Help sought for 12 year old keener

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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PacificLass
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2021 7:42 am
Location: Vancouver

Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 84802Post PacificLass
Sat Nov 06, 2021 7:50 am

Hi all

I'm seeking somebody who can advise me on the basics. My 12 year old son is mad keen to get started with ants. He has been asking for an ant colony for the past three years, with serious interest. I've been reading a bit about keeping ants but still feel uncertain about plunging into this enterprise. My big questions are about acquiring a queen and then about care and maintenance. How complex is the reality of ant keeping for a keen child ? How should we start, with what holding facility and species ? We live in Vancouver, Canada.

Thanks very much.

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AM1C39
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:17 pm
Location: Canada, ON
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Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 84844Post AM1C39
Mon Nov 08, 2021 11:10 am

You can find usefull tutorials on youtube by AntsCanada. If you still have questions after watching some feel free to ask specificaly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1421IyFKuU&t=7s
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

AntsLuxembourg
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Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 84852Post AntsLuxembourg
Tue Nov 09, 2021 2:15 am

I guess you expected more something with helpful info. ^^
First it will depend on what colony your keener would be interested in and how fast they should grow. If both of you are fine with a slow growing colony I can recommend carpenter ants. Family Componotus. They are big ants but take longer than most antspecies to grow up. I recommend a local species and nothing that in invasive. If you do choose a non local species you have to be aware of the following. If those ants escape, they might cause harm to the local wild life. Even if they cannot survive the cold temperatur, they might manage to find a warm spot to live in to get through the winter and continue to spread in your region.

After the choice of antspecies has been made it will depend on what that species' needs and requirements are. Some are as easy as throw them a life/dead insect once per week and that's it and some require some more maintenance like population control.

Since hibernation is currently ongoing for most antspecies in the northern hemisphere it might not be until next year. This should give you both enough time to research more information and make a careful choice. ;)

Btw here is a link to the list of antspecies that have been recorded in Canada.
https://antwiki.org/wiki/Canada
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony.

Colonies:
1 - Messor Barbarus
Founding colonies:
2 - Lasius Niger Colony
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

AntsLuxembourg
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
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Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 84857Post AntsLuxembourg
Tue Nov 09, 2021 5:00 am

I just thought of another question that you might want to ask and answer yourself. What will you feed the ants and where do you get more food from?
I'm not familiar if there are harvester ants in Canada but in case there are you might need to find out where to get your seeds from to last them a year. Or if you keep ants that need a lot of protein, where are you getting the feeder insects from? I tell people to check either with local pet stores, fishing stores or exotic pet stores (spiders, lizards, etc.) if they sell mealworms, crickets, etc. If they do, then you can secure your supply of protein for the ant colony. ;)
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony.

Colonies:
1 - Messor Barbarus
Founding colonies:
2 - Lasius Niger Colony
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

PacificLass
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2021 7:42 am
Location: Vancouver

Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 85672Post PacificLass
Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:18 am

Thank you so much for the replies to date. That was very nice of you all.

I am watching the tutorials. Yes, we will choose a local species. [I work in conservation so appreciate the issues of invasive species, for sure.] Our local pet shops stock crickets and mealworms, as a starting point for food. All very useful advice.

I'd like to give him the physical homes for the ants for Christmas, along with the eBook on keeping ants that I downloaded from the AntsCanada site. Then we can take our time stocking them, in the spring, I suppose.

So now I am trying to understand nests, towers and outworlds. Do most such homes work for most such species or do we need to know the species before we buy the home? [Perhaps I need to watch more videos...]

All the best to all of you. Thanks !

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CombinedHalo467
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:38 pm
Location: wisconsin usa

Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 85676Post CombinedHalo467
Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:41 pm

Ants will accept most homes as long as it has adequate moisture and humidity. Also for local ant species if you want to get it right away check the GAN project under queen ants for sale on AntsCanada.com https://www.AntsCanada.com/queen-ants-for-sale/. It is pretty easy to use and they are only caught locally.
A prenolepis imparis colony with repletes and a big queen also 10 chickens and 1 annoying brother.

Ants Are Awesome

AntsLuxembourg
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
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Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 85756Post AntsLuxembourg
Tue Dec 07, 2021 6:38 am

PacificLass wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:18 am
So now I am trying to understand nests, towers and outworlds. Do most such homes work for most such species or do we need to know the species before we buy the home? [Perhaps I need to watch more videos...]
Most nest if not all nest from AntsCanada are designed to hold any kind of antspecies, however some of them are designed to be more like nests for specific species. For example there is a nest for camponotus ants which has large and long chambers. Plus they got less moisturization holes if I remember correctly since camponotus has prefer it drier.

Also if you buy a nest for christmas it might make your son a bit too desperate to put the ants in asap which might not be the right thing to do unless it's a small nest for expansion. You could start with a testtube and AC portal set. Which would first provide you with extension material and spare testtubes in case you need one. Maybe a set with tweezers which might come in handy to clean up after your ants.

Basically some tools for antkeeping. ;)
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony.

Colonies:
1 - Messor Barbarus
Founding colonies:
2 - Lasius Niger Colony
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

SolenopsisKeeper
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2021 11:41 am
Location: United States, Florida

Re: Help sought for 12 year old keener

Post: # 85863Post SolenopsisKeeper
Mon Dec 13, 2021 7:03 am

PacificLass wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:18 am
Thank you so much for the replies to date. That was very nice of you all.

I am watching the tutorials. Yes, we will choose a local species. [I work in conservation so appreciate the issues of invasive species, for sure.] Our local pet shops stock crickets and mealworms, as a starting point for food. All very useful advice.

I'd like to give him the physical homes for the ants for Christmas, along with the eBook on keeping ants that I downloaded from the AntsCanada site. Then we can take our time stocking them, in the spring, I suppose.

So now I am trying to understand nests, towers and outworlds. Do most such homes work for most such species or do we need to know the species before we buy the home? [Perhaps I need to watch more videos...]

All the best to all of you. Thanks !
If you do end up getting an ant colony, I would try to use super worms/mealworms more as they are heavier and the ants are less likly to carry them to the nest, causing mold.
Currently Keeping:
Solenopsis invicta
Camponotus floridanus
Odontomachus ruginodis

Currently founding:
Solenopsis invicta
Odontomachus ruginodis

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