Ants at local zoo

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SheriffYeehaw
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:18 pm
Location: Panama City beach

Ants at local zoo

Post: # 74564Post SheriffYeehaw
Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:21 pm

I have successfully managed to convince the zoo I work at to have an ant exhibit in the gift shop! Unfortunately, my manager is allergic to fire ants. What species do y’all recommend we look into? Also, does anybody have any ideas on where a company like a zoo can get ants?

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 381
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
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Re: Ants at local zoo

Post: # 74575Post AntsLuxembourg
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:39 am

Hello,

Well Ants are either free if you are lucky and can catch some queen ants during nuptial flight or you check on a site like antcanada.com if they sell queen ants. On AntsCanada.com you can find the GAN-Project, which lists ant keepers who sell their queens with some workers.

What you can do, as I don't know where you or the Zoo is located, so I cannot give many sugguestions, but you could discuss if you would like to keep a local antcolony which would be best since they don't harm the local environment, or if you would like to keep an exotic species from outside your state/country which may have the risk of excaping and harming the local ecosystem.

What I can sugguest for now is that it would be interessting to start with an exibition on how to start an Antcolony. Usually you start by collecting informations about ants in general, getting some tool like, Testtubes, Cotton, different kinds of tweezers (not necessary but very useful) and if possible a queen ant or two.

If you like I can give you a general overview on some of the many different antspecies that exist around the globe and also help you to prepare. But I can tell you, that it may take a lot of time to setup and grow a big colony. Fireants are surely some of the fastest growing colonies.

One species that I could sugguest would be a leaf cutter antspecies, as they have a lot of visual action and you can setup a nest that spans across the gift shop by hanging from the ceiling. I saw something like that at Antstore.net in Berlin. It was amazing to see their fungus gardens and if setup correctly it will facinate the visitors a lot. Another Colony could be a harvester ant colony which are also not super aggressiv (as far as I know).
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

SheriffYeehaw
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:18 pm
Location: Panama City beach

Re: Ants at local zoo

Post: # 74587Post SheriffYeehaw
Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:16 pm

Leaf cutter ants would be awesome! I’m not sure we can access them though. I’m in Florida and looking into Florida Harvester Ants as I know of a few colonies, but they seem relatively difficult to keep. I might be able to convince them to keep crazy ants, as they seem the least possibly destructive and are not fire ants.

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 381
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
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Re: Ants at local zoo

Post: # 74590Post AntsLuxembourg
Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:29 am

Hey, I think harvester ants may be a good choice. In regards to destructiveness, it depends but they are know to create longs walking trails to find food which may be generally interesting for the ants. I also think your harvester ants are much bigger than messor barbarus. But yes it is true that it is important to have nests that are suited for them. You also should think about anti outbreak measures.

There are 4 main ones, I think. One is Baby powder and rubbing alcohol, which needs to be renews pretty often, then there is Oil, if I remember correctly any vegetable oil should do but it also needs renewal every so often, Fluon, my personal favourit as it creates a long lasting barrier that is too slippery for the ants to climb and last but not least water. The only issue with water is, if your colony is like messor barbarus, not well adjusted for watery areas, then they might just drown. Messor barbarus is well known to just fall into the water and drown because they don't have as much rain so they are not flooded regularly. Therefore inexperienced with water.

Next will be the digging material, if you keep everything in plastic tubing, you also should make sure that the ants can breath as a long tube of 15m should have a ventilation point after every 5 m if possible to offer a good ventilation. If you like to have a look on my messor barbarus I have a lot of videos about them on my youtube channel called AntsLuxembourg. So you might find some useful videos there. :)

Let me know if you have settles on a specific species. Then I can try and help you find more informations about them. :)
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

SheriffYeehaw
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:18 pm
Location: Panama City beach

Re: Ants at local zoo

Post: # 74619Post SheriffYeehaw
Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:14 am

Thank you man! I’ll let you know when my boss talks to me about my ant paper work ^^ I was worried harvester ants may not be great for beginners, as I’m the only one with any ant experience and I don’t have a colony of my own.

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 381
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
Contact:

Re: Ants at local zoo

Post: # 74626Post AntsLuxembourg
Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:37 am

What you could do is, get a colony of your own for at home, to learn the one or other useful trick about antkeeping. Basically increasing your skills and the moment your boss talks about the paper work for it you can tell him about what to take care of from your experience and also maybe impress him with how much you know about the subject. ;)
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

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