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Beginner Ant Colonies


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#1 Offline Acutus - Posted April 21 2019 - 6:42 AM

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So I got into this Ant Keeping thing for a few reasons, A. To fulfill life long dream of actually having a working colony queen and all (which until fairly recently I didn't know was possible) B. I run a small Nature Center for a Girl Scout Camp and we already have honey Bees. I thought it would be cool to compare and contrast Bees and Ants as social insects. and C. It's FREAKIN' Cool!!

Everything started this year when while doing Camp stuff I had to move some debris and found some gorgeous large red ants! Later ID'd as Camponotus castaneus. I thought I collected the whole colony but unfortunately there wasn't a queen. :(

Later I came across my current colony of Camponotus chromaiodes queen and all they are currently residing in a Ants Canda Hybrid Camponotus nest! :D

 

I'm located in Maryland, what may be some good ant types to target for another colony? They need to be large enough for kids to see but not necessarily as large as  the Camponotus I currently have.

 

 


  • Enthusiastic_Callow likes this

Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea


#2 Offline EthanNgo678 - Posted April 21 2019 - 7:33 AM

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Lasius, Formica, and maybe Aphaenogaster. 


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#3 Online Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 21 2019 - 2:18 PM

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I'd say Formica, Camponotus, Lasius. In that order. Aphaenogaster are a bit tricky. Their diet is weird too.

Edited by Ant_Dude2908, April 21 2019 - 2:19 PM.


#4 Offline EthanNgo678 - Posted April 21 2019 - 2:54 PM

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I'd say Formica, Camponotus, Lasius. In that order. Aphaenogaster are a bit tricky. Their diet is weird too.

I see your point, thanks for the correction. Although Formica can be quick to eat their eggs during their founding phase, and from my personal experience that factors them out from first place.


Edited by EthanNgo678, April 21 2019 - 3:12 PM.


#5 Offline Manitobant - Posted April 21 2019 - 3:11 PM

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If you want a fast growing species then pick pheidole or tetramorium. Pheidole are cool because they have different sized workers.

Edited by Manitobant, April 21 2019 - 3:13 PM.

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#6 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted April 21 2019 - 3:50 PM

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Crematogaster are nice, but hard to find.

#7 Offline Acutus - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:21 PM

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If you want a fast growing species then pick pheidole or tetramorium. Pheidole are cool because they have different sized workers.

 

Like majors and Super majors?


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea


#8 Offline Acutus - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:24 PM

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Lasius, Formica, and maybe Aphaenogaster. 

 

 

I'd say Formica, Camponotus, Lasius. In that order. Aphaenogaster are a bit tricky. Their diet is weird too.

 

I'll look up Formica species in my area, the Pheidole intrigues me too. :)


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea


#9 Offline Somethinghmm - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:33 PM

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Lasius, Formica, and maybe Aphaenogaster. 

 

 

I'd say Formica, Camponotus, Lasius. In that order. Aphaenogaster are a bit tricky. Their diet is weird too.

 

I'll look up Formica species in my area, the Pheidole intrigues me too. :)

 

Pheidole and Lasius might be too small.


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#10 Online Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:48 PM

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I'd say Formica, Camponotus, Lasius. In that order. Aphaenogaster are a bit tricky. Their diet is weird too.

I see your point, thanks for the correction. Although Formica can be quick to eat their eggs during their founding phase, and from my personal experience that factors them out from first place.

Formica do that to you? I check mine every day. No eggs eaten, ever.
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#11 Offline EthanNgo678 - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:50 PM

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I'd say Formica, Camponotus, Lasius. In that order. Aphaenogaster are a bit tricky. Their diet is weird too.

I see your point, thanks for the correction. Although Formica can be quick to eat their eggs during their founding phase, and from my personal experience that factors them out from first place.

Formica do that to you? I check mine every day. No eggs eaten, ever.

 

Wow



#12 Online Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 21 2019 - 5:10 PM

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Let me correct myself. Raptiformica eat their eggs for me. Never serviformica.

#13 Offline Manitobant - Posted April 21 2019 - 5:14 PM

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If you want a fast growing species then pick pheidole or tetramorium. Pheidole are cool because they have different sized workers.


Like majors and Super majors?
Yes. Tetramorium are much bigger and easier to find though.

Edited by Manitobant, April 21 2019 - 5:14 PM.


#14 Online Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 21 2019 - 5:57 PM

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If you want a fast growing species then pick pheidole or tetramorium. Pheidole are cool because they have different sized workers.


