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Ant Keepers United

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Ant keepers, show yourselves.. and your colonies too! :D


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Let me introduce myself - I started keeping ants 11 years ago. I had (and still have) plenty of species from Poland. I prefer smaller ants, but have also some aggressive and/or bigger ants too.

Currently I keep:
- Camponotus herculeanus - colony from ~2013 (started with a single queen), sits inside cork nest so I'm unable to count them (at least 200+) :P
- Formica rufibarbis - colony started in 2012 from a single queen, sits in sandy nest so I'm also unable to count them (at least (400-600 ants)
- Formica cinerea  - two small colonies, one 1,5 year old and second only half year old
- Solenopsis fugax - colony started 1,5 year ago, they are so small that it is hard to count them too. I presume there are 400-500 ants in the nest or even more
- Leptothorax acervorum - small colony gathered in a stick in coniferous forest (a few dozen of ants and 2 queens)
- Lasius brunneus - first successful attempt of establishing a colony of that species. I think I caught the queen in 2015. Currenty it has ca. 25 workers ^^
- Lasius flavus - just cuaght, I will have to hand it over to someone (no, I'm not trading ants here! :x)
- Camponotus fallax - I traded a colony of T. caespitum for her. Have the queen from two years, and the colony never started to grow.. only 1 worker :<

My ideas for formicariums and some photos of my colonies (current and old ones) can be found at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zielona-mrowka



« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 09:16:52 PM by MBargo »

  • Mike

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Man, one of the things I've been blown away by following the development of this game is how it's attracting the REAL ant fans - people who keep colonies in their homes for fun. That's a really humbling thing and I know the guys were a bit humbled by how real enthusiasts were getting excited for their RTS game.

BTW, you're as excellent a photographer as you are an ant keeper. That Flickr page is astonishing.

Currently only Tetramorium and Crematogaster.

  • Matt

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I have very basic ant-keeper experience: Lasius niger and Lasius flavus. Always been mesmerised by Atta colonies though, has long been my dream to keep one.

Hello,
i have a Messor barbarus colony since 2009. I had many ant species befor but Messor is my favorit :). I like species with big polymorphic and not aggrassiv.

Caught a Camponotus chromaiodes yesterday. I'm excited about that.

This is amazingly cool! Did you build all those formicaria yourself?

I've been wondering about keeping ants of my own for a while, probably starting with some lasius niger at home. Are there any good ant-keeping resources and sites you recommend?

This is amazingly cool! Did you build all those formicaria yourself?
In my case, I do mostly parts of them. I buy a tank (acquarium) or another container and them modify it to my needs.

I've been wondering about keeping ants of my own for a while, probably starting with some lasius niger at home. Are there any good ant-keeping resources and sites you recommend?

Of course they are :) It mostly depends on in which country do you live (or more if you live in temperate zone, tropics, etc what indicates a bit different behaviour of your local ants).

For example, for English users:
http://antfarm.yuku.com - forum for antkeepers and myrmecology amateurs
http://www.antscanada.com/starting-your-ant-colony/ - how to start
http://www.antfinity.com/articles/ant-keeping-guide-beginners/ - how to start 2
http://www.antnest.co.uk/miscantstuff.html - some details about ants
https://www.antstore.net/shop/?language=en&switch_country=DE - one of the oldest shops
http://www.antscanada.com/product-category/starter-kit/ - another shop
http://www.antcat.org/references - a huge collection of monographies and articles about ants
http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Welcome_to_AntWiki - AntWiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_ant_terms - some terms
http://antkey.org/en/lexicon/43 - another glossary
"Journey to the Ants" -E.O.Wilson and B. Holldobler is a nice book to start your hobby and where you will get some knowledge about ants
http://rcin.org.pl/Content/40295/WA058_24248_P4753_Mem-Zool-45.pdf - a short script about laboratory methods of rearing ants - a bit old but most of information are still up to date

I would advice you to start with popular, eurytopic species able to find in your area which queens create a nest in a claustral way. Simplifying - find a species that is easy to catch by yourself or easy to buy from other antkeepers, can stand your mistakes and queens of this species do not need any special care while they are waiting for first ants.

I would recommend also to cath a queen by yourself, but if you live in Europe, time for cathing any 'fresh' queens after nuptial flights will start with late spring..

Tell me where do you live and I will try to find a list of species for you :)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 08:08:49 AM by MBargo »

Hello! I as well am ant keeper, although not as advanced. I currently have Solenopsis Invicta, Camponotus Floridanus, Camponotus Tortugas, and I had a Brachymyrmex (unkwown species) that sadly died. I had like over 100 queens of Solenopsis Invicta that I caught one day after it rained and they all flew. I was trying to sell them on Ants Canada, but it became to complicated so I just cancelled that and gave some away, let some go, kept some, and some others died. It got to much for me so I just ended of keeping one colony of invicta and I have the other colonies of carpenters (one wild caught and the other queen-raised). It's interesting that your into photography, as I am too, but I don't have a macro lens so I don't take ant photos to often. Are you a GAN farmer by any chance?

