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Hobbyist Ant Keeping Myths


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#41 Offline Antsinmycloset - Posted April 13 2017 - 6:09 PM

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I keep ants because I enjoy watching them and making photographs of them. What I do isn't science.

 

In my opinion the mixture of Myrmecology and ant keeping is frustrating for both sides and a thing you don't see in most pet owner communities. Most of the the stuff ant keepers write about is irrelevant for Myrmecology and most of the papers Myrmecologists publish are irrelevant for ant keeping.

You see people fighting like this fairly often in communities for uncommon pets.

One of my favorite "issues" is if you can keep chameleons in a glass cage. It sounds so obvious, but people will argue about it for ages.


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#42 Offline Aaron567 - Posted April 13 2017 - 6:15 PM

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yall funny

#43 Offline Jaaron - Posted April 13 2017 - 6:35 PM

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To start I will address a consistent part of your post which is that you have incorrectly determined that I am arguing for an unrealistic and absurd application of exhaustive scientific definition and explanation for literally every singe statement made in any context and at all times on any subject. I am not doing this, you are very mistaken, and so I will ignore the parts of your post where you are criticizing my argument on this basis (which is in a lot of places). 

 

I made no such determination or assertion.

 

These techniques can be at best a waste of time and at worst actively detrimental. 

 

I'd argue that these techniques could be at best effective, until demonstrated otherwise.

 

The problem with them doing this without higher standards is that it has the potential to generate very bad advice that never gets corrected by information from reality.

 

That which is very bad advice tends to consistently have very bad results, which leads to self-correction even if not at the pace or vigor you'd prefer. That which is not very bad advice is probably harmless and inconsequential.

 

 That you chose to pick it apart and assume that I am indeed committing this fallacy rather than asking for clarification before making your judgement to an inconsequential series of twelve words indicates that rather than attempting to engage with the subject at hand you have instead decided to ungenerously  assign to me a deficit in basic reasoning skills. 

 

If you'd prefer not to be assigned a deficit in basic reasoning skills, don't so thoroughly demonstrate one. 

 

While it is undeniable that ants and most organisms are as you say susceptible to parasites and disease, there is no evidence that various types of unprocessed media pose an actual threat to a captive ant colony. 

 

The need is demonstrated by the mere potential for the presence of parasites and disease. <- basic reasoning skills

 

Firstly I am not claiming that these myths are formed by short term enthusiasts, just that they are propagated by short term enthusiasts who cite no evidence and provide only useless anecdotes in support of them. 

 

Which is what I said you said. 

 

I have no idea about other language communities as I don't speak any other languages to a sufficient degree of fluency to make any judgments and as such I have chosen not to do so. 

I am not claiming that most natural ant colonies survive the full duration of a queen's potential lifespan, nor am I claiming that most captive colonies would survive that full duration either. 

 

Have you considered evaluating your unintentionally implicit framing and language?

 

Redundant.

 

No it isn't. 

 

 I am claiming that there is a startling lack of long term journals or other documentation showing that English speaking hobbyists have even a single time managed to raise a colony from a queen of any species under any conditions from colony creation to an age where based on data gathered from the lifespans of wild colonies you could make a fair case that the queen had managed to live to an age that could be considered the natural lifespan of that species. 

 

And I'm arguing that the potential lifespan of a given species is hardly indicative of the mean or average, and that we lack that kind of data for an appropriate comparison. Just because a queen of a given species has the potential to live for 20-30 years, you can't argue this is a fair reflection of life expectancy for comparison between wild and captive queens. 

 

You accuse me of committing logical fallacies but nearly your entire post was dedicated to blowing down strawmen. You claim that my argument is built without science but you fail to understand that the burden of proof for a claim (such as an technique being effective) is on the claimant, not the person doubting the claim. You say you support arguments built on science, but I suggest that you spend more time supporting your own personal development of reading comprehension. 

 

I understand your claim to be that practices built on the anectdotal consensus of the ant keeping community are dubious at best without better vetting and the application of some simple scientific principles. I'd wager that such a claim can be substantiated and there was potential for meeting the burden of proof for such a claim. Put simply, I'm arguing that your assertions failed to support your claim. 

 



#44 Offline Formicarius - Posted April 14 2017 - 3:12 AM

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I keep ants because I enjoy watching them and making photographs of them. What I do isn't science.

 

In my opinion the mixture of Myrmecology and ant keeping is frustrating for both sides and a thing you don't see in most pet owner communities. Most of the the stuff ant keepers write about is irrelevant for Myrmecology and most of the papers Myrmecologists publish are irrelevant for ant keeping.

