Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

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Zpilot21
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:38 pm
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55238Post Zpilot21
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:42 pm

Hello AC community! First time poster here, and sorry but the lengthy message. Just trying to cover all bases I can think of for info.

That said, you can call me Tony. I live roughly in Minneapolis Minnesota, USA. Should help give an idea of native ant species. Anyway...

I have wanted my own ant colony for some time now, but I guess I just never had the kick in the rear to start one...until now.

See I work in a warehouse building where a lot of people in the cubicals at the front end have pets/life. It's mostly saltwater Fishtanks or reptiles. Well I recently switched positions from a no desk job, to a desk job!!!

Thing is, my desk feels empty with no life on it. Now I already have a Fishtank at home, and don't really want one at work. That and my desk is not as large as other people's desks, nor as climate controlled as others. This is where my kick in the behind to raise a colony came from.

I'd like a colony at work for the warmer months I can sustain one; thus my housing needs to be mobile. I was thinking of going with either one/two(possibly three) ant towers; or a small(possibly normal)omni nest verticals with outter world directly attached. One of those set ups would be ideal for my desk space available for this.

Now where I need help/advice/guidence, is what species should I look for? I honestly have my eye on the Prenolepis imparis, due to the colder conditions at work and the smaller space requirements. That and I like the honeypot likenesses. But I was also thinking/wondering if I can't get a fertile queen for that species; would Camponotus be ok in a set up like above? I know they are bigger; but they shouldnt need a bigger home for a few years, right? And as I'm not sure if I can find a winter queen, I know I can find a carpenter queen. Or do you suggest i look for something else all together?

Sorry for the long message, just excited and want advice on keeping my future family happy is all.

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antnest8
Posts: 1147
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:11 pm
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55247Post antnest8
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:59 am

It is great to see new ant enthusiast out there. If I where you I would try camponotus be cause they are more forgiving for mistakes or moving around. Also they are easy to care for and see.
keeper of
2 tetremorium queens
1 C. pennsylvanicus
1 C novaeboracensis

Zpilot21
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:38 pm
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55255Post Zpilot21
Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:34 pm

I do like the idea of bigger/easier to see them. Plus like I said, I'm fairly confident I can find a queen this upcoming flight. But do uou think camponotus would be ok in an ant tower or two for the first few months/years? Or you think an omni nest would be better off for them?

Still kinda leaning to trying to find a winter queen though...

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antnest8
Posts: 1147
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:11 pm
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55284Post antnest8
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:47 pm

winter ants (or prenolepis imparis) are awesome If you want to catch some I suggest that you find a nest of them first during the winter or early spring especially and then study them at there nest when the snow starts to melt. So when there nuptial flight comes you'll be ready for it. (try to get multiple queens though because they seem to have a high death rate at the founding stage.

As for the camponotus I would think they would do fine in the ant towers just you would have to fill them with bark and wood. The omninest verticals would be the best for them it's just that the Omni-nest's are a bit large and i could take your colony about 1-3 years to get large enough to fit in them, But there is a solution, in the a forum topic I remember someone saying that the omni-nest's can block off certain area's of the nest at a time. If this is true you could put them in the omni-nest after some month's of growing (20-30 workers) and put them in only one or two levels. when the colony get bigger you add more space.
keeper of
2 tetremorium queens
1 C. pennsylvanicus
1 C novaeboracensis

Zpilot21
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:38 pm
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55731Post Zpilot21
Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:10 am

Awesome, thank you for all advice antnest.

Honestly I don't know of any good spots to look for/find a winter ant colony outside. I'll have to start looking.

I however did just nab what I believe to be a camponotus queen at work today.

I highly doubt shes mated though, if she really is a she at all. But I'm still keeping her In a tube till spring. Didn't want her go freeze outside or get killed in our warehouse.

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antnest8
Posts: 1147
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:11 pm
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55741Post antnest8
Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:42 am

Really!? in Minnesota in January? That's weird.

Also I find that Prenolepis imparis likes the nest under tree's. especially in mulch. (this is only from observing two colonies, so i could be a coincidence)
keeper of
2 tetremorium queens
1 C. pennsylvanicus
1 C novaeboracensis

Zpilot21
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:38 pm
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55760Post Zpilot21
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:27 pm

See i find it very odd I found her too. Honestly curious as to what the heck she was up to. If she is indeed what I think she is, there is no reason for her to be up, out, and active right now. Doubt shes mated though, but I'm still hanging on to her till at least it gets warm enough to let her go.

Helianthus
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:12 pm

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55762Post Helianthus
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:35 pm

Welcome to this crazy hobby, Tony.
Unless you are going to buy queens, it really comes down to what you end up finding. I would highly recommend taking the time this winter to learn about nuptial flights in your area and trying to find whatever queens you can come spring.
Keep in mind that even explosively fast species like Tetramorium don't need much space for a long time. Camponotus are way slower, and if your office is on the cool side, that will slow their growth even further. I wouldn't even worry about a formicarium just yet. Set up a clear plastic box with some sand in the bottom and you can put a test tube set up in that. That is all your ants will need for at least a year. As the colony grows, you can add more test tubes.
If you really feel the need for a formicarium, I would recommend Tar Heel Ants products. Their mini-hearth is an excellent starter formicarium. But really, I would say save your money and just go "tub and tubes."
Have you joined formiculture.com yet? It is a far more active forum. You will find a lot more advice on there. Best of luck!

TriumphAnt
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:16 pm
Location: West Virginia

Re: Advice for Species and housing ideas for a future new colony owner?

Post: # 55884Post TriumphAnt
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:50 am

Just a heads up, I live in West Virginia and I have found a few colonies or founding queens so far this winter by looking through the rotten logs or old dry acorn/walnuts in the woods near my house. If you go out to a wooded area and CAREFULLY look through rotten logs and branches (try ones with noticeable insect bore holes big enough to allow the ants to travel in and out) you may possibly find a camponotus colony. Perhaps do a little research on what species are native to your area and which of those species prefer nesting in rotten wood. Many other species (including even some Carpenter ant camponotus species) prefer to dig into the soil to nest. This means they’d normally dig deep under ground to hibernate. That will make it difficult to get close to the workers and the brood, let alone the queen.
Another perk about ant hunting in cold weather-they don’t run away from you! Lol
Whether you decide to brave the winter and go looking or to wait for the nuptial flights, I wish you good luck and hope you manage to get a nice and healthy colony of your own someday very soon!
Keeping:
•Camponotus
- pennsylvanicus, subbarbatus, castaneous, chromaiodes, nearcticus
•Aphaenogaster tennesseensis, rudis
•Crematogaster sp
•Lasius
-claviger, neoniger, umbratus
•Tapinoma sessile
•Temnothorax sp.
•Strumigenys reflexa
And more

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