New colony after nuptial flight - help

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Joined: Fri May 22, 2020 9:09 am
Location: knoxville, tn

New colony after nuptial flight - help

Post: # 70199Post ewwojo
Fri May 22, 2020 9:25 am

I am very new to ant "farming". We love the show though and my 3 year old daughter has been on the hunt for a queen since we started watching it with her, months ago. Well, we hit the jackpot and there was a nuptial flight happening in our yard. Thousands of winged large red ants swarming part of our garden. We didn't want to miss the opportunity so we caught some... But I am not sure if that works. How can I be sure which ones are female and if they mated? Can we just move them to a terrarium and let them do their thing/sort out who the queen will be?

Thanks for your kindness with a complete newbee! Please refer me to any forums that might be helpful. I tried searching for this topic but couldn't find anything. I find this forum a little tricky to navigate. Any tips welcome!

Thx Emily

Posts: 97
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 6:48 pm
Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta

Re: New colony after nuptial flight - help

Post: # 70202Post NKantsalberta
Fri May 22, 2020 9:51 am

Hi Emily!

Chances are, any of those winged ants you caught directly by the nest are unfertilized. They need to fly out to mate with males from a different colony. From the amount you witnessed, it should not be hard to spot some wingless queens wandering your yard / neighbourhood.

Now, for founding your first colony.

Your best bet, would be to house them like on AntsCanada in a test tube set-up (he has video examples) or in a small container that can easily be kept moistened and warm, with minimal disturbance to the queen. This way you can periodically check-up on her to ensure she is still alive. And much easier to monitor when it is time to feed them once workers arrive.

Just dumping a bunch of queens / ants into a terrarium set-up is not advised, as you may not have a fertile queen as mentioned above. Also, the queens, if indeed fertile, will fight each other to the death at some point (depending on species).

You could try one or two wingless queens, if you desired, in a terrarium set-up, but be prepared to be waiting a few months before you see any activity, maybe not until next year.

Ant-keeping is quite tedious, and requires a lot of patience. If you want a more active experience right away, check the queen ants for sale page on, for a local GAN member who may have an established colony. There are also a couple other options for legal buying of ants in the USA, but I do not want to step the bounds of this forum by mentioning them.
Raising 3x Camponotus novaeboracensis, 2x Formica sp, 2x Lasius sp.

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