You see people fighting like this fairly often in communities for uncommon pets.

One of my favorite "issues" is if you can keep chameleons in a glass cage. It sounds so obvious, but people will argue about it for ages.

 

 

Honestly I can think of a few communities for uncommon pets but in none of them I have seen such drama as in ant keeping. Like Barristan implied there needs to be a clear cut between Mymecology and hobbyist ant keeping.

Particularly in the german ant keeping community things have become pretty toxic thanks to a few certain individuals that try to stir up drama between those two groups whenever they can.


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#45 Offline sgheaton - Posted April 14 2017 - 5:16 AM

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It's really hard to trust strangers on the internet, so it really is the only way to handle this problem.

 

I totally agree. I've got some candy in my van here.... Why don't you come on in and we can have a discussion. 


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#46 Offline drtrmiller - Posted April 14 2017 - 6:02 AM

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Another one is that every mite species is a ravenous, hemolymph-thirsty vampire, just waiting for the chance the suck your ants dry.

In reality, most mites are highly specialized, with many being completely harmless detrivores. Even such, some mite species that hitch rides on ants may not actually be feeding from them, and may reduce in population with small changes to the environment.
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#47 Offline Serafine - Posted April 14 2017 - 6:16 AM

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There's also the ones like the big red velvet mites which suck on bigger arthropods during the larval stage (usually not enough to actually kill them) but then become fully autonomous predators of smaller arthropods (not sure if they even cling to ants but they do to spiders).


We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

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#48 Offline Jelly - Posted April 14 2017 - 8:37 AM

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Has nobody heard of the taste test!?  :lol:



#49 Offline Reacker - Posted April 14 2017 - 8:14 PM

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This thread has run it's course. As there has been enough time for me to elaborate on the poorly conveyed components of my message, and additionally to provide my own counter points to any objections that arose to my message, I would like to clarify one last idea before moving on from this discussion. Please bear with me as I explain myself in excruciating, laborious and potentially repetitive detail. 

 

As ant keepers our goal is to learn what conditions ants need to thrive , and then how to replicate those conditions in captivity so that our ants can similarly thrive and proceed through a normal life cycle with as little negative effects to their well being from the conditions of captivity as is possible. The way that we learn what these conditions of colony success are is to observe ants in their natural habitat and make our best guess as to what procedures to enact in the construction and maintenance of the artificial environments that we create for our captive colonies. We use feedback in the form of colony survival and behavior to act as checks on our guesses so that when necessary we can modify our artificial environments with the intent of ameliorating the short comings of our previous methods.This is a process of iterative improvement of the theories of ant keeping. These theories are initially formed from a combination of existing knowledge and critical thinking on the part of the hobbyists, and they are improved as new information in the form of ant keeping experience is processed by additional critical thinking. 

 

What does this process remind you of? Science, of course!

 

Both the process that I have described and the principles of the scientific method are one and the same; the difference between hobbyist technique iteration and competently executed scientific research is the expectation of compliance to the continuously improved systematic procedures that the continual advancement of our civilization has been dependent on for the last half millennia. These systematic procedures include the obsessive documentation of both the methods and results of experiments that are carefully designed to gather evidence in support or rejection of hypothesis that are themselves carefully designed to expand on existing knowledge by providing evidence for proposed but undiscovered naturalistic properties, or to otherwise explain the existence of previously observed phenomenon that are not fully understood. 

 

It is undeniable that these strict procedures are extremely effective in generating correct theories to explain and manipulate the components and rules of the universe that we live in. It is also obvious ( I would hope) that ants and ant keepers are part of the universe and as the domain of science encompasses the observable universe ant keeping is an appropriate domain to apply the scientific method. In applying the scientific method to the techniques of ant keeping we can harness to our purposes the same level of efficacy in perfecting our skills that the scientific method has provided in all of the other domains that it is applied. 

 

Now that I have set the appropriate ground work I can finally get to my point. When I propose that even the most casual hobbyist ant keepers should hold themselves to more rigorous standards such that they should aspire to be more scientific in their practice of ant keeping there are those of you that reject this notion because you believe that scientific practice is a distinct type of behavior that is exclusively reserved and performed by those that call themselves scientists, and that the only utility to be gained by this practice is similarly reserved and employed only by self-described professional scientists towards the generation of yet more scientific practice. This is not true. The scientific method is at heart a simple process that can be used by anyone with a working mind to efficiently generate accurate explanatory theories in whatever domain it is applied to. If we desire to become the best ant keepers we can be, it benefits us to employ the scientific method as much as we can even if the best we are able to do is to take simple measurements with simple tools that everyone has around their house. When we pass around unvetted techniques and perform poorly designed experiments (as in, attempting to employ those unvetted techniques in sloppy ways with similarly sloppy reporting of results) we deny ourselves the benefits of the scientific method when we could otherwise gain those benefits by employing such simple measures as using the clocks, thermometers, and our innate powers of observation that everyone has available to them. 

