and having to wait another year for it to get started. I will have the waiting part done).
So i went out on a hot day and say some Camponotus ants bustling around which made me feel good knowing they where in the area. I also saw a few parasitic queens running across the path looking for new homes to steal :D. Finally after a few hours i packed up and went home.
Now Virginia weather is very strange that in spring it will be 80F and the next day drop to 34F and the day after be 70F-80F again. Which was exactly what happened. I watched some videos on finding these ants and bought a backpack, a claw hammer, a flat tool, gloves, 50 snap cap vials to toss in. I set out on the cold day that during the afternoon was 40F (which was recommended because during large temp. changes like that the queens will move much slower or not even run away). After about 2 hours of looking I found my first Camponotus queen that i have ever seen and boy are they big (compared to what i have seen for ants) I quickly snatched her up with little to no effort due to the cold. I couldn't continue searching well enough. I tried but i was to excited so i went home and put her in a test tube set up.

This was 4/7/17 the first queen was caught, and once she was put in the test tube she instantly calmed down and started cleaning her antenna and legs.So i wrapped a shirt around the glass part of test tube leaving the cotton end free for air and put her in a drawer i rarely use.

NeerAnt
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:50 am
Location: USA

Re: Neerants 1st year of ants.

Post: # 19491Post NeerAnt
Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:21 pm

A few days after, I checked up on the Camponotus queen which is now named "Riley". I noticed two dots that i couldn't tell if was pulled wet cotton or what (because she pulled it a bit) because they where against the cotton and in random places. I checked back on here and they where definatley 3 eggs that she neatly bundled on the glass floor where i could tell them from the cotton. around 4/9/17
I was confident she was doing her thing and i let her rest and in the mean time just hunted my own backyard for fun. We had one fallen tree branch that wasn't to big. So for fun i just went outside as me and my Huskeys sniffed out the branch. To my amazement we found 2 more queens on this fallen branch. One seemed slightly injured and i figured her best chance was out in the wild and i neatly let her back. The other was a spunky fighter running all directions, but i finally got her.
I ran out of test tubes and was forced to make a make shift chamber for her (which was a learning experience...). I got a small Tupperware made for like baby carrots or the like. I put a hole in the bottom and a cotton ball half way sticking top to bottom and i then stacked it into another small container that had a water resivoure in it to keep the ball drinkable. I put a hole in the side of both so when he was ready to move that i could put tubing from it to a nest, then plugged it with cotton for future use (I ordered testubes from amazon because i wast 100% confident in my creation). I put her in and the lid on and put her in the drawer with the other where she sat a few days calm and happy. I checked up on her only to see i underestimated the strength of an ant that size because she broke free by pushing the cotton out. My only conclusion was that the constant supply of water in that set up made it way to damp and she was not having it anymore.
I looked high and low and she was gone. Hope she wont make a nest and she finds her way outdoors. Im a working person so i had to finally go and that was a horrible day. On another note, I like heat and my room is always very hot compared to the rest of the house. I get home from work late at night after 8 hours and who do i see strutting her stuff across my carpet. I quickly recapture her and put her in a container for a day till the amazon tubes arrive and shes now in a proper set up. Glad to make mistakes because i will make them just once :lol: .
Miss escape artist is not named yet, but about 4/12/17 (a day or two later) i checked up on Riley (the first queen and she is up to 5-8 eggs) and Miss escape artist is at 4.

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