Ant apocalypse!!

Coconana

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
105
Hey guys! Haven't posted in a while, but my latest T room problem has me scratching my head and frustrated beyond belief.

I ducked in late last night to check on everybody before I went to bed, but when I came to my MM P. Regalis' cage, I just about had a heart attack! There was an ENTIRE COLONY of little black ants just cruising around below his substrate. I checked him a few days ago and didn't see a thing.

So today's been spent taking everybody off that particular shelf, pulling the T's in and out, dumping substrate, replacing substrate and dealing with Kevin's mighty colony. They had all congregated below his water dish --queen included--so it felt fitting to give them what they seemed to be after in the first place. With a hose. Little bastards.

Has anyone else had issues with these guys? These little sugar ants have been driving me up a wall by appearing near water sources in my house every so often, but I thought I had them all under control until last night. Also, does anybody know any tarantula-friendly ways to ensure that they don't come back? I'm just glad they popped up on the adult arboreal shelf, and not in my kindergarten shelf! A colony that size could've descimated my slings.

Cheers guys!
 

user 666

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
349
Why did you kill them?

i can see why you would want to transfer the T to another enclosure, but why kill the free ant colony?
 

Hellblazer

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
130
Why did you kill them?

i can see why you would want to transfer the T to another enclosure, but why kill the free ant colony?
I would've done the same thing. I wouldn't want to endanger my collection with them. I don't know a lot about ants, but I imagine they could destroy a freshly molted T. Also, I'm just not interested in keeping an ant colony.
 

Mousetank

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
0
the "sugar" ants are also known as pharaoh ants. a DIY treatment you can use would be mixing Ant-B-Gone ant gel that you can get from any store that sells home pest control products and mix it with some honey. i'd say a 1:4 mixture (ant-b-gone/honey). put little dabs around your water sources on a piece of painters tape. I say painters tape because its easier to remove and you wont have a sticky glob. you can also try mixing some Ant-B-Gone with some wet catfood and leaving little globs on the paint as well. They will either be going for sugars or proteins so you cover both world that way. Don't ever use a spray for them since they have multiple queens and will spread even faster since you've pissed them off.. Good luck with the battle.
 

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
613
Poor guy must've felt the darn things crawling around under him like a mini earthquake. Glad you caught that.
 

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
613
I would've done the same thing. I wouldn't want to endanger my collection with them. I don't know a lot about ants, but I imagine they could destroy a freshly molted T. Also, I'm just not interested in keeping an ant colony.
Bud, ants can destroy ANYTHING. The quality of the tarantula's exoskeleton would make no difference.
 

AphonopelmaTX

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
1,306
I had a colony of the red ants/ pharaoh ants in an adult female Poecilotheria ornata enclosure once before. They scavenge the dead crickets and didn't predate the spider. They got quite aggressive with their scavenging in that the ants tried to eat the masticated crickets straight from the spider's mouth as it was eating! This P. ornata was constantly kicking them away making loud thumping noises at night and shifting its position in the enclosure. I never rehoused the spider because the ants eventually went away after a few weeks of no water and food in the enclosure. Other than the ants trying to take away the spider's food as it was eating, they didn't really cause any problems.

By the way, I'm not saying a colony of pharaoh ants won't cause problems for a tarantula if a colony takes up residence in a tarantula's enclosure. I just thought it was an interesting observation that the ants scavenged for food and didn't cause any problems unless the spider was feeding. If left unchecked an ant colony could easily out compete a captive tarantula for resources.

As far as how to deal with them, the only way I found to get rid of ants is to deal with them at the source of entry to the room.
 
Last edited:

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,528
ive heard cinnamon works..
in the TKG it describes a simple platform you can build by screwing 4 screws in the four corners of a piece of wood or something to elevate it, then putting those nails in small containers of vegetable oil. the idea is that the snt simply wont be able to get through the vegetable oil to reach the cage on the platform. i tried it once out of paranoia, and the oil didnt seem to affect any of my ts. maybe give it a shot.
 

Hellblazer

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
130
Bud, ants can destroy ANYTHING. The quality of the tarantula's exoskeleton would make no difference.
Either way, I don't want them around. I meant being vulnerable while recovering, not because it's soft.
 
Last edited:

Coconana

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
105
Why did you kill them?

i can see why you would want to transfer the T to another enclosure, but why kill the free ant colony?
Agreed with @Hellblazer. I've seen these crazy little critters take down a mouse with a broken leg in the front yard; the thought of what they could do to my tarantulas on a bad day makes it not worth the chance of leaving them to their own devices.

These guys are so prevalent around this area, and so frustrating to deal with already that keeping a colony of them just doesn't appeal to me. Plus, if they got out somehow, that's an entirely new problem I just wouldn't want to cause for myself.

Poor guy must've felt the darn things crawling around under him like a mini earthquake. Glad you caught that.
I felt absolutely awful this morning when I had to fish poor Kevin out of his ant-swamped substrate to get him into the catch cup. He perked up pretty quick since I put him in my MF's old cage though.

