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Freeplug - solution for free ranging ant colonies.


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#1 Offline Subverted - Posted August 4 2017 - 11:26 AM

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There are a few genera of ants where there is a drastic difference in size between the average workers and the queens. For some of these it can be quite entertaining (in my opinion) to allow colonies to have the ability to explore and roam around wherever they feel like but obviously the queen must be kept contained.

Here is my solution:



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You can drill out the small hole in the center of the plug to whatever size is appropriate for your ants. These use a 1/2in OD x 5/16in ID x 3/32in thick o-ring to provide sealing and hold the plug in a 16mm diameter test tube.

Here is where you can download the STL file and print them yourself: https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

Again...these are designed for 16mm glass test tubes! You may be able to scale them up or down for other sizes but you will have to experiment with exact dimensions.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Edited by Subverted, August 4 2017 - 12:22 PM.

My ants | My free feeder design | Freeplug - free range your ants

Make your own mold/fungus/bacteria resistant test tube water! Don't get ripped off! Read my simple guide: http://www.formicult...-simple-how-to/

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." - Isaac Asimov


#2 Offline Serafine - Posted August 4 2017 - 11:31 AM

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This is NOT a good idea.

I actually know people who had the same idea and ran into serious issues with this. Ants aren't very smart - if they want to move and the queen doesn't fit they'll do the next logical step and will MAKE her fit, even if that means dismembering her.


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#3 Offline Subverted - Posted August 4 2017 - 11:34 AM

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This is NOT a good idea.
I actually know people who had the same idea and ran into serious issues with this. Ants aren't very smart - if they want to move and the queen doesn't fit they'll do the next logical step and will MAKE her fit, even if that means dismembering her.


I'm not saying its any better than any other way of keeping ants, just that its something I personally find interesting. :) My Liometopum occidentale colonies were doing great (over 100 workers each) when argentine ants invaded them so this certainly isn't a foolproof thing...but I didn't say it was.
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My ants | My free feeder design | Freeplug - free range your ants

Make your own mold/fungus/bacteria resistant test tube water! Don't get ripped off! Read my simple guide: http://www.formicult...-simple-how-to/

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." - Isaac Asimov


#4 Offline Aquaexploder - Posted August 5 2017 - 4:17 AM

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Lol the video that Ants Canada posted featured one of his new products that is basically this.
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#5 Offline Tyler_Fishman - Posted August 5 2017 - 10:30 AM

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How do they lug big pieces of food in?

#6 Online dermy - Posted August 5 2017 - 12:48 PM

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How do they lug big pieces of food in?

I assume they either cut them up small enough to fit through, or they store them in their Social Stomachs and bring it back that way.


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#7 Offline Cameron C. Thomas - Posted August 5 2017 - 1:49 PM

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It might be helpful to widen and flatten part of the end, so that it resembles a bell shape rather than a circle when looking at the entrance in the first picture. This would keep your test tube from rolling around without needing any extra parts.



#8 Offline drtrmiller - Posted August 5 2017 - 2:54 PM

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My experience has consistently been that workers will relocate all their eggs and brood, leaving just a couple workers and the queen, the moment they discover a more favorable nesting location. Slowly but surely, the queen will become skinnier, and ants will chew at the nest entrance attempting to enlarge it, until she, too, can escape.

If there were even a glimmer of hope that these behaviors could be stymied, I'd be all for developing a solution that allowed users the ability to keep and maintain a free-range ant colony. Unfortunately, due to ant behavior and adaptability, the concept itself is made impossible except in the most narrow of conditions which won't apply to most users.


#9 Offline Subverted - Posted August 5 2017 - 3:29 PM

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It might be helpful to widen and flatten part of the end, so that it resembles a bell shape rather than a circle when looking at the entrance in the first picture. This would keep your test tube from rolling around without needing any extra parts.


I considered that but I don't have a lot of trouble with tubes rolling around...could definitely make a version like that if people wanted it.


My experience has consistently been that workers will relocate all their eggs and brood, leaving just a couple workers and the queen, the moment they discover a more favorable nesting location. Slowly but surely, the queen will become skinnier, and ants will chew at the nest entrance attempting to enlarge it, until she, too, can escape.

If there were even a glimmer of hope that these behaviors could be stymied, I'd be all for developing a solution that allowed users the ability to keep and maintain a free-range ant colony. Unfortunately, due to ant behavior and adaptability, the concept itself is made impossible except in the most narrow of conditions which won't apply to most users.


Thankfully my house is very dry and there are few suitable nesting spots for them to consider. I could definitely see people from the eastern USA or other places that don't have a dry climate having that issue.

My ants | My free feeder design | Freeplug - free range your ants

Make your own mold/fungus/bacteria resistant test tube water! Don't get ripped off! Read my simple guide: http://www.formicult...-simple-how-to/

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." - Isaac Asimov


#10 Offline Tyler_Fishman - Posted August 5 2017 - 5:25 PM

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Maybe this could work if you sealed them in an empty room with no cracks or crevices. Its not worth the effort, if you want free range insects try bees or even wasps, or you could do what antscanada did with the airline tubing. Plus foraging is very risky for ants, and their is the possibility they can bring back mites or diseases, all in all don't do it

#11 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted August 6 2017 - 7:35 AM

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Cool! I've tried letting a small Lasius colony to forage on my balcony they where in a small grout nest without anything stopping the queen. Surrounded by many pots whit damp soil ( actually the nest was on a pot) and many suitable places to move. They never tried to get out and were foraging well, bringing back peaces of insects, drinking sugar water etc. But this wasn't very successful because some workers got lost and left the queen alone whit some brood and 2-3 workers. I suppose this happened because the colony was too small about 7 workers, also the nest started to get dry too fast and they eventually died. Now I'm trying this again but this time I let them directly move to a pot whit just soil, for now they have dug a small nest and are foraging and eating, they are doing much better now. It's definitely very cool to watch them forage outside and do what they do in the wild.


Edited by Jonathan21700, August 6 2017 - 7:38 AM.


#12 Offline Subverted - Posted August 20 2017 - 11:01 AM

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It might be helpful to widen and flatten part of the end, so that it resembles a bell shape rather than a circle when looking at the entrance in the first picture. This would keep your test tube from rolling around without needing any extra parts.


I still need to do some final touches on the dimensions (little bit loose in 2 of 20 tubes I used for testing) but here you go:

89ce30450d43caea7d28ccf3d7615e66.pnge85feb1f875edbee705645d6d726197d.png
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My ants | My free feeder design | Freeplug - free range your ants

Make your own mold/fungus/bacteria resistant test tube water! Don't get ripped off! Read my simple guide: http://www.formicult...-simple-how-to/

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." - Isaac Asimov


#13 Offline Cameron C. Thomas - Posted August 22 2017 - 11:50 AM

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It might be helpful to widen and flatten part of the end, so that it resembles a bell shape rather than a circle when looking at the entrance in the first picture. This would keep your test tube from rolling around without needing any extra parts.


I still need to do some final touches on the dimensions (little bit loose in 2 of 20 tubes I used for testing) but here you go:

 

 

Very cool!






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