25 votes

My brand new Aphaenogaster picea queen! I can’t wait for her to start a colony!

18 comments

  1. [10]
    Planet
    (edited )
    Link
    This species of ant is a slow growing species, usually taking 40-55 days to go from egg to worker! But if heated it should cut that time down by a third. When the queen gets workers, they usually...

    This species of ant is a slow growing species, usually taking 40-55 days to go from egg to worker! But if heated it should cut that time down by a third. When the queen gets workers, they usually eat honey, termites, mealworms, roaches, etc. I have never kept this species of ant before, but apparently they can be hard to raise. But because I have been raising ants for ~5 years, it shouldn’t be too hard. Surprisingly they do not have a social stomach, so to transport sugars to the rest of the colony they pile substrate on it! In my opinion the Tar Heel ants mini hearth would be a really good founding formicarium for this species, because it has a lot of loose substrate.

    10 votes
    1. [9]
      helloworld
      Link Parent
      As someone who doesn't know anything about ant-raising, half of your message is sounds very interesting and other half is total gibberish. ELI5?

      As someone who doesn't know anything about ant-raising, half of your message is sounds very interesting and other half is total gibberish.

      ELI5?

      8 votes
      1. [8]
        Planet
        Link Parent
        Basically, most species of ants have something called a social stomach. They use it to transport sugars, and the guts of insects back to the colony, where they puke it up into the queens, workers,...

        Basically, most species of ants have something called a social stomach. They use it to transport sugars, and the guts of insects back to the colony, where they puke it up into the queens, workers, and larvae’s mouths. But because this species of ant does not have a social stomach, they can’t easily transport sugars back to the colony. So they soak up the sugar with dirt, sand, etc. Tar Heel Ants is an ant nest manufacturer who makes amazing nests out of a special material. The mini hearth is a cave like ant nest with sand inside.

        13 votes
        1. [7]
          AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          What is the special material that Tar Heel uses? In reference to your other post, what is brood boosting? What other ants have you... uhh... raised? farmed? kept? What drew you to antkeeping?
          1. What is the special material that Tar Heel uses?
          2. In reference to your other post, what is brood boosting?
          3. What other ants have you... uhh... raised? farmed? kept?
          4. What drew you to antkeeping?
          5 votes
          1. [6]
            Planet
            Link Parent
            The material Tar Heel Ants uses is called type 3. They have not released the formula for it, but I’m pretty sure it is a mix of ytong, hydro stone, and some magnetic material. Brood boosting is...
            1. The material Tar Heel Ants uses is called type 3. They have not released the formula for it, but I’m pretty sure it is a mix of ytong, hydro stone, and some magnetic material.

            2. Brood boosting is when you steal brood from a wild colony, such as pupae (it has to be the same species as your ant colony.)

            3. I have kept Carpenter ants (three colonies,) Big headed ants (three colonies,) Wood ants (one colony,) Labor day ants (five colonies,) False honeypot ants (four colonies,) Red harvester ants (one colony) and Red imported fire ants (one colony.)

            4. One day I got this YouTube video in my recommended. I watched the entire thing and decided that day I was going to keep ants. Another YouTube channel that got me hooked on ant keeping was Ants Australia

            Ant keeping can be a very fun and rewarding hobby, and I would recommend anyone reading this to try it out!

            5 votes
            1. [5]
              AugustusFerdinand
              Link Parent
              Are you familiar with why those materials would be chosen? A quick search says that ytong is aerated concrete, hydro stone is uncoated terracotta, but why the magnetic material? Prior to now I've...
              1. Are you familiar with why those materials would be chosen? A quick search says that ytong is aerated concrete, hydro stone is uncoated terracotta, but why the magnetic material? Prior to now I've only been aware of the classic sand-between-two-panes-of-glass (that probably doesn't result in any actual ant colony being possible if I had to guess). A quick browse of Tar Heel's website shows the type 3 to be carved out brick like structures, do ants just take over open spaces without issue? I assumed they'd always carve out their own spaces.

              2. So you'd steal pupae from wild ants and your current ants would just adopt them? There's no "hey you don't smell right" rejection?

              3. Which ants did you like the most and why? Same question, but replace most with least.

              4. Cool video, I was subconsciously itchy nearly the entire time! I see he has multiple 3D printed parts, do you have a 3D printer and create your own areas as well? Can you show us pictures of your colonies?

              5. What does an ant colony smell like?

              6 votes
              1. [4]
                Planet
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                These materials are chosen because they provide very good humidity for the ants, the material is magnetic so you can attach another mini hearth very easily by just setting it next to the one you...
                • Exemplary
                1. These materials are chosen because they provide very good humidity for the ants, the material is magnetic so you can attach another mini hearth very easily by just setting it next to the one you house your ants in. The ants will move into the cave no problem, because it reminds them of their chambers in the wild. You can also choose to give the ants one of those nests with sand and two glass panes, but it’s harder to see into their nest, and it’s harder to control the humidity.

                2. Usually yes, the ants will just accept them. At first they may notice the pupae smells different, but they don’t care after a few minutes.

