Newbie from Central Florida

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VaderOG
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:12 pm

Newbie from Central Florida

Post: # 17617Post VaderOG
Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:17 pm

Hi everyone!
I'm brand new to ant keeping and very excited to start keeping my own colony!

It is my understanding that nuptial flights for fire ants can be going on now, hoping someone can confirm this. Are they mating this early in the year? Its been super hot here in Florida this past week 78-85F (25.5-28.5C)! And random light rains.

There are lots of ant hills by the basketball court near my place and when I went exploring for queens I found 2, but they were very close to the ant hills. I'm guessing they aren't fertilized but I captured them anyways. One lost her wings the next day however! Is this a good sign? I have them in a test tube with water and cotton balls, tucked into a fold of a blanket in my closet so it will stay warm and dark. Not sure it it a bad idea for it to be in a blanket so if I am doing something stupid I would love any feedback!

Also I'm going to try and post some pictures for identification, I believe they are Solenopsis Invicta.

Some last questions;
When is the best time of day to look for the queens?
How long will it take the queen who lost her wings to start laying eggs?
Are fire ants a bad idea for my first colony?
If I get more queens should I put them together for a multi queen colony and if so what stage should I do this at?

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idahoantgirl
Posts: 841
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: Newbie from Central Florida

Post: # 17624Post idahoantgirl
Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:22 pm

VaderOG wrote:
Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:17 pm
Hi everyone!
I'm brand new to ant keeping and very excited to start keeping my own colony!

It is my understanding that nuptial flights for fire ants can be going on now, hoping someone can confirm this. Are they mating this early in the year? Its been super hot here in Florida this past week 78-85F (25.5-28.5C)! And random light rains.

There are lots of ant hills by the basketball court near my place and when I went exploring for queens I found 2, but they were very close to the ant hills. I'm guessing they aren't fertilized but I captured them anyways. One lost her wings the next day however! Is this a good sign? I have them in a test tube with water and cotton balls, tucked into a fold of a blanket in my closet so it will stay warm and dark. Not sure it it a bad idea for it to be in a blanket so if I am doing something stupid I would love any feedback!

Also I'm going to try and post some pictures for identification, I believe they are Solenopsis Invicta.

Some last questions;
When is the best time of day to look for the queens?
How long will it take the queen who lost her wings to start laying eggs?
Are fire ants a bad idea for my first colony?
If I get more queens should I put them together for a multi queen colony and if so what stage should I do this at?

Image
Image
Ok, so I'm not positive on nuptual flight times for different areas and all that but i can answer some of your questions.
1. It is a good sign that your queen shed her wings, but it doesn't always mean she's fertilized, just like how queens that don't shed their wings does not often mean that they are unfertilized.
2. You should probably seperate the queens. They can fight and kill each other.
3. So as far as the blanket goes, while it won't hurt them, it is not necessary and will not do anything. In order for a blanket to work, the ants would have to be generating heat. Of course, ants don't do that. But, if it helps keep them dark, then great! Just as long as someone doesn't throw it in the washer. :P
4. The best time of day to look for queens is early morning, and evening, but queens can be found at all times of day.
5. Assuming your queen is fertilized, she can lay eggs anywhere from now to a few weeks from now.
6. Fire ants are a very difficult species to keep. They are explosive in numbers, difficult to contain, and they have a powerful sting. They wouldn't be my personal favorite beginner species, but if you feel like your up to the challenge, then go for it. Just make sure that you do not underestimate them. You should probably watch Mikey's video on keeping fire ants.
https://www.youtube.com/watchv=FfzPJnaKLq8
7. If you decide to raise fire ants, I would not add more than one queen to your colony. Fire ants already grow at an incredible rate, and adding more queens could be way too much. But, again, it's personal choice. If you did decide to do so, make sure they are the exact same species.

Well, I hope I helped! Feel free to pm me with any questions anytime!
-IdahoAntGirl
Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeper of Tetramorium Sp. E, Lasius Neoniger

Martialis
Posts: 1564
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Newbie from Central Florida

Post: # 17626Post Martialis
Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:26 pm

idahoantgirl wrote:
Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:22 pm
VaderOG wrote:
Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:17 pm
Hi everyone!
I'm brand new to ant keeping and very excited to start keeping my own colony!

It is my understanding that nuptial flights for fire ants can be going on now, hoping someone can confirm this. Are they mating this early in the year? Its been super hot here in Florida this past week 78-85F (25.5-28.5C)! And random light rains.

