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Ant Keeping & the Law (USA)

ant trade usda shipping ants buy queen ant permits ant keeping laws regulations united states

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#1 Offline Miles - Posted May 10 2019 - 9:36 AM

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Ant Keeping and the Law: have you ever wondered about the laws that affect ant keeping in the United States? This guide, produced in coordination with the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Program, is intended to introduce you to the basics about transporting ants across state lines, obtaining permits, and collecting ants legally.

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Hi, I'm Miles! I study ants, environmental science, political science, and science communication at Montana State University in Bozeman. I've been keeping ants for nearly a decade and I'm passionate about conservation and public service.

 

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#2 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 10 2019 - 11:11 AM

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With all due respect, your document is mostly a fallacious appeal to authority that does little to actually explain the law beyond merely saying that "fire ants do bad things, so therefore these government agencies exist and they say transporting any and all ants between states is illegal."

 

For example, the Secretary of Agriculture may have determined that all Formicidae fall under the act.  But because of the Constitutional mechanism called due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments, the onus is also on the US Department of Agriculture to prove the possibility of harm exists under the strictest of scrutiny during prosecution of persons under the statute—they cannot prosecute someone simply because the Secretary observes that all ants are plant pests!  Consequently, it would be a stretch to the extreme for prosecution to occur related to transport of ants in the genus Odontomachus, for example, which are strictly carnivorous and lack the tools to cause meaningful damage to plants or plant products, unless they fall under a non-PPA statute, in which case the Lacey Act may apply.  But they are Formicidae!  What if they eat a bee that was pollinating a plant!?

 

If you were an active member of this community, you would have likely come across any of the countless explanations and corrections I have offered on the topic, which are far more insightful and nuanced than the glossy PDF you offered here.  This topic has been beat to death so many times, I fear more Formiculture forum goers will grow up aspiring to be USDA enforcement officers than entomologists.

 

In short, you should search the forums and read my past writings on the application of the statute.  Your PDF could be much improved if you removed the "the state says it's bad and the state is wonderful" schtick and actually parsed the applicable laws for yourself to convey a more dissective approach to communication of this rabidly misunderstood topic.


Edited by drtrmiller, May 10 2019 - 11:18 AM.

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#3 Offline Miles - Posted May 10 2019 - 12:37 PM

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This document is not intended to be an in-depth explanation of the law, a critique of the Secretary's exercise of powers, or an affront to the work you've done to uncover more information about federal programs relating to ants. I have seen your posts and have let them stand on their own. 

 

As stated previously, this document serves as a basic primer for what regulatory powers the federal government claims to have over the transportation of ants across state lines. This document summarizes the basic facts relating to this issue, which are not widely understood. It does not discuss the merits of the law or particular issues with the plant-pest claim. Nor should it. People interested in the in-and-outs of the law are welcome to read through your posts about the issue. The fact remains - USDA's PPQ considers all ants as plant pests unless stated otherwise and they may exercise their powers to enforce that interpretation. You are welcome to challenge it, but I won't encourage people to get themselves into that situation.

 

You've mistaken a one page primer for amateur ant keepers as a legal brief.


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Hi, I'm Miles! I study ants, environmental science, political science, and science communication at Montana State University in Bozeman. I've been keeping ants for nearly a decade and I'm passionate about conservation and public service.

 

Website | YouTube Channel


#4 Offline Acutus - Posted May 10 2019 - 1:03 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!


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#5 Offline VenomousBeast - Posted May 10 2019 - 2:40 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!

Haha, why is this both funny and accurate?


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-Haden Lee
Keeps:

NATIVE: Crematogaster sp -16  Formica palledefulva-1  Stigmatomma pallipes-7  Formica integra-1  Camponotus casteanus-1  Tetramorium immigrans-1  

NON-NATIVE: Solenopsis invicta- 2 Atta texana-2-3

 

 

Hornets: Dolichovespula maculata-1 (Bald faced hornets-self raised from queen, over 300 workers now!)


#6 Offline Acutus - Posted May 10 2019 - 2:44 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!

Haha, why is this both funny and accurate?

 

 

Because until the Sheople wake up and realize that they have the power all anyone can do is laugh.


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Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

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Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva


#7 Offline VenomousBeast - Posted May 10 2019 - 3:44 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!

Haha, why is this both funny and accurate?

 

 

Because until the Sheople wake up and realize that they have the power all anyone can do is laugh.

 

Haha, so true! 


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-Haden Lee
Keeps:

NATIVE: Crematogaster sp -16  Formica palledefulva-1  Stigmatomma pallipes-7  Formica integra-1  Camponotus casteanus-1  Tetramorium immigrans-1  

NON-NATIVE: Solenopsis invicta- 2 Atta texana-2-3

 

 

Hornets: Dolichovespula maculata-1 (Bald faced hornets-self raised from queen, over 300 workers now!)


#8 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted May 10 2019 - 5:20 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!


This is the best and most accurate thing I've heard all day! People need to realize that the government serves the people, not the other way around!!!
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#9 Offline Acutus - Posted May 10 2019 - 5:57 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!


