New to Hobby - How to deal with Nuptial Flights

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New to Hobby - How to deal with Nuptial Flights

Post: # 50048Post ChaneyEdwards
Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:00 pm

Hi everyone!

I came across the AC videos and have become incredibly interested in setting up my own formicarium. I have spoken with local people that are members of the GAN project, looked at the various formicariums sold at AC, looked into how to build my own, etc. But one question I still have is how to deal with nuptial flights.

I am looking to just have one colony, obviously will be keeping it indoors, so what do I do during nuptial season? I don't really want or need ants flying around my house searching in vane for a new place to make a nest, so how do you all handle this? Perhaps a sealed top to prevent them from flying out, but then what (if any) are the repercussions of keeping them from being able to escape? Would the newly fertilized queens fight for the territory there and potentially lead to a colony collapse?

Any advice you could give would be very welcomed. I would love to have a colony and watch them thrive, but I just haven't had any luck in seeing "what to do during nuptial season if you don't want ants flying around your house". :lol:

Anyways, thanks in advance for any advice!


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Re: New to Hobby - How to deal with Nuptial Flights

Post: # 50052Post MorbidBugg
Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:24 pm

Hello and welcome, first off this is a very faq that tends to get over looked. In nature ants take queues from pheromones of other fertile colonies and take flight when the timing is just right. However in captivity specifically indoors, even though colonies will create queens amd males to fly, the lack of queues that they would sense in nature goes missed inside. There are a few exceptions to this rule. But generally during the time when you see winged ants starting to show up. Simply place something like a book or even mesh screen lid. As long as they don't get the queues the queens will eventually lose their wings and rejoin the colony.
Ants are life's most successful invaders. Understand and respect that power.

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Re: New to Hobby - How to deal with Nuptial Flights

Post: # 50095Post CampoKing
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:16 am

I was pretty darn sure that colonies of the same species in the same local areas use the weather as the hint for timing their flights. Any colony of the necessary size/age will produce alates, and will wait for the same environmental conditions to release their drones and queens.
In some species, such as Pogonomyrmex I think, the males will fly out first, gather up on small hilltops or other distinct structures (i.e., fence posts), and the queens will fly later, attracted to the pheromones of the males. They'll form piles of mating ants, then go their own way.

I think it'd be awesome to attempt a captive mating flight. From what I've researched, most species just need two conditions to *hopefully* trigger a flight:
A winter hibernation (the alates would have been reared the previous summer and overwintered with the colony)
A warm day with a simulated rainstorm (probably coinciding with an actual outdoor rainstorm because ants can sense barometric pressure)

Many species will probably start their flight in the night or early morning following a decent spring rainstorm after hibernation. If you can simulate those conditions indoors somehow, you might succeed at a nuptial flight in captivity. Just my theory.

Granted, that's the total opposite of what you wanted in your post, but it's kinda like knowing how fires start so you can prevent them lol
Keeper of Camponotus:
C. pennsylvanicus, C. subbarbatus, C. nearcticus

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Re: New to Hobby - How to deal with Nuptial Flights

Post: # 66890Post mrPolant
Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:11 pm

This is also something I thought about. Say I would have 2 isolated colonies in 1 room with an open roof arena.

Will the 2 colonies mate and can I collect the queens and lets say- sell then afterwards?

You could think that such a method would allow people not to pick queens from the wild...
1x Messor Barbarus
1x Camponotus Ligniperda

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