I use grout for my formacariums. Also, I saw that you said that your carpenter colony only had one worker. I have seen this before. I know sometimes carpenters take a very long time, but I don't think they take that long. I'm not sure but it could be possible. Have you went to the ant yuku about that yet?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 05:19:05 AM by AntsAreAwesome »
Keeper of:
1 Pheidole sp.

Past colonies:
Various species of camponotus, MANY past colonies of Solenopsis invicta (Red Imported Fire Ant), many colonies of brachymyrmex patagonicus, and Iíll post on here others I have kept when I remember!

This is amazingly cool! Did you build all those formicaria yourself?
In my case, I do mostly parts of them. I buy a tank (acquarium) or another container and them modify it to my needs.

I've been wondering about keeping ants of my own for a while, probably starting with some lasius niger at home. Are there any good ant-keeping resources and sites you recommend?

Of course they are :) It mostly depends on in which country do you live (or more if you live in temperate zone, tropics, etc what indicates a bit different behaviour of your local ants).

For example, for English users:
http://antfarm.yuku.com - forum for antkeepers and myrmecology amateurs
http://www.antscanada.com/starting-your-ant-colony/ - how to start
http://www.antfinity.com/articles/ant-keeping-guide-beginners/ - how to start 2
http://www.antnest.co.uk/miscantstuff.html - some details about ants
https://www.antstore.net/shop/?language=en&switch_country=DE - one of the oldest shops
http://www.antscanada.com/product-category/starter-kit/ - another shop
http://www.antcat.org/references - a huge collection of monographies and articles about ants
http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Welcome_to_AntWiki - AntWiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_ant_terms - some terms
http://antkey.org/en/lexicon/43 - another glossary
"Journey to the Ants" -E.O.Wilson and B. Holldobler is a nice book to start your hobby and where you will get some knowledge about ants
http://rcin.org.pl/Content/40295/WA058_24248_P4753_Mem-Zool-45.pdf - a short script about laboratory methods of rearing ants - a bit old but most of information are still up to date

I would advice you to start with popular, eurytopic species able to find in your area which queens create a nest in a claustral way. Simplifying - find a species that is easy to catch by yourself or easy to buy from other antkeepers, can stand your mistakes and queens of this species do not need any special care while they are waiting for first ants.

I would recommend also to cath a queen by yourself, but if you live in Europe, time for cathing any 'fresh' queens after nuptial flights will start with late spring..

Tell me where do you live and I will try to find a list of species for you :)

Quite a few forums you've got there! I'd add on one major one: http://formiculture.com.

So nobody added any additional pictures yet? That's kinda sad. Here are mine.

Queen Barbarianna and the lazy horde in their current home, the Great Wastelands:







A nice one :D Are the cactuses somewhat separated or you don't care that the ouworld might be soaked?

The cactuses are actually artificial and just decorations. I wanna make them a soil tank with aphids but that won't happen until the colony is much bigger.

They are six now btw and their sixth worker is a medium one:


This is the most recent picture (April 17th), they are sitting on an ton of pupae.



If you're interested you can find my entire ant colony journal here, it's getting updated very frequently:
http://www.formiculture.com/topic/4167-serafines-camponotus-barbaricus-welcome-to-lazy-tube/

I'd love to keep a small ant colony or two although I'd think my parents would have something to say about that  ;D

Here's an update on my Camponotus, they're doing really well.


I'd love to keep a small ant colony or two although I'd think my parents would have something to say about that  ;D
Antkeeping is actually a really cheap and easy hobby. They're way cheaper than any other animal, don't cause medical costs (if they get sick they either deal with it on their own by sorting out the sick colony members or die off), don't eat much and require very little maintenance.
All you need is a few test tubes, some cotton, a plastic container, some sand and whatever works as barrier so the ants can't crawl out of the container (baby powder and rubbing alcohol or fluon).
Most ants eat dead insects - you can buy these at pet stores (you can even catch some spiders from around your house) and just put them into the freezer before feeding them to the ants. Some ants like the Harvester ants of the Messor and Novomessor genuses eat seeds like grass seeds, dandelion seeds, bird food and canary bird food as well as nuts and almonds, which makes caring for them even easier - just dump them a handful of seeds into their container once per week (they even store them in their tubes and nests) and make sure they always have enough water. Harvester ants also like dead insects (which leads to much faster colony development) but it isn't needed.

Something important to know is BIGGER ANTS ARE EASIER TO CARE FOR. Ants like Serviformica, Camponotus and Messor are WAY easier to contain than Rainbow ants or Pheidole species that can squeeze through tiny gaps or even walk over many barriers that work fine for larger ants.
Also bigger ants develop slower which means they won't explode out of their setup within a few months like Solenopsis fire ants or Crematogaster acrobat ants like to do.

And you need to make sure that the queen you've caught isn't a parasitic one that cannot found a colony on it's own (a parasitic queen invades a colony of another species to kill the queen and seduce the workers into tending for her brood so she doesn't have to).

https://youtu.be/SDrUr0gvP90
https://youtu.be/T3Kd8IqAiRI
https://youtu.be/WErTN2e2eUk
https://youtu.be/JiD5Sx60CVA
https://youtu.be/8edRYbn65Oo