Any ant keepers around?

DreamWeaver8

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
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Jun 28, 2011
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As the title says are there any ant keepers around, I haven't seen much activity on the subject. Its been a goal of mine for quite awhile to get an up and running formicarium and any information from people who have done this would be very appreciated.
 

Aquarimax

Arachnoprince
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Mar 1, 2014
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Years ago, I captured four newly mated queens of the same species (I don't know what species it was) and put them into an enclosure. They lived together peacefully for a short while, until one killed all of the others. The surviving queen successfully founded a colony that I kept for several years. The main enclosure was a plastic box from a craft store. I drilled/melted small holes for ventilation, and larger holes to which I attached aquarium airline tubing. To the tubing I attached test tubes, by means of rubber stoppers pierced with plastic or glass tubes that I obtained from the chemistry supply shop at the university. Many of the test tubes contained water and a cotton plug, creating a nice humid spot for the ants in the rest of the tube. Other tubes I left empty. The ants thrived on insects, honey, and bits of human food, and I could see much of what occurred in the colony. I'm not necessarily recommending the method, just sharing my experience on the hope that it can be helpful. :)
 

Schiem

Arachnopeon
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Jul 2, 2016
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If you haven't already, you should check out Ants Canada on youtube, I think that's one of the most extensive resources for ant care that I've come across. Broadly speaking, to start an ant colony from scratch you'll want to catch a newly mated queen and place her in a test tube set up--just a normal test tube half full of water plugged with cotton.

Once you have your test tube set up, you'll want to leave it alone for a month or so, only checking on it once/week. When your queen has a few workers, you can give them an out world--basically, attach the test tube to an environment where the workers can go forage for food that you give them (sugar water and a source of protein, usually feeder insects).

Finally, once your queen has 20+ workers, it's time for the formicarium. You can attach the formicarium to the outworld and the ants should move into it themselves.

Those are the basic steps to get you started, but there's a ton more information out there about each one, like how to build a formicarium, outworld, what/when to feed them, etc., and a lot of it comes down to species of ant and personal preference. Best of luck!
 

Malhavoc's

Arachnoking
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Jul 12, 2003
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There is a few of us in the wood work; I've actually been having issues with malformed workers lately that I have been trying to figure out the cause for.
 

DreamWeaver8

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Messages
132
Thanks for the info everyone. My biggest problem is just finding a queen so I can start a colony. The only one I've ever seen or found walked right past me at my girlfriends place about a month and a half ago but because of her hate for ants she would not allow me to keep it in a vial overnight and made me flush it :( I'm still salty about it to this day...
 

Malhavoc's

Arachnoking
Old Timer
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Jul 12, 2003
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Thanks for the info everyone. My biggest problem is just finding a queen so I can start a colony. The only one I've ever seen or found walked right past me at my girlfriends place about a month and a half ago but because of her hate for ants she would not allow me to keep it in a vial overnight and made me flush it :( I'm still salty about it to this day...

Try going for walks early morning and late nights, carpenters will fly most of the summer though it is getting a bit late in the season for them.
 

DreamWeaver8

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Messages
132
I actually just found one!! I set up the whole test tube water thing, Ill update in a few days!
 

Malhavoc's

Arachnoking
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I actually just found one!! I set up the whole test tube water thing, Ill update in a few days!
Awesome,

Now the hardest part of ant keeping, Put it on a shelf and forget about it, depending on species this could anywhere from a few weeks to a few months letting them on their own, My queen this year took I think 50 ish days (carpenter queen) unfortunatly up here things are finally starting to cool and activity is beginning to drop
 
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