Ant Keepers United

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Actually keeping termites is becoming a thing as well.
They may not be directly related (ants are descendants of wasps while termites are descendants of roaches) but they are also quite interesting to watch and keep (note that unlike with ants you need a queen AND a male to make them breed).
If you're keeping the right species (like dampwood termites or a species that eats moist leaf litter and wet cardboard) there is basically zero risk that they damage your house should they escape. Like with ants there are different species for different petkeepers, some can grow really large colonies but a lot of them also stay relatively small or grow very slowly.

The Formiculture antkeeping forum even has a termite section now:

Stupid me just removed the pink cover foil I accidentally left on the glass all the time ::) now you can see the ants in all their natural beauty:

They also got a second nest attached but have successfully ignored it for over half an hour. Well, one worker walked like 2cm into it and they have set up a few majors at the port (inside the old nest), so that's something I guess...

Also, to give you an impression of how huge and massive these ants are (almost 2cm), here's a size comparison of a supermajor and a beach tiger beetle that should be about right:
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 08:01:48 AM by Serafine »

Hey Serafine how would you recommend putting a heat below my Camponotus pennsyluanicus ants?

If they are in a test tube I wouldn't heat them at all. Test tubes are prone to overheating (the heat accumulates inside the tube much more than you might think it does), also heating often causes condensation which in test tubes can lead to flooding.

If they are in a nest you can use a low power heat mat and put it below about a third of the nest (definitely not more than half), preferrably either at the opposite edge of your hydration chamber (so you have a synchronized temperature and hydration gradient which should result in little condensation) or in a way that it also covers half/a third of your hydration chamber side (then you get a temperate gradient in a 90 angle to your hydration gradient which means the ants have maximum choice with 4 different environments - warm+wet, cold+wet, warm+dry, cold+dry).
Depending on how the ants react you can further optimize your setup (if they're all on the warm part you can cover a bit more of the nest with the heat mat, like 3/4, if they're all at the moist part close to your hydration chamber you need to water the nest more frequently, etc.).

If your nest has a port for a heating cable (like the AC hybrids or the simants nests) you can also mount one in there (a 15W cable should be enough).
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 08:05:17 AM by Serafine »

I have an AC test tube portal with 4 test tubes for rooms. What do you say about that?

I wouldn't heat that as it's basically a test tube setup. Better put it in a room that's warm in general (unless your ants hibernate of course).

There desert ants so no. Also thanks for the advice!  ;D

Hey, Serafine can grown ants eat meat?

Um... sort of (not really though). The thing is adult ants need very little protein so if they don't have brood they will probably just lick off any wet stuff and then ignore the meat as it dries out.
Also remember that meat starts to smell very bad very quickly (unless it's like ham or dries out).

My ants have probably outgrown the amount of ants Empires of the Undergrowth can display without crashing ;D

Using the pictures from the 24th I made a COUNT.
This is the nest. I gave every recognizable ant a blue dot, then divided the nest into small sectors and counted the ants in those sectors by giving them a purple dot.

These two outworld pictures were taking quickly after another so there shouldn't be too much fluctiation. The amount of ants in the water tube is an educated guess based on experience. In the end I counted 79 ants and rounded them up to 80 (as seen in the first picture).


This brings us to the final number of

visible ants.
Note that this count isn't their EXACT population - sometimes I had to make hard guesses when there were overlapping ants and obviously it does not include ants that were not visible, like ants hanging vertically on the backside of nest walls, ants in the connector between the two nests, ants in the water tube conenctor and the quite massive number of ants in the tubing from the nest to the outworld.
Those invisible ants included I would estimate them to about 750-800 ants in total.

And just as a reminder... they were 4 workers in March.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 10:37:57 AM by Serafine »

Hey, Serafine whats the sexiest ant queen you've kept?

Um... what? :o

Well, I think my Campo queen is quite cute and the Lasius queen doesn't look bad either. Generally the workers look cutier than the queens though - love the Campo majors with their huge heads.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 01:16:14 PM by Serafine »

AHHHHH  :-* I love them.