JohnyDL Journal [0 - the before]

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JohnyDL

JohnyDL Journal [0 - the before]

Post: # 13550Post JohnyDL
Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:23 am

Okay I'm new to this and possibly a late comer to being new to this at 25 but I've had this curiosity about ants and hive minds for a long while. For over a decade I've played a number of ant related games, some destructive some caring, online and off, but I was always interested in how behaviours manifested. I'm a real computer nerd but it seems modelling ant life isn't as simple task as it looks.

I really got serious about it 3 years ago hunting for ant mimicking software but there's really nothing that does everything you want to see, sure some 'ants' can procedurally build ant looking nests but they use few ants to build impractically large nests for their needs there's no queen making brood depending on the space available, and so on and so on with complaints. I have a similar list of complaints about over ground ant simulators, ranging from simANT to google's Ant AI Challenge, that don't show foraging patterns so much as either go for randomness or they can read the entire terrain and map to the nearest food.

Notable ant fiction books I've read are Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez where weaver ants have been scaled up for human warfare, a terrifying prospect and the Speaker for the Dead series by Orson Scott Card, the continuation of Ender's Story from Ender's Game, he has found the last queen of the alien race known as Formics because of their insect like bodies, though the books don't strictly revolve around ants there's this Aiua idea that binds together a colony and is a hive mind that Ender can speak to and there's an awful lot of ideas in there that just have me fascinated.

So maybe two weeks ago I stumbled on AC's YT channel and I realised that there was an alternative to what I had considered the 3 main ways of studying ants, computer models and simulations, gel ant farms that I don't trust and don't show off enough of the ant activity to make them interesting to me, and studying a wild ant colony which isn't ideal because you can't see the 90% of their world that's most interesting, and ridiculously I'm pretty wimpy about insects I'll get over that I'm sure.

That brings 'the before' to a close tomorrow I'll catch you up on the last 2 weeks :D

JohnyDL

JohnyDL Journal [1 - the decision]

Post: # 13647Post JohnyDL
Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:09 am

So yesterday I ended with the discovery of the AC YT channel, it was a fire nation video but I quickly subscribed and devoured half the videos on his channel and then started thinking I could do that.

Everyone I told the decision to seemed to have the same few concerns. "Why ants why not insert larger animal" 1 ants are fascinating, 2 ants are lower maintenance than most mammals reptiles and even fish, 3 I don't necessarily want to be stuck with something I can't later get rid of without hassle. "Isn't that risky what if they escape?" Maybe I hadn't explained it well enough but I knew the point was they shouldn't be allowed to escape, even a little bit, because then they wouldn't likely be my ant colony anymore if they escape the wild better provides all their needs than even the best ant keeper. And "won't your landlord have a problem with it?" To which my answer was I'm allowed pets when I moved in I was specifically told to treat the place like I own it, but I made a call anyway. Yes they said but if they become a nuisance then I'll have to get rid of them, don't get a species that commonly builds nests in houses and I should ask the council if they have any advice.

Phoning the council made sense I'd already checked their website and there wasn't anything about keeping insects but I didn't see any harm in asking. By this point I'd found news articles and websites galore about ants and done research I even applied for the forum here though that got lost by the system, and I'd set my heart on Tetramorium C. having only really looked at the national list of ants and remembering that pavement ants are easy to find and catch from Mikey's videos. My council told me I could keep ants but if I had any intention or there was any chance of them being returned to the wild they'd have to be locally native species. Well I'm renting, queens can live for 15+ years, I don't intend to still be living here in a decade and my relocation might not permit ants. I also know it's super bad form to kill colonies so I'm stuck with local species.

That pretty much brings you up to speed with actual things I've done towards getting a colony. Tomorrow when I'm at my computer I'll cover what websites I came across that others especially in Britain might find useful or interesting in doing ant research. And I'll cover a few things the day after about my loose plan for a DIY formacarium, watch this space

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Batspiderfish
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Re: JohnyDL Journal [0 - the before]

Post: # 13663Post Batspiderfish
Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:38 am

Don't release your ants into the wild. Just find somebody else to take them if you aren't going to take care of them anymore.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

JohnyDL

Re: JohnyDL Journal [1 - the decision]

Post: # 13667Post JohnyDL
Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:41 pm

Nature is where they came from, why not release them into the wild? Obviously if I could find a carer temporary or permanent that would be preferable, but if they're native local species then why would it be a problem? There also don't seem to be as many people from the UK here as the US, I think I'm the only one in my city, maybe even my county.