Like majors and Super majors?
Yes. Tetramorium are much bigger and easier to find though.

Depends on which Pheidole you get. Some in my yard are almost twice the size of tetras.

#15 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 21 2019 - 6:27 PM

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Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, but I’ve never seen Pheidole in our highly developed DMV region. I would just focus on the big nuptial flights coming soon. For example, Camponotus will probably fly Tuesday night when we hit 80F. Tetramorium will be everywhere around Fathers’ Day. PM if you are interested in Crematogaster.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#16 Offline Acutus - Posted April 21 2019 - 7:12 PM

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Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, but I’ve never seen Pheidole in our highly developed DMV region. I would just focus on the big nuptial flights coming soon. For example, Camponotus will probably fly Tuesday night when we hit 80F. Tetramorium will be everywhere around Fathers’ Day. PM if you are interested in Crematogaster.

 

Thanks for the tip on Tuesday night! I think I may just try to get some queens. Especially if I can find C. castaneus.   I looked up Pheidole species confirmed on Maryland Biodiversity web and there appear to be some possibilities. Then again actually finding them is the challenge right: :) If nothing else I'll probably get some Tetramorium if for no other reason than the experience. There also appear to be a couple Formica species that may work but I don't want to get any that invade other nests or slave raiding. Sounds a bit too complicated for me right now!


  • Mettcollsuss likes this

Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea


#17 Offline Enthusiastic_Callow - Posted April 22 2019 - 10:34 AM

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Firstly, congrats on starting ant-keeping! It's really fun, ant (oops, i mean and[heh heh]) it provides you with plenty of pets like no other.

 

Some good beginner genera to consider are:

 

Camponotus  Pros: (Large size (usually) for easy and hassle-free detailed observation, polymorphic (meaning that there are different castes of                                           workers [ie. minor, media, major, supermajor... etc], usually not picky eaters (my C. Pennsylvanicus love almost everything i've                                     fed to them) accept a nice range of conditions (heat, humidity, etc...) and are not fussy, and there are so many different species                                     of Camponotus it's amazing, so you're bound to find one or two different ones.)

                      Cons: (Due to large size, colonies grow slowly. Usually, it takes about 1 month for an ant to grow from egg to worker, with these guys it                                    takes around 2 to 2.6 months [highly dependent on species], your parents won't be happy if they escape, as Camponotus are                                        carpenter ants and sometimes tunnel in the wood of a person's home)

 

Tetramorium Pros: (Very quick growth rate and very productive queens, enjoy a wide range of conditions, very hardy, eat a wide variety of foods.                                         These are pavement ants, the ones you see on the sidewalk or in your school eating an old apple or stale bread so happily)

                     Cons: (Pretty small, monomorphic (only one caste of workers))

 

There are plenty others, crematogaster, formica, etc.. (as other members suggested). But these are my top two favorite colonies that I have. I hope this helped


Edited by Enthusiastic_Callow, April 22 2019 - 10:45 AM.

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Colonies: (Max 60/70 workers) 

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus

Lasius sp.

Prenolepis Imparis?

Tetramorium Immigrans x 2

 

Queens:

Lasius sp. (Different species than one above, caught recently)

 

- Not a lot of ants, I know. I don't look for queens anymore, I just stumble upon them (not literally). It's all an amazing learning experience for me! (I still take good care of them, don't worry). But I'm still as busy as an ant!  :) 


#18 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 22 2019 - 11:03 AM

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Let me correct myself. Raptiformica eat their eggs for me. Never serviformica.

 

I need to ask about 2 things...

1. What on earth does this mean?? Rapti and Servi??... Google didn't help me out here
2. Where do you people gather all this "in-depth" knowledge ??


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#19 Online Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 22 2019 - 2:11 PM

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Let me correct myself. Raptiformica eat their eggs for me. Never serviformica.

 
I need to ask about 2 things...
1. What on earth does this mean?? Rapti and Servi??... Google didn't help me out here
2. Where do you people gather all this "in-depth" knowledge ??

Raptiformica are parasitic, often polymorphic, serviformica are the slaves, and sometimes polymorphic. I read this in a book by a famous myrmicologist. I would also watch Attenborough's documentary on Formica rufa.

#20 Offline Acutus - Posted April 22 2019 - 7:38 PM

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Lasius, Formica, and maybe Aphaenogaster. 

 

I looked at aphaenogaster in my area (mostly cause I had no idea what they were lol) and I found a species I think I would love to try one day Aphaenogaster tennesseensis. Looks like they got bright orange gasters! Very cool looking. :)


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea





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