New Guy and Need a little help

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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Xavierw1028
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:28 am
Location: Lakeland Florida

New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76598Post Xavierw1028
Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:49 am

Hey guys ya'll seem very helpful and I would like some of that help. So I live in the crazy state (Florida) and want to start ant keeping but I'm having trouble starting as I can't figure out what I want to keep and I don't know any native ant species that are easy to keep that people already have colonies for. Furthermore I don't even know where to start on nests and stuff but, truly starting (ie a test tube) from what I understand with only some brood and the queen a test tube portal should be fine for now. In terms of food and the likes I have no idea where to start but I keep geckos so I have some wax and meal worms. I have a slight fear of anything crawling on me primarily insects(I know it is a little weird but there's a story behind it) Past this idk what to do but, here are some TLDR questions.
What's a good digging medium?
What are some cheap towers/nest i should get if im just starting out?
What's a good way eventually make the enclosure bioactive?
What equipment should i have on hand when i get the ants?
What are some good native species for a beginner that won't get out of hand quickly?
How do I gauge when its time for an extension or move?
What's another way to get ants outside of the GANS program? (not saying its a bad program i believe it is possibly the smartest way to get ants just not many are near me.)
Thank you in advance and thank you Mikey (aka AntsCanada) for helping realize that ants aren't just mindless creatures and a pest like I used to think.

Antmanboy
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:12 pm
Location: Converse,Texas,United States

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76599Post Antmanboy
Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:54 am

Some equipment you will want to have on hand will be
.Tweezers
.Cotton balls
.Honey
.Backup test tubes
.Tubes to attach extra nests
.A outworld
.A small nest to start with

These are some equipment I recommend
1x (former) Camponotous Sayi Colony
1x Camponotous Sp. Queen

Youtube Channel: LordTurkenAnts

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AM1C39
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Location: Canada, ON
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Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76604Post AM1C39
Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:14 pm

A good digging medium would be wet dirt. If you want a cheap nest you can probably make one, look on YouTube if you want to know how. Some good native species would be any type of carpenter ants. If you want a queen ant badly you can try to catch one after their nuptial flights (June, July).
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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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
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Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76621Post AntsLuxembourg
Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:56 am

Xavierw1028 wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:49 am
Hey guys ya'll seem very helpful and I would like some of that help. So I live in the crazy state (Florida) and want to start ant keeping but I'm having trouble starting as I can't figure out what I want to keep and I don't know any native ant species that are easy to keep that people already have colonies for. Furthermore I don't even know where to start on nests and stuff but, truly starting (ie a test tube) from what I understand with only some brood and the queen a test tube portal should be fine for now. In terms of food and the likes I have no idea where to start but I keep geckos so I have some wax and meal worms. I have a slight fear of anything crawling on me primarily insects(I know it is a little weird but there's a story behind it) Past this idk what to do but, here are some TLDR questions.
What's a good digging medium?
What are some cheap towers/nest i should get if im just starting out?
What's a good way eventually make the enclosure bioactive?
What equipment should i have on hand when i get the ants?
What are some good native species for a beginner that won't get out of hand quickly?
How do I gauge when its time for an extension or move?
What's another way to get ants outside of the GANS program? (not saying its a bad program i believe it is possibly the smartest way to get ants just not many are near me.)
Thank you in advance and thank you Mikey (aka AntsCanada) for helping realize that ants aren't just mindless creatures and a pest like I used to think.

Hey to answer some of your questions:

Q: What equipment should i have on hand when i get the ants?
A: Patience.
Tweezers.
Cotton.
Babypowder and rubbing alcohol or fluon + those things to clean your ears to apply it.
More Patience.
Maybe some syringes in case you need them. I got some with very long and thin needles so I can soak up some water to dry out a testtube.
Red Filter Foil.
Even more patience.
Spare testtubes.
And I cannot stress this enough. Patience.

Q: Where to get food / insects?
A: Depending on your species, they may mostly eat seeds or insects. If seeds, try to get seeds from petstores. Like lose bird seeds. If insects, ask at a local petstore if they sell feeder insects. Mealworms, Superworm and Cockroaches are common. But also grashoppers. You can also use soft boiled eggwhite as a temporary protein source. It's not ideal but still better than only honey. Oh and of course some honey for most species. Messor Barbarus tho doesn't like it. They cover it with garbage.

Q: How do I gauge when its time for an extension or move?
A: You leave an unused tube and block it with cotton. When it's time to expand you just take the tube and plug it into the extension. Verify that the tubing is compatible. Sometimes you need to modify the tube to fit better.

Q: What are some cheap towers/nest i should get if im just starting out?
A: Someone answered it earlier. I myself got me some sets of the Ikea Gode morgon or what it was. Basically nice clean acrylic tubs. Cleaned them with water and towels, applied a barrier of fluon on the top to keep the ants inside. Drilled a hole into the sides and fitted tubing. Then I added some aquarium silicon to seal it off. It wasn't easy but also not too difficult for me. But I am a bit skilled when it comes to crafting.

A full glass fish tank can also work if you have a cutting tool for glass / ceramic / slabs / tiles. If you cut your own holes, be sure to have the hole always covered with water, to avoid thermal shocks to the materials and also to avoid splinters and fragments to hit your eye. Use the right tool and stay protected of just don't do it yourself.

Q: What's a good way eventually make the enclosure bioactive?
A: No idea. I haven't worked that out yet. I will start by adding some springtails if I can get them at a fishing / pet store.

Q: What are some good native species for a beginner that won't get out of hand quickly?
A: I don't know all the species of florida but AntWiki got a map of each country and some of the Antspecies. I think there is a Harvester Antspecies in Florida which should be easy to keep and interesting to watch. I got a ***** thread here in the forum about Messor Barbarus so you can take some inspiration from there.