 

Those of you who are incapable of understanding why our community failures in this regard are a bad thing are hopeless and deserve all of the poor results and wastes of time that you endure as a result of following unvetted advice and then proceeding to disregard the opportunity thus created to assist the community in improving that advice by cheaply and easily reporting your results to a useful degree of detail. 


Edited by Reacker, April 14 2017 - 8:20 PM.

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#50 Offline thosaka - Posted April 14 2017 - 8:42 PM

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I have an idea. Why don't we have Drew make you in charge of the scientific division of this forum. The forum will have a scientific report section where all scientific reports posted there will require an official seal of validation signed by you and Drew. Any scientific reports with such seal have undergone testing using a scientific method with procedures underlined by you and Drew. This could go a long way.

#51 Offline drtrmiller - Posted April 14 2017 - 8:44 PM

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[Censored]

Edited by drtrmiller, April 14 2017 - 8:45 PM.

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#52 Offline Reacker - Posted April 14 2017 - 9:16 PM

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I have an idea. Why don't we have Drew make you in charge of the scientific division of this forum. The forum will have a scientific report section where all scientific reports posted there will require an official seal of validation signed by you and Drew. Any scientific reports with such seal have undergone testing using a scientific method with procedures underlined by you and Drew. This could go a long way.

 

That would be an incredibly laborious process that I have neither the will, interest, nor the qualifications to undertake. This is an appeal to the members of the community to hold themselves in higher regard for their own mutual benefit; this is not an appeal for the creation of a central scientific hub of formiculturist knowledge approved by a council of anointed members. 



#53 Offline Reacker - Posted April 14 2017 - 9:23 PM

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https://translate.go...591&prev=search

 

Directly related discussion of this topic on a German forum. Though the conversation is brief there is an interesting expansion of the discussion on the Bhakter diet that is worth reading. 

 

Edit: I will also say that Google Translate has improved dramatically in the last 10 years. 


Edited by Reacker, April 14 2017 - 9:27 PM.


#54 Offline Barristan - Posted April 14 2017 - 9:58 PM

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Those of you who are incapable of understanding why our community failures in this regard are a bad thing are hopeless and deserve all of the poor results and wastes of time that you endure as a result of following unvetted advice and then proceeding to disregard the opportunity thus created to assist the community in improving that advice by cheaply and easily reporting your results to a useful degree of detail.

 

 

My colonies do fine even without over complicating ant keeping. I not even use thermometers anymore so what should I measure exactly? Most ant species are easy to keep don't make rocket science out of ant keeping. And if you prefer a more scientific approach to ant keeping, well fine it's your time your hobby but you shouldn't try to enforce upon others. Do you have any evidence that doing ant keeping the way you do it positive effect on the success of the colonies you keep?

 

Ant keeping community would be more friendly, harmonic if people stopped enforcing their way of doing the hobby on others.


Edited by Barristan, April 14 2017 - 10:01 PM.


#55 Offline Tyrael - Posted April 15 2017 - 7:44 AM

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  • You should bake/boil/sterilize wild media before introducing it to your ants. There are many examples of people doing this and advocating for its usage, but I haven't seen anyone do a detailed comparison of raw and cooked media in otherwise similar conditions. 
  • Do insects need to be frozen/boiled/sterilized before feeding them to captive ants? Lots of people claiming to do this and advocating for it, but no one providing results from trials where they tried this for some colonies and not for others.

 

 

 

My list of things ant keepers say without having any prove:

  • Feeding ants insects from outside is dangerous
  • Processed food is dangerous for ants
  • Spices are dangerous for ants

 

I would say these are personal differences in risk avoidance behaviour rather than myths. I have no ant keeping experience yet, but why not put a little more effort in to reduce risk towards the colony?

 

  • Sterilizing media reduces the likelihood of introducing unwanted microbes into your setup.
  • Freezing/sterilizing may kill potential pathogens.
  • Wild insects may have been exposed to chemicals that may harm the ants. The insect may have a higher tolerance for the chemical than the ants do, or frequent feedings of contaminated insects may accumulate detrimental chemicals in your ant colony.
  • The additives in processed food may have an unforeseen effect on ants. 
  • For spices, same as above. 