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Batspiderfish
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Re: JohnyDL Journal [0 - the before]

Post: # 13672Post Batspiderfish
Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:39 pm

Because captive ants can have unique exposure to parasites and diseases in captivity, which are not present in wild populations. Also, unless you are buying ants from where you live, the Lasius niger from the UK and the Lasius niger from, say, Germany, are not the same ants, strictly speaking. There's not a single myrmecologist who thinks that releasing ants is a good idea.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

JohnyDL

Re: JohnyDL Journal [1 - the decision]

Post: # 13674Post JohnyDL
Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:04 pm

Batspiderfish wrote:Because captive ants can have unique exposure to parasites and diseases in captivity, which are not present in wild populations. Also, unless you are buying ants from where you live, the Lasius niger from the UK and the Lasius niger from, say, Germany, are not the same ants, strictly speaking. There's not a single myrmecologist who thinks that releasing ants is a good idea.
I won't be buying ants at all, doing so isn't encouraged buy this forum especially internationally (with the exception of GAN which is supposed to be within city or state anyway) and doing that would mean I miss out on the founding stages. I plan to catch them locally in 6-10months when they fly here.

I'd be interested to see studies on what strange and new parasites and infections might be in captivity in my house that they couldn't catch by walking through my kitchen.

Finally I haven't found any reports by actual myrmecologists on this subject but it's certainly a present idea in the AntsCanada YouTube channel that releasing a colony isn't a bad thing. It's certainly no worse for the colony than killing them all which would in all likelihood be the other choice I'd be faced with.

JohnyDL

Re: JohnyDL Journal [2 - resources]

Post: # 13720Post JohnyDL
Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:52 pm

So I thought I'd go through real quick some of the resources I've used in some of my research sofar

Here obviously I've posted questions her and I've read a lot, the AC store for ideas and the AC YT Channel for tutorials

AntWiki.org and Wikipedia the first new to me but it's obvious there should be one and the second is so second nature it shouldn't need a mention. The notes on Tetramorium C. from each site are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavement_ant and http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Tetramorium_caespitum

http://www.bwars.com/ specifically a UK resource I think, lots of information about bees wasps and ants so long as you know the species which can be quite the problem, it's not the best layed out website for finding other things like searching based on location but it's still quite the resource. Again here's the notes on Tetramorium C. http://www.bwars.com/ant/formicidae/myr ... -caespitum

https://data.nbn.org.uk/Taxa/NBNSYS0000037030 If you're in the UK and want to know where to find ants of certain species this is a gold mine. Most Local Authorities also have their own data sets so if you're looking for what's available locally this is the place to go, I found my permitted species using the data on this website, although some if not all the data is out of date as digitising of records has started with the oldest and working forward in case of decay of older records rather than staring useful and heading towards more obscure for an example this is the Stoke on trent environmental servey results 1982-84 https://data.nbn.org.uk/Datasets/GA000008

I've also done a huge amount of window shopping on Amazon, Ebay and more, one thing that puzzles me, why has no-one thought to use a hypodermic needle as a delivery method for Honey in the claustral stages going in can be risky a small needle would go straight through cotton wool, getting them on Amazon is ridiculously easy, when I finally find ants of my own I'm going to test it out, I don't expect a needle and the honey to last more than a week or two but at 23p for a small syringe and needle it's worth testing.

I'm going to skip tomorrow, but saturday morning I hope to post my first inklings of a plan for my formicarium

MichiganAnts

Re: JohnyDL Journal [0 - the before]

Post: # 13767Post MichiganAnts
Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:17 am

have you put any thought into what species of ant you want? id suggest anything thats campanotous

JohnyDL

Re: JohnyDL Journal [1 - the decision]

Post: # 13769Post JohnyDL
Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:01 am

xW1Z25x wrote:have you put any thought into what species of ant you want? id suggest anything thats campanotous
I totally forgot to mention this when I talked about my council stopping me having Tetramorium C because I mentioned it on my newbie thread should have mentioned it here too. Yes I did find what I'm allowed and the only one that seems like a viable choice is Lasius Niger. The other two local species are uncommon and not particularly foragers providing them root aphids would be a massive pain I imagine.

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Batspiderfish
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Re: JohnyDL Journal [0 - the before]

Post: # 13772Post Batspiderfish
Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:37 am

If you're talking about Lasius flavus, Lasius umbratus, or Lasius fuliginosus, those don't need aphids in captivity.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

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