Q: What's a good digging medium?
A: Depends on the species. I like however the clay soil from my petstore which is actually to keep lizards that dig burrows. It's also somewhat durable when it's dry so it doesn't just fall apart like sand.

Q: What's another way to get ants outside of the GANS program?
A: Keep your eyes peeled and look up the nuptial flights times / period of the species you want. Then try to find a queen of that. Or you just get any queen and try your luck with 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

Xavierw1028
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:28 am
Location: Lakeland Florida

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76624Post Xavierw1028
Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:11 am

Thank you guys this actually helped a lot and I hope other new people see this to help them out as well. I'm going to look into the antwiki locator thingy.

Jager89
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:26 pm
Location: Canada

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76638Post Jager89
Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:11 pm

AntsLuxembourg wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:56 am
Hey to answer some of your questions:

Q: What equipment should i have on hand when i get the ants?
A: Patience.
Tweezers.
Cotton.
Babypowder and rubbing alcohol or fluon + those things to clean your ears to apply it.
More Patience.
Maybe some syringes in case you need them. I got some with very long and thin needles so I can soak up some water to dry out a testtube.
Red Filter Foil.
Even more patience.
Spare testtubes.
And I cannot stress this enough. Patience.
Do you know where i could order Red filter foil from? I googled it and most articles were about that tictok trend and the creepers undoing it. The few that were actual filters were made to fit over flashlights. There was one more but im not sure if you meant that type it was the red tail light foil.

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 544
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
Contact:

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76648Post AntsLuxembourg
Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:47 am

I think amazon got some. Not sure if there is a difference between red filter foil and red filter foil.
https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Neewer-coloured-overlays-transparent-correction/dp/B07NBKXRWQ/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=rotfilter+folie&qid=1618382632&sr=8-5

Also this is German amazon. I am sure that you can find it on Amazon.com as well.
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

RuinedDrone
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:33 pm
Location: UK

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76649Post RuinedDrone
Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:50 am

AntsLuxembourg wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:56 am

Hey to answer some of your questions:

Q: What equipment should i have on hand when i get the ants?
A: Patience.

More Patience.

Even more patience.
.
And I cannot stress this enough. Patience.

This ^^^^

While indivual ants can move around like crazy the colony as a whole cna actuly take weeks / months to do any thing. I think it was about 3 months between my daughter capturing her first queen (which laied eggs with in a few days) to the eggs hatching and actuly seeing anything. and even now after 8 months the colony has not grown much due to a period of hibernating for most of the colder months.

The temptation is to keep checking every day to "make sure they are alright" when really the bext thing to do is put them in a dark place and leave them for a week between checking, IF the queen has water while she is brooding her first batch of eggs she will be fine, and like wise once the colony is growing what they most need is to be left undesterbed so the ycan get on with rasing the broods.

So one thing i would also consider adding is a camara that can stream an image. I am not patience at the best of time, but having a cama that ca stream meant i could always be checking up on them and infact see much more than if i was looking with the ***** eye.

This https://youtu.be/vahe6-bWPu8 was taken with a £20 Raspberry pi IR camara and a £10 raspberry pi Zero (wireless). It has its own IR light so can see in pitch black and allowed me to watch a lot of the early stages with out disterbing her. I coudl check she was ok, i could see the eggs and larva developing.

If you are thinking of starting from a single queen and growing a colony up I strongly suggest paning a habitate where you can set up a camara (or 2) to allow you to watch with out disterbing.

Alaydia
Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:23 pm
Location: PA

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76749Post Alaydia
Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:54 pm

If you can swing the cost, an all-you-need hybrid kit from AC would be my recommendation, simply because it's easy to use/set up and very hard for ants to escape from. Completely and utterly disagree with one thing other posters said, though - do NOT use commercial bird seed for seed-eating ants. The shells are way too hard and the ants can't get into them. Use Kentucky bluegrass seed or, better yet, dandelion seeds. Thistle seed may work, too. You may also need a heat source. If your home is air conditioned, the ants will likely need some source of heat to keep their nest at an optimum temperature. Warmer nests = faster growth!
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditiones habes

Main interest is C. Pennsylvanicus, interested in most native ants to my area.

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 544
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
Contact:

Re: New Guy and Need a little help

Post: # 76758Post AntsLuxembourg
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:49 am

Alaydia wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:54 pm
If you can swing the cost, an all-you-need hybrid kit from AC would be my recommendation, simply because it's easy to use/set up and very hard for ants to escape from. Completely and utterly disagree with one thing other posters said, though - do NOT use commercial bird seed for seed-eating ants. The shells are way too hard and the ants can't get into them. Use Kentucky bluegrass seed or, better yet, dandelion seeds. Thistle seed may work, too. You may also need a heat source. If your home is air conditioned, the ants will likely need some source of heat to keep their nest at an optimum temperature. Warmer nests = faster growth!
I have to also disagree a bit with the seed comment and sow my own information in here. ;)
Even if the seeds or shells are harder, they still managed to crack them open and eat them. I mean, they may not have the power straight at the beginning but if they have bigger headed ants then they should be able to. They eat seeds and some seeds also need to be cut and grinded. Not sure which seeds are too hard tho. They may be a bit difficult to open of they are covered in honey (seed sticks) or those round yellow ones because they are spherical and therefore hard to grab but loose seeds should be fine.

Someone once told me on one of my videos, that the queen of the messor barbarus colony helps with breaking big seeds. I can try to find it if I have to provide proof. ;)
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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