Will your colony collapse if you don't do these things? Maybe. Maybe not. Why not err on the side of caution? If you are keeping ants like pets you should attempt to reduce the variables that may kill them. If you're doing experiments to test these "myths", that's different. You are asking the reason why to do these things. I ask you why not do them? If you're keeping them like pets, look at it this way: Why feed wild insects instead of cultured insects you know are safe? Because it's free? More convenient? Say you have a dog. You live near a dog food factory. They make a batch of dog food but discard it. Like wild insects, you don't know whether or not it is contaminated. Is it more reasonable to go to the factory and take all the discarded dog food or to drive twice the distance and purchase food that is highly likely to be safe? Likewise, it is common knowledge that foods such as chocolate are fatal for dogs. Assume for this scenario that this is not the case; nobody knows that it is harmful. If it's safe for humans it must be safe for the dog, right? What about grapes? It's just a fruit. They aren't processed. They kill the dog too. Why attempt to feed the dog chocolate or grapes when it is content and healthy with dog food? 

 

We do need better data to make better decisions on this matter. However, from a hobbyist perspective, I would argue in favour of caution until we have hard data from a large and carefully controlled professional study.


Edited by Tyrael, April 15 2017 - 7:47 AM.


#56 Offline Jaaron - Posted April 15 2017 - 9:37 AM

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Those of you who are incapable of understanding why our community failures in this regard are a bad thing are hopeless and deserve all of the poor results and wastes of time that you endure as a result of following unvetted advice and then proceeding to disregard the opportunity thus created to assist the community in improving that advice by cheaply and easily reporting your results to a useful degree of detail. 

So casual hobbyists that don't accept your unconfirmed claim that the community fails in this regard all deserve failure and disappointment in the pursuit of their hobby because they don't practice their hobby to your standards? 

 

 

That would be an incredibly laborious process that I have neither the will, interest, nor the qualifications to undertake. This is an appeal to the members of the community to hold themselves in higher regard for their own mutual benefit; this is not an appeal for the creation of a central scientific hub of formiculturist knowledge approved by a council of anointed members. 

 

 Oh, so it's okay for you to declare the extent of your will and interest, but everyone else should up their game to meet your preference rather than participate in their hobby at a level they personally enjoy? Even if everyone could or would comply with your expectations, someone would still have to collect, vet, and consolidate the information in a manner that makes it useful. Otherwise, you're left with scattered but valuable nuggets of information that become useful only to those few willing to scrutinize every post on every topic of every forum, and consensus continues to form at its existing pace. If you aren't even willing to participate in an effort to make new information actually useful, then who are you to impose your standards on anyone else? That said, at least you're mildly entertaining.


Edited by Jaaron, April 15 2017 - 10:05 AM.

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#57 Offline anttics - Posted January 10 2018 - 10:52 AM

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Maybe we should do a topic regarding proven facts. that are true with some scientific method, or common knowledge. like ants need heat, and moisture etc.. as a base. and another with maybe this helps facts. I would write it unfortunately do not have the experience. Nurbs and drew I think might have something to contribute.

Edited by anttics, January 10 2018 - 10:57 AM.


#58 Offline Skwiggledork - Posted January 12 2018 - 1:54 AM

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This post really intrigues me, and I want to help sift fact from fiction, but what would count as a sufficient sample size to start being scientific rather than anecdotal? For example one of the posts said something to the effect of does 2 queens make the colony grow twice as fast. That seems like one of the easier one to prove/disprove. But how many colonies would you need to raise and for how long? I don't know how many colonies I could catch in one place at one time, but as far as physical space to keep them and funds to care for them, I don't know if I could do more than 10-20 and to me that doesn't sound like enough.    



#59 Offline Antking117 - Posted January 12 2018 - 4:30 AM

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I do not freeze any of the insects i feed to my ants, any of them. I also do not sterilize anything because I am a lazy cuck and have not lost a colony from anything but my pure arrogance and just dud queens. My queens are not especially in lightness or darkness. if the lights are on then they are in the light if not then they are in the dark. I put them right on my computer desk (where i constantly am). I highly doubt it matters where they are as long as you feed the ants and keep them at the correct humidity and temperature and provide ample room. I am just a child with ants though xD



#60 Offline Kevin - Posted January 12 2018 - 7:22 AM

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Please, let's not resurface this thread.

Hit "Like This" if it helped.





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