They could have easily gone another day or two without me noticing though. I don't know what compelled me to check that night, but I'm sure glad I did! Gonna have to go back to daily check-ups for everybody in the T collection now. Gotta be vigilant against these tiny invaders. They've been absolutely awful to deal with so far.

Thank you @Mousetank for the suggestions! Anything to keep today from happening again.. To war we go! :arghh:
 

user 666

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
349
I can understand what y'all are saying, but i for one would want to keep the free ant colony.
 

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
613
How in the heck did a big queen ant get into a tarantula enclosure and burrow down anyway? Why didnt he just kill it as soon as it got there?
 

Coconana

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
105
How in the heck did a big queen ant get into a tarantula enclosure and burrow down anyway? Why didnt he just kill it as soon as it got there?
The queen didn't look terribly big in comparison to her workers.. Big enough for me to notice, but honestly, I'm not sure! I was thinking about it whilst watching a stream of wet ants go canoeing down the driveway, but there were definitely little white babies that the ants were attempting to carry about and move when I disrupted them, so there had to have been a laying queen present.
 

Mousetank

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
0
How in the heck did a big queen ant get into a tarantula enclosure and burrow down anyway? Why didnt he just kill it as soon as it got there?
Pharaoh Ants have multiple queens which makes them a pain the butt to treat and exterminate. They were probably creating another satellite nest to establish a new colony... The problem with pharaoh ants in an apartment complex (assuming the OP lives in an apartment) is that all surrounding units should be treated as well for the most effective approach at getting rid of them. Also whatever you do, never spray for them or you're just starting war with the little buggers..
 

darkness975

dream reaper
Arachnosupporter +
Joined
Aug 31, 2012
Messages
3,854
I had a colony of the red ants/ pharaoh ants in an adult female Poecilotheria ornata enclosure once before. They scavenge the dead crickets and didn't predate the spider. They got quite aggressive with their scavenging in that the ants tried to eat the masticated crickets straight from the spider's mouth as it was eating! This P. ornata was constantly kicking them away making loud thumping noises at night and shifting its position in the enclosure. I never rehoused the spider because the ants eventually went away after a few weeks of no water and food in the enclosure. Other than the ants trying to take away the spider's food as it was eating, they didn't really cause any problems.

By the way, I'm not saying a colony of pharaoh ants won't cause problems for a tarantula if a colony takes up residence in a tarantula's enclosure. I just thought it was an interesting observation that the ants scavenged for food and didn't cause any problems unless the spider was feeding. If left unchecked an ant colony could easily out compete a captive tarantula for resources.

As far as how to deal with them, the only way I found to get rid of ants is to deal with them at the source of entry to the room.
I would not have been able to leave them in there like that. It would have bothered me to no end.

I don't necessarily hate ants as a species but I do agree with others in this thread that they can be quite the pest.
 

Stella Maris

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
171
Hey guys! Haven't posted in a while, but my latest T room problem has me scratching my head and frustrated beyond belief.

I ducked in late last night to check on everybody before I went to bed, but when I came to my MM P. Regalis' cage, I just about had a heart attack! There was an ENTIRE COLONY of little black ants just cruising around below his substrate. I checked him a few days ago and didn't see a thing.

So today's been spent taking everybody off that particular shelf, pulling the T's in and out, dumping substrate, replacing substrate and dealing with Kevin's mighty colony. They had all congregated below his water dish --queen included--so it felt fitting to give them what they seemed to be after in the first place. With a hose. Little bastards.

Has anyone else had issues with these guys? These little sugar ants have been driving me up a wall by appearing near water sources in my house every so often, but I thought I had them all under control until last night. Also, does anybody know any tarantula-friendly ways to ensure that they don't come back? I'm just glad they popped up on the adult arboreal shelf, and not in my kindergarten shelf! A colony that size could've descimated my slings.

Cheers guys!

I haven't had to deal with ants in my sling enclosures (...yet) but I did have problems with the small black ants in my bedroom as early as November 2016. After reading about mites and ants as pests in The Tarantula Keeper's Guide, I've become extremely paranoid about hypothetical infestations in the substrate. This is one reason why I'm afraid of having more than 7 tarantulas at the moment-all slings-because I could only imagine what it's like for others who keep dozens or hundreds of tarantulas. As addictive as it is to want more, I'll just have to be content with the number of crawly friends I have now. Seven crawly friends is enough thank you very much, don't want hundreds more appearing.
 

Coconana

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
105
Pharaoh Ants have multiple queens which makes them a pain the butt to treat and exterminate. They were probably creating another satellite nest to establish a new colony... The problem with pharaoh ants in an apartment complex (assuming the OP lives in an apartment) is that all surrounding units should be treated as well for the most effective approach at getting rid of them. Also whatever you do, never spray for them or you're just starting war with the little buggers..
I own my own house.. no apartment here. This is actually the first time that I've ever had ant issues. We're closed in on one side by a wetland, so it's bug central.

That's fascinating to hear about the queens! They are a pain in the butt to get rid of though, I will admit.. At least they're out of my T room for now.
 
Top