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[Beginner] Start up questions and advice


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4 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Abadayos - Posted January 8 2019 - 2:51 AM

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Good afternoon everyone.

After a 15 year break from ant keeping and forgetting pretty much everything I've known regarding it, though to be fair much has changed in that time anyways, I'm wanting to get back into the hobby. I live in Australia and am going to be getting a Pheidoli sp. and possibly a Camponotus (think it was banded sugar ant? It was only mentioned briefly) queen with some eggs from someone nice and local (literally around the corner, kind of shocking...anyways). Now as a beginner I'm told these are a good starting ant to cut my teeth on even though they are of the smaller variety. I've always loved these ants even though I had no idea what they where called when I was younger and remember them because of the big heads of what I called the soldiers, now I know they are called majors but hey, I was 7 or 8 when I started and now 25 years later, I learned something. I also found out they can have multiple queens which is pretty cool as this was the first time I found out about that and have done some research regarding it, it's pretty fascinating.

now anyways I have some questions that I have been unable to find answers to or that I would just like some more experienced ant keepers to give me their opinions and past experience, so here goes:

As a beginner, do I need to be concerned with my Pheidoli sp. having multiple queens? I'm only wanting to start with 1 queen to get the hang of it all, but besides more rapid growth, what else would happen with a multiple queen colony from a more practical point of view? Should the colony develop, will there be a chance of more queens joining the colony from the inside that I should be aware of or is it only possible at founding? Do Pheidoli 'accept' new/additional queens later in development or are they mostly killed off as they are seen as rivals/intruders?

Starting out I'm going to do what I've been told and keep in a test tube until a good number of workers are present, after that, owing to Pheidoli being so small, what sort of Formicarium should I look into getting them into? I've been reading stuff about 'good' and 'bad' Formicariums in design and material and want to get the 'better' one with the least amount of issues. I've been told the AC ones are good as are the byFormica and Ants Australia. To be honest with all the options out there, I'm confused and would like some guidance as to where to spend my money.

Finally I'm curious if the Australian Pheidoli sp. hibernate or go through bimutation (sp?)? This is something I can't find any information on and I've looked on Wikipedia and AntWiki and if it's there, I've missed it. Anyone from Australia know? I'm assuming yes but clarification would be great. I have seen people saying yes they do but they where always located in US/Canada/Europe/UK where they all havethe large temperature swings from sunny and nice, to snowing, which we don't have here.

Thanks for your help with this and sorry it's a long post with loads of questions. I just want to get onto a good footing for a good start. I'm really looking forward to this and picking up my queen in a week, it's going to be a fun adventure.

EDIT: forgot to mention also getting a Banded Sugar Ant queen with apparently 2 workers and a load of brood, so that's going to be good. I have 'fond' memories of these girls ruining many of my lunch breaks at primary school because I loved how they looked and wanted to poke sticks down their holes. Fun times...fun times

 


Edited by Abadayos, January 8 2019 - 4:12 AM.


#2 Offline CoolColJ - Posted January 8 2019 - 5:05 AM

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I would avoid multiple queens unless the Pheidole species is of the red variety as the black ones will likely banish or kill the extra queens or even all the queens before they reach 100 workers.

I have had this with all my attempts to raise multiple black species queens, and seen the same with others

 

The only species I know that accepts extra queens after the founding stage is Pheidole megacephala, aka Costal brown ant, but these are an invasive species and pests here, so you shouldn't be messing with them.

 

I would just "tub and tubes" for a while until they fill up a few test tube worth of space then decide on a nest.

By then it will be over a year and if you stuck around that long you will know what nest to get :)

Be sure to drill some holes for vinyl tubing to make such a move into a nest in this outworld

 

Ants don't hibernate here but they do slow down over winter due to ants being cold blooded. Eggs don't hatch under 18 degrees. Larvae don't pupate under 22 degrees

 

Don't over think things, you will learn by doing through the first 6 months, and will likely killing a few ants along the way


Edited by CoolColJ, January 8 2019 - 3:35 PM.

  • Abadayos likes this
Current ant colonies -
1) Opisthopsis Rufithorax (strobe ant), Melophorus sp2. black and orange
Pheidole antipodum colonies...  Polyrhachis rufifemur, Camponotus suffusus bendingesis, Camponotus nigriceps, Myrmecia fulvipes, Colobopsis macrocephala
Journal = http://www.formicult...ra-iridomyrmex/

Heterotermes cf brevicatena termite pet/feeder journal = http://www.formicult...feeder-journal/

#3 Offline Manitobant - Posted January 8 2019 - 10:40 AM

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Welcome to the hobby! Australia is an amazing place for antkeepers and there are many ants that can be found nowhere else. You can find queens walking around after nuptial flight or you can search under rocks for small colonies. Here is a list of some good Australian beginner species:

Iridomyrmex sp.

Pheidole sp.

Aphaenogaster longiceps

Camponotus sp.

And once you get more experienced, you can try keeping ants like myrmecia and rhytidoponera. Good luck anting!

#4 Offline Abadayos - Posted January 8 2019 - 2:50 PM

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I would avoid multiple queens unless the Pheidole species is of the red variety as the black ones will likely banish or kill the extra queens or even all the queens before they reach 100 workers.

I have had this with all my attempts to raise multiple black species queens, and seen the same with others

 

The only species I know that accepts extra queens after the founding stage is Pheidole megacephala, aka Costal brown ant, but these are an invasive species and pests here, so you shouldn't be messing with them.

 

I would just "tub and tubes" for a while until they fill up a few test tube worth of space then decide on a nest.

By then it will be over a year and if you stuck aorund that long you will know what nest to get :)

Be sure to drill some holes for vinyl tubing to make such a move into a nest in this outworld

 

Ants don't hibernate here but they do slow down over winter due to ants being cold blooded. Eggs don't hatch under 18 degrees. Larvae don't pupate under 22 degrees

 

Don't over think things, you will learn by doing through the first 6 months, and will likely killing a few ants along the way


Thank you very much that does make a lot of sense. I do agree I was over thinking but I just wanted to be sure and ready, if you know what I mean.

just for some clarification for the 'Tub and Tube' you mention. That's just several test tubes in a small outworld box for them correct? Once they hit a 'critical mass' they are ready to be moved into something bigger? I have a few old tubs that can be used for this and am getting 5 or so test tubes as back ups so I'm assuming that should be fine for this sort of set up. I'll look into how to cut out some holes for future tubing, what drill bits to use, size, gromets etc, I wouldn't of thought of that to be honest and it's a pretty smart idea.

Thanks again to both of you, looking forward to this in the coming weeks



#5 Offline CoolColJ - Posted January 8 2019 - 3:38 PM

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Yes - here is a vid

 

 

 

Infact do watch the Ants Australia play list

It will cover all the basics

 

https://www.youtube....yEYAJVRTSjufRKX


Edited by CoolColJ, January 8 2019 - 3:38 PM.

  • Abadayos likes this
Current ant colonies -
1) Opisthopsis Rufithorax (strobe ant), Melophorus sp2. black and orange
Pheidole antipodum colonies...  Polyrhachis rufifemur, Camponotus suffusus bendingesis, Camponotus nigriceps, Myrmecia fulvipes, Colobopsis macrocephala
Journal = http://www.formicult...ra-iridomyrmex/

Heterotermes cf brevicatena termite pet/feeder journal = http://www.formicult...feeder-journal/




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