There are lots of ant hills by the basketball court near my place and when I went exploring for queens I found 2, but they were very close to the ant hills. I'm guessing they aren't fertilized but I captured them anyways. One lost her wings the next day however! Is this a good sign? I have them in a test tube with water and cotton balls, tucked into a fold of a blanket in my closet so it will stay warm and dark. Not sure it it a bad idea for it to be in a blanket so if I am doing something stupid I would love any feedback!

Also I'm going to try and post some pictures for identification, I believe they are Solenopsis Invicta.

Some last questions;
When is the best time of day to look for the queens?
How long will it take the queen who lost her wings to start laying eggs?
Are fire ants a bad idea for my first colony?
If I get more queens should I put them together for a multi queen colony and if so what stage should I do this at?

Image
Image
Ok, so I'm not positive on nuptual flight times for different areas and all that but i can answer some of your questions.
1. It is a good sign that your queen shed her wings, but it doesn't always mean she's fertilized, just like how queens that don't shed their wings does not often mean that they are unfertilized.
2. You should probably seperate the queens. They can fight and kill each other.
3. So as far as the blanket goes, while it won't hurt them, it is not necessary and will not do anything. In order for a blanket to work, the ants would have to be generating heat. Of course, ants don't do that. But, if it helps keep them dark, then great! Just as long as someone doesn't throw it in the washer. :P
4. The best time of day to look for queens is early morning, and evening, but queens can be found at all times of day.
5. Assuming your queen is fertilized, she can lay eggs anywhere from now to a few weeks from now.
6. Fire ants are a very difficult species to keep. They are explosive in numbers, difficult to contain, and they have a powerful sting. They wouldn't be my personal favorite beginner species, but if you feel like your up to the challenge, then go for it. Just make sure that you do not underestimate them. You should probably watch Mikey's video on keeping fire ants.
https://www.youtube.com/watchv=FfzPJnaKLq8
7. If you decide to raise fire ants, I would not add more than one queen to your colony. Fire ants already grow at an incredible rate, and adding more queens could be way too much. But, again, it's personal choice. If you did decide to do so, make sure they are the exact same species.

Well, I hope I helped! Feel free to pm me with any questions anytime!
-IdahoAntGirl

I agree with all of these, except #6.

I believe that any ant can be a good "starter species." The only reason Tetramorium or Camponotus are considered "starter species" is because of abundance. I think these should work fine, especially seeing as they have majors and minors, fast growth, and are abundant. ;)
Keeper of

Formica sp.

Tetramorium caespitum

Camponotus chromaiodes

Selliing:

VaderOG
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:12 pm

Re: Newbie from Central Florida

Post: # 17632Post VaderOG
Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:06 pm

Awesome! Thanks for all the info Idahoantgirl. Ill let you guys know if I ever get the a queen to lay eggs!

AntsAreAwesome
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:26 pm

Re: Newbie from Central Florida

Post: # 21204Post AntsAreAwesome
Mon May 15, 2017 9:58 am

To me, fire ants are not a good first species to keep. I, in fact, got discouraged after keeping them when I first started (although I came back to them). The only reason I say that they are hard is how hard they are to contain. They can be quite costly as well because of their growth. I keep mine in the A/C and they actually don't grow very fast at all. I personally like smaller colonies of ants. Like Martilias and Idahoantgirl said, they can be a bad or good first species. It all depends on what you can handle and how interested in them you are (and of course if your allergic :?).

xTNxANTMANx
Posts: 393
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:03 am
Location: Western Tennessee

Re: Newbie from Central Florida

Post: # 21235Post xTNxANTMANx
Mon May 15, 2017 11:51 pm

They do grow pretty fast once they take off but you can control this slightly with temperature. If you keep it between 75 and 80 degrees then they should grow fairly quick. If you keep it a little cooler say around 70 then it would slow the growth rate somewhat. I live in Tennessee and we have Solenopsis Invicta around and I'm trying to find a queen myself. I have always been fascinated with fire ants even as a kid and have already stocked up on plenty of space for them and I've even started raising dubia roaches so I have plenty of protein for them. I'm definitely going to be prepared for them when I do find one :-)
Keeping:
Camponotus subbarbatus
Camponotus pennsylvanicus x2
Crematogaster ashmeadi
Crematogaster missouriensis
Formica pallidefulva x2
Formica subsericea x2
Lasius sp x2 (founding)
Pheidole sp. x4
Tetramorium caspitum x2

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