This is the best and most accurate thing I've heard all day! People need to realize that the government serves the people, not the other way around!!!

 

 

The VERY SAD truth though is people are too lazy to protect their rights and just want the govt to take care of them.


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Billy

 

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Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva


#10 Offline Reacker - Posted May 10 2019 - 6:29 PM

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Pretty used to the Federal Government claiming a lot of powers they think they have and don't!

Haha, why is this both funny and accurate?

 

 

Because until the Sheople wake up and realize that they have the power all anyone can do is laugh.

 

 

You're so woke.


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#11 Offline thosaka - Posted May 10 2019 - 6:47 PM

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What is with all the kerfuffle? The PDF says follow the law. Just follow it? Easy.



#12 Offline Antking117 - Posted May 10 2019 - 6:52 PM

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Here we go again, stating the obvious. Those who do not realize what is right and wrong by now never will, or just do not care. We can inform until we are blue in the face but it will go no where because people will do what they want to do. We can enforce here on the forum and try to do the right thing, but pick your battles I believe.



#13 Offline Barristan - Posted May 11 2019 - 2:48 AM

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It is funny if non scientists are mainly affected, you should accept the law and try not to change it, but this changes suddenly if scientists are affected by law too, then they want your help building up pressure to change the law... See: http://www.formicult...usly-important/


Edited by Barristan, May 11 2019 - 2:50 AM.

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#14 Offline Acutus - Posted May 11 2019 - 5:52 AM

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Just to be clear, My comments were directed more towards government than this particular law.

While I do feel that laws that cover things with a blanket are generally not good laws. I also understand the concern the law is trying to address.

 

The permit system that is setup doesn't seem unreasonable (unless the Government makes it impossible to get or makes the waiting period to issue a permit excessively long) Honestly, ant keepers are few and far between so WE weren't really anything that needed to be considered when the law was made.

 

I have to admit I am a little surprised that the Ant thing seems so serious but today I will pick up Non-native Honey Bees that originated in North Carolina to start two new Bee Colonies. they don't seem to be as concerned with Affricanized Honey Bees as they are with Fire Ants.

 

Look at some of the ecological damage that has been done by hobbyists in the past. Iguanas and Burmese Pythons in Fla. for example.


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Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva


#15 Offline nikkubus - Posted May 11 2019 - 8:08 AM

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Look at some of the ecological damage that has been done by hobbyists in the past. Iguanas and Burmese Pythons in Fla. for example.

Oh that is an off topic can of worms there. Suffice it to say, the people pushing hard for legislation, no matter what species of animal, have no idea what they are talking about or are intentionally misleading the public with sensational propaganda with little to no actual science behind it.

*shrugs* Mother nature will always self-correct. While species becoming extinct really is unpleasant for humans that like to study them, evolution is just nature, and despite human involvement causing an expedient process in some cases, it is what it is. I laugh at people getting worked up about "damaging local wildlife" thinking humans have any REAL impact in the big picture to anything in nature at all. The govt is way out of line imho trying to dictate normal people who have not yet caused a problem on an individual basis because ants traveled over with humans (unknowingly) ages ago. Do they have anything to show that hurt anything besides weaker ant species being overrun, or anything showing ant hobbyists could have an impact past what was done unintentionally already just by human travel? 


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#16 Offline thosaka - Posted May 13 2019 - 6:29 PM

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I like how Miles is just trying to be kind by going out of his way to show what the law is. He’s not debating about anything. All of a sudden, someone begins with “With all due respect,” yet, in a way, “lights his thread on fire,” by saying we need a more dissective approach to communication. The PDF keeps it short, simple, and to the point. Any longer and the general may not be interested in reading it. Not to mention, many of the readers will be young. The messenger always gets killed.

#17 Offline Leo - Posted May 14 2019 - 1:18 AM

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haHaaahaha I'm not in the USA XD


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#18 Offline VenomousBeast - Posted May 14 2019 - 9:37 AM

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Look at some of the ecological damage that has been done by hobbyists in the past. Iguanas and Burmese Pythons in Fla. for example.

Oh that is an off topic can of worms there. Suffice it to say, the people pushing hard for legislation, no matter what species of animal, have no idea what they are talking about or are intentionally misleading the public with sensational propaganda with little to no actual science behind it.

*shrugs* Mother nature will always self-correct. While species becoming extinct really is unpleasant for humans that like to study them, evolution is just nature, and despite human involvement causing an expedient process in some cases, it is what it is. I laugh at people getting worked up about "damaging local wildlife" thinking humans have any REAL impact in the big picture to anything in nature at all. The govt is way out of line imho trying to dictate normal people who have not yet caused a problem on an individual basis because ants traveled over with humans (unknowingly) ages ago. Do they have anything to show that hurt anything besides weaker ant species being overrun, or anything showing ant hobbyists could have an impact past what was done unintentionally already just by human travel? 

 

This is literally the BEST thing I've seen all year!! This statement itself reminds me of a book called "A New Wild" by Fred Pearce and I strongly suggest anyone to read this book. It provides a new prospective of government and propaganda based on the environment.  


Edited by VenomousBeast, May 14 2019 - 10:09 AM.


