New and Clueless

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SebrightLover
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:28 pm
Location: Boise, Idaho

New and Clueless

Post: # 53022Post SebrightLover
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:40 pm

Hello, so I'm really new to ant keeping. I recently tried to capture a queen from a colony that was inside one of my garden beds but only managed to capture a bunch of workers. They only survived the days before I could only see one of the thirty I had caught. It's almost winter here (Boise area in Idaho) so I can't capture any new queens but I thought that experimenting with just workers would help me learn how to keep them alive.... It obviously didn't work out too well. I have identified them as tetramorium or pavement ants, and only only ever seen them and fire ants (who I do not want for my first try) I'm my area. I feed them bits of meat and honey, I was planning on getting some crickets out mealworms if I liked them, but is that my problem? I watered their area once per day, as they seemed to like the moisture since I live in an area with a very high water table and I found them in a most area. My main question is why they died, how do I fix it, and if there is anyone in the area who is selling queens? Thanks for all your help.

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idahoantgirl
Posts: 1513
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: New and Clueless

Post: # 53024Post idahoantgirl
Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:00 pm

Hey! Welcome! Sl glad to see more locals :) Yeah it is unfortunately a bit late for catching queens, and I don't think anyone in the area is in the GAN project currently. I also don't have any queens to spare :cry: . The main issue with catching workers is that they need their colony to live a full lifespan, and even then it's only about 3 months. Yeah Tetramorium Immigrans are everywhere here. They dominate the popualtion. So, disclaimer, I am fully aware that people in general look down upon gel nests, and I am fully aware of the reasons, and I agree with them when you have better options ( such as queen with proper setups) However, honestly if I were you I would get a gel nest just to keep your interests peeked till spring. I don't believe it's cruel to the 20 some harvester ants they send you, and it is a very interesting learning experience, though not as interesting as a professional setup. I had a gel farm several years ago before I knew about the world of "professional" ant keeping. I found it to be a fine starter setup for someone without other options.
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeping Tetramorium immigrans, Tapinoma Sessile

JoeHostile1
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:51 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: New and Clueless

Post: # 53186Post JoeHostile1
Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:53 am

What did you keep them in? The fact they all died in a few days leads me to believe they were either exposed to something toxic or there wasn’t enough humidity in the set up you were keeping them in. It wasn’t from lack of food because a few days without food is not going to be a problem for ants. Interesting you kidnapped worker ants to test out antkeeping, I did the exact same thing while I was waiting to get queens.

I’m surprised Idahoantgirl suggested the gel farms because those are not capable of sustaining a colony. The ants you put in there die due to exhaustion from digging exploratory tunnels looking for their colony that they will never find. Of course it would be interesting to watch them dig their tunnels, but I don’t think that will help you in learning how to keep ants. But I could be wrong.
Keeping:
Tetramorium immigrans * Lasius Neoniger * Lasius Claviger * Messor Aciculatus * Myrmica Rubra * Camponotus Novaeboracensis * Camponotus Turkastanus * Pheidole Pallidula

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSfFtn6RegZ3F1NdS1g08NA

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idahoantgirl
Posts: 1513
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: New and Clueless

Post: # 53196Post idahoantgirl
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:41 am

JoeHostile1 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:53 am
What did you keep them in? The fact they all died in a few days leads me to believe they were either exposed to something toxic or there wasn’t enough humidity in the set up you were keeping them in. It wasn’t from lack of food because a few days without food is not going to be a problem for ants. Interesting you kidnapped worker ants to test out antkeeping, I did the exact same thing while I was waiting to get queens.

I’m surprised Idahoantgirl suggested the gel farms because those are not capable of sustaining a colony. The ants you put in there die due to exhaustion from digging exploratory tunnels looking for their colony that they will never find. Of course it would be interesting to watch them dig their tunnels, but I don’t think that will help you in learning how to keep ants. But I could be wrong.
True, they aren't capable of sustaining a real colony, but it does keep the harvester workers alive.. for a short amount of time. I know this would probably get a lot of flak, but I personally don't believe it's cruel to the ants as I don't believe they have emotions or brains complex enough to experience suffering by simply being away from their queen.
But I will say that it was an interesting project, and the tunnels they make are rather interesting. Also the chances of an Idaho person being able to keep ants as large as harvester ants in any other way than in these nests are pretty slim. I do think it teaches you some things about ants. You get to practice using the fridge to slow them down for easy transfers, you get used to watching for potential escape breeches, you learn things like "don't put them in direct sunlight " ( that mistake killed my first colony of ants :? )
Of course, when you can, a professional formicarium with a queen is ALWAYS the way to go, but if your faced with the choice of getting a temporary nest to last you through the winter months, or potentially lose your interest in ant keeping all together, I prefer the former.
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeping Tetramorium immigrans, Tapinoma Sessile

SebrightLover
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:28 pm
Location: Boise, Idaho

Re: New and Clueless

Post: # 53274Post SebrightLover
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:54 pm

I put them in a small glass jar, Wich I opened multiple times per day to make sure they got fresh air often. I did try the baby powder barrier but matter how thick I made it the ants could still climb out easily. Some bits of the mixture did fall in Wich I suppose could've killed them, but if assume they'd be more likely to eat the meat and honey rather than the baby powder. I did leave the jar open for a full night, and I guess that the healthiest could've escaped leaving the others but I did see dead ones in there.

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idahoantgirl
Posts: 1513
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: New and Clueless

Post: # 53276Post idahoantgirl
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:28 pm

The secret to barriers is not thickness, it's thinness. A thick baby powder is much easier to climb over than a thin one. Also I found that babypowder+ rubbing alcohol can be crossed easily by T. immigrans, but they cannot cross plain babypowder applied lightly with a dry cotton ball.
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeping Tetramorium immigrans, Tapinoma Sessile

User avatar
idahoantgirl
Posts: 1513
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: New and Clueless

Post: # 53277Post idahoantgirl
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:29 pm

Also! There is a thread for us Idahoans! Come join and introduce yourself

https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=10824&start=10
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeping Tetramorium immigrans, Tapinoma Sessile

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