                3. I personally really like the Big headed ants, Red harvester ants, and false honey pot ants the most. The harvester ants and the Big headed ants eat seeds, which I think is cool, and the false honey pot ants fill their gaster “butts” up with sugar and act sort of like an ant refrigerator, storing the sugars for later. My least favorite ants are the Labor Day ants. They are slow growing, small, and just really boring. They mostly just sit around in their nest and only forage when they need too. Carpenter ants are also some of my least favorite ants, only because they take months to get new workers, and unlike other species, the queen takes breaks from egg laying.

                4. I do 3D print my own ant nests, and later today I will upload some pictures of my colonies. As of right now they don’t have enough workers to be in one of my 3D printed nests, so you will see them in test tube setups.

                5. The ant nests smell like ammonia, I’m pretty sure it’s because they take food back to their nests, and when it decomposes it gives off ammonia.

                9 votes
                1. cfabbro
                  Link Parent
                  I'm not who asked the questions, but thanks for answering them anyways. You have a fascinating hobby, and it was interesting even getting a small glimpse into it by reading along. :)

                  I'm not who asked the questions, but thanks for answering them anyways. You have a fascinating hobby, and it was interesting even getting a small glimpse into it by reading along. :)

                  6 votes
  2. [2]
    rmgr
    Link
    So I started looking at ant keeping as a result of this post and my wife walked in and was like "You are not keeping ants. Don't even think about it." so I guess thats that dream shot down :D

    So I started looking at ant keeping as a result of this post and my wife walked in and was like "You are not keeping ants. Don't even think about it." so I guess thats that dream shot down :D

    7 votes
  3. [6]
    Tuna
    Link
    Good luck with your new colony. I've been eyeing ant keeping for a few years now, but there are a lot of things to sort out beforehand. Living space, breeding tube, local species (nuptial flight...

    Good luck with your new colony.

    I've been eyeing ant keeping for a few years now, but there are a lot of things to sort out beforehand.
    Living space, breeding tube, local species (nuptial flight and feeding habits).
    How did you get started with your first colony?

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      Planet
      Link Parent
      I started out by buying a set of around 50 test tubes for like 10 dollars on Amazon, and when they arrived I took one and went on a walk during a warm summer day. I watched some ants Canada...

      I started out by buying a set of around 50 test tubes for like 10 dollars on Amazon, and when they arrived I took one and went on a walk during a warm summer day. I watched some ants Canada tutorials on how to set up a test tube setup, and I was good to go.

      After you put the queen in a test tube leave her in the dark for a few days and check if she has eggs. Then leave her in the dark for another month.

      For feeding you could just buy some mealworms from the petstore and give them some carrots before putting them in the fridge.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Thra11
        Link Parent
        Just to clarify, are you buying live mealworms and feeding the carrots to the mealworms, then putting the mealworms in the fridge? Does that kill them or just put them into some sort of suspended...

        For feeding you could just buy some mealworms from the petstore and give them some carrots before putting them in the fridge.

        Just to clarify, are you buying live mealworms and feeding the carrots to the mealworms, then putting the mealworms in the fridge? Does that kill them or just put them into some sort of suspended animation?

        Your comments have been an interesting insight into the world of ant-keeping, thank you. The ants here (UK) are swarming today. There were huge flocks of seagulls feeding on the flying ants, and now there are lots of wingless queens wandering around looking for somewhere to start a colony. I wonder if anyone's filmed the flying ants in the air with a drone. For so many seagulls to gather, there must be a significant concentration of ants.

        Do your kept ants produce winged queens and males when it's the right time of year? I assume you can't actually let them out into the sky unless they're native species? Can you manually mix them up and try to start a new colony that way?

        2 votes
        1. Planet
          Link Parent
          When you put the live mealworms in the fridge, it extends their lifespan and makes it so they can’t pupate into beetles. Personally my colonies have not been big enough to produce virgin winged...

          When you put the live mealworms in the fridge, it extends their lifespan and makes it so they can’t pupate into beetles.

          Personally my colonies have not been big enough to produce virgin winged queens and males, but if your ants get to the thousands of workers they will produce them. Usually the virgin queens will act like worker ants and the males will die. I’m also pretty sure the ants need to be flying to mate.

          3 votes
      2. [2]
        Tuna
        Link Parent
        I've been watching quite a few of ACs videos in the past. While his dramatic and over the top videos are not really my cup of tea, he is undeniable passionate and knowledgeable about ants. The...

        I've been watching quite a few of ACs videos in the past. While his dramatic and over the top videos are not really my cup of tea, he is undeniable passionate and knowledgeable about ants.

        The biggest hurdle I've had is not the starting phase, but the time after the funding of the colony. Buying a terrarium and ant proofing it, are my main concerns.
        What steps do you take, to ensure they stay in their home and what size of the terrarium is appropriate?

        2 votes
        1. Planet
          Link Parent
          So for starting an ant colony you do not need to give them a terrarium, buy $10 worth of test tubes and cotton from Amazon and make a test tube set up. When the queen get workers feed her in the...

          So for starting an ant colony you do not need to give them a terrarium, buy $10 worth of test tubes and cotton from Amazon and make a test tube set up. When the queen get workers feed her in the tube. I would recommend watching ants Australia tutorial videos, because recently antscanada has not had any good tutorials.

          1 vote