-Haden Lee
Keeps:

NATIVE: Crematogaster sp -16  Formica palledefulva-1  Stigmatomma pallipes-7  Formica integra-1  Camponotus casteanus-1  Tetramorium immigrans-1  

NON-NATIVE: Solenopsis invicta- 2 Atta texana-2-3

 

 

Hornets: Dolichovespula maculata-1 (Bald faced hornets-self raised from queen, over 300 workers now!)


#19 Offline Serafine - Posted May 14 2019 - 10:02 PM

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If you want to get an idea of what invasive ant species can do look at what yellow Yellow Crazy Ants and Electric Ants are causing to the pacific area. Anoplolepis gracilipes has wiped out entire bird populations from coastal areas of islands by making it virtually impossible for chicks to reach maturity - the ants' relentless acid attacks cause the bird chicks to get sick and as a result they often turn out unable to fly, these ants also almost managed to wipe out the Christmas Island's iconic red crabs (and they would do so if there weren't people fighting them). Wasmannia auropunctata is know for utterly smashing spider populations into oblivion which leads to vastly increased population of flies, pest insects and mosquitoes.

European wasps even almost managed to collapse the entirety of New Zealand's ecosystem because they were so ridiculously effective at collecting aphid honeydew that they managed to starve out pretty much any other species in the food chain. We can't even imagine what certain leafcutter species would do if introduced to asian/oceanic tropical forest areas.

 

Yes, nature does it's thing. Yes, nature doesn't need every species of ant, fly, mosquito, spider or crab. But neither does nature need us nor the ecosystems we require to sustain ourselves. Many insects have a tremendous effect on the ecosystems they're a part of, often shaping and preserving those systems, being integral to their existence. The extinction of just a few key species can cause a domino effect leading to the collapse of a wood ecosystem and starting it's transition to a grassland or even wasteland.

It is in our very own interest to preserve the ecosystems we live in. This is even more important as we still have no idea what is the deal with the MASSIVE overall global decline of insect populations and if we're right now causing runaway effects on our planet that will continue to spiral out of control potentially turning Earth uninhabitable for our future generations.


Edited by Serafine, May 15 2019 - 1:11 AM.

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#20 Offline ponerinecat - Posted May 29 2019 - 10:37 AM

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Look at some of the ecological damage that has been done by hobbyists in the past. Iguanas and Burmese Pythons in Fla. for example.

Oh that is an off topic can of worms there. Suffice it to say, the people pushing hard for legislation, no matter what species of animal, have no idea what they are talking about or are intentionally misleading the public with sensational propaganda with little to no actual science behind it.

*shrugs* Mother nature will always self-correct. While species becoming extinct really is unpleasant for humans that like to study them, evolution is just nature, and despite human involvement causing an expedient process in some cases, it is what it is. I laugh at people getting worked up about "damaging local wildlife" thinking humans have any REAL impact in the big picture to anything in nature at all. The govt is way out of line imho trying to dictate normal people who have not yet caused a problem on an individual basis because ants traveled over with humans (unknowingly) ages ago. Do they have anything to show that hurt anything besides weaker ant species being overrun, or anything showing ant hobbyists could have an impact past what was done unintentionally already just by human travel? 

 

 

 

If you want to get an idea of what invasive ant species can do look at what yellow Yellow Crazy Ants and Electric Ants are causing to the pacific area. Anoplolepis gracilipes has wiped out entire bird populations from coastal areas of islands by making it virtually impossible for chicks to reach maturity - the ants' relentless acid attacks cause the bird chicks to get sick and as a result they often turn out unable to fly, these ants also almost managed to wipe out the Christmas Island's iconic red crabs (and they would do so if there weren't people fighting them). Wasmannia auropunctata is know for utterly smashing spider populations into oblivion which leads to vastly increased population of flies, pest insects and mosquitoes.

European wasps even almost managed to collapse the entirety of New Zealand's ecosystem because they were so ridiculously effective at collecting aphid honeydew that they managed to starve out pretty much any other species in the food chain. We can't even imagine what certain leafcutter species would do if introduced to asian/oceanic tropical forest areas.

 

Yes, nature does it's thing. Yes, nature doesn't need every species of ant, fly, mosquito, spider or crab. But neither does nature need us nor the ecosystems we require to sustain ourselves. Many insects have a tremendous effect on the ecosystems they're a part of, often shaping and preserving those systems, being integral to their existence. The extinction of just a few key species can cause a domino effect leading to the collapse of a wood ecosystem and starting it's transition to a grassland or even wasteland.

It is in our very own interest to preserve the ecosystems we live in. This is even more important as we still have no idea what is the deal with the MASSIVE overall global decline of insect populations and if we're right now causing runaway effects on our planet that will continue to spiral out of control potentially turning Earth uninhabitable for our future generations.

you both have a point. while in the long term what we do will probably be pointless, as nature has the ability to recover from incredibly harsh conditions. However, in the short term, we are a tremendous influence, destroying and halfheartedly attempting to fix our mistakes. While it will recover, it destroys many unique organisms and relationships, as well as many habitats and microhabitats within those habitats, and so on.


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