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Texas anting locations?

texas anting fire ants location

33 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Studio - Posted February 6 2018 - 8:19 AM

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Hey everyone,

Any ant keepers here in Texas? I'm living in Dallas at the moment.

Since I've moved to Texas 99% of the ants I've kept or find are Red Imported Fire Ants Solenopsis invicta. I've been lucky enough to keep a Crematogaster queen and a small colony of Monomorium minimum.

I was lucky enough to purchase a small colony of Pogonomyrmex a few years ago from someone that lived 6 HOURS AWAY because I wasn't having any luck up North in Tejas  :facepalm: .

Well my point is to ask if anyone know any good anting spots in Texas where I can go to and catch larger or at least different species other than fire ants. I can look out the window of my complex right now and I can already spot 3 RIFA mounds from here...
I would be willing to purchase ants as well but there just aren't enough GAN farmers or sellers here and if they are; they're usually 4-6 hours away because Texas is so freaking big.


Edited by Studio, February 6 2018 - 8:22 AM.


#2 Offline nurbs - Posted February 6 2018 - 1:05 PM

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Greetings! Native Texan here, also from Dallas. Carrollton, to be exact.

 

Don't live there anymore, but grew up there, got both my degrees there, and have lived in nearly every major and minor city until I was 30 - so can give you some sound advice. 

 

Yeah, Solenopsis invicta, the infamous RIFA - red imported fire ant, are ubiquitous to the state. They can even be found outside the quarantined RIFA zone such as the wonderfully podunk towns of Lubbock and Amarillo. This was over ten years ago (ha, old), so things are probably even worse now. Got so sick of seeing them in my youth and always dreamed of raising leafcutters.

 

The one species that Texas has that I wish CA had are Atta texana. You can find them near the trees and the watery grasslands in and around Houston. They fly during the humid months of Summer.

 

You will also find lots of Pogonomyrmex around the dryer grassy areas in the northwestern and western parts of the state (El paso, Lubbock, Amarillo). Believe they are P. barbatus.

 

Don't recall specifically the species (because age), but think there is also C. pennsylvanicus. Not as abundant as RIFAs, but try looking for them at night with a headlamp in Spring. The area northwest of Austin is probably RICH with ant diversity. I know so much more ants now than I did 10 years ago, and if I was back working in Austin would check there.

 

Believe there is another frequent forum member Ants_Texas who I believe lives near Katy or Houston. Not sure if you are an adult or underage, but maybe get permission from the parents, and plan an anting trip together. The great thing about Texas is that it rains a lot, so flights are always triggered somewhere.


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#3 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted February 6 2018 - 1:32 PM

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You've basically copied and pasted my first post when I found this website. I had massive issues (still do). No diversity to be seen, and RIFA galore. Unfortunately, zero GAN Farmers will share to you their anting locations. You're going to have to go out where there's little to no people. Little to no people = Little to no fire ants. Anting really is a Free-For-All in Texas, no one will attempt to help you. However, people on this site will. I would say to go down to the Piney Woods region, to a low populated area for forest ants. For desert ants, head up to Amarillo or Big Bend Country. I'm sorry that I don't have spesific locations for you, this will be my first year of queening and I'm just hopping around the regions I've said here. If I'm ever up in the Dallas region, I'll bring you something (if I'm successful).


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Currently Keeping:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus x2

Pogonomyrmex barbatus

Pseudomyrmex gracilis x2

Crematogaster sp.

Solenopsis invicta (Not Permanent)

 

Wishlist:

Odontomachus sp.

Novomessor sp.

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus sansabeanus
Camponotus vicinus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

 

 

 

 

 

 


#4 Offline rdurham02 - Posted February 6 2018 - 1:59 PM

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You've basically copied and pasted my first post when I found this website. I had massive issues (still do). No diversity to be seen, and RIFA galore. Unfortunately, zero GAN Farmers will share to you their anting locations. You're going to have to go out where there's little to no people. Little to no people = Little to no fire ants. Anting really is a Free-For-All in Texas, no one will attempt to help you. However, people on this site will. I would say to go down to the Piney Woods region, to a low populated area for forest ants. For desert ants, head up to Amarillo or Big Bend Country. I'm sorry that I don't have spesific locations for you, this will be my first year of queening and I'm just hopping around the regions I've said here. If I'm ever up in the Dallas region, I'll bring you something (if I'm successful).

I'm from the Southeast Piney Woods region, my hometown being Woodville, TX. I know besides annoying RIFA here and there in people's yards you do have a number of what locals call 'Town ants' which is a common name for Atta texana. Also ran across a few colonies of black crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis..I believe) along the edge of some woodlands during my annual family visit back in December of last year.



#5 Offline kellakk - Posted February 6 2018 - 2:12 PM

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Hello. Last year, I moved to College Station to do research on ants.  Since then, I've found plenty of species of ants (I think Texas might have the highest diversity of ants in the US).  It's easier to find interesting ants if you travel to west or south Texas, but it's still possible to find non-RIFA if you spend some time in natural areas. I haven't been to Dallas yet, but around here there are some Atta texana, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Dorymyrmex spp., Crematogaster spp., Camponotus spp., Pheidole spp., Trachymyrmex spp., etc.  

 

If you want queens, it's best to first scout out some natural-looking parks near where you live to figure out what species you have nearby.  Then you can plan to look out for queens of those species at the time that they fly. It also helps to blacklight a lot in the spring and fall.


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Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#6 Offline nurbs - Posted February 6 2018 - 2:37 PM

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Hello. Last year, I moved to College Station to do research on ants.  Since then, I've found plenty of species of ants (I think Texas might have the highest diversity of ants in the US).  It's easier to find interesting ants if you travel to west or south Texas, but it's still possible to find non-RIFA if you spend some time in natural areas. I haven't been to Dallas yet, but around here there are some Atta texana, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Dorymyrmex spp., Crematogaster spp., Camponotus spp., Pheidole spp., Trachymyrmex spp., etc.  

 

If you want queens, it's best to first scout out some natural-looking parks near where you live to figure out what species you have nearby.  Then you can plan to look out for queens of those species at the time that they fly. It also helps to blacklight a lot in the spring and fall.

 

Yes, everything he said. All my family still lives in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), so if I ever visit this year, might go anting just to make YouTube videos and give away whatever is found.

 

BTW, got my Masters in CS!


Los Angeles GAN Farmer
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#7 Online Derpy - Posted February 6 2018 - 3:19 PM

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I remember on a trip to Austin, I found psuedomyrmex gracilis, a unidentified camponotus species, and sadly RIFA:(
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- 1 Camponotus Leavigatus Colony
- 12 Prenolepis Imparis Queens

#8 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted February 6 2018 - 3:44 PM

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Hello. Last year, I moved to College Station to do research on ants.  Since then, I've found plenty of species of ants (I think Texas might have the highest diversity of ants in the US).  It's easier to find interesting ants if you travel to west or south Texas, but it's still possible to find non-RIFA if you spend some time in natural areas. I haven't been to Dallas yet, but around here there are some Atta texana, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Dorymyrmex spp., Crematogaster spp., Camponotus spp., Pheidole spp., Trachymyrmex spp., etc.  

 

If you want queens, it's best to first scout out some natural-looking parks near where you live to figure out what species you have nearby.  Then you can plan to look out for queens of those species at the time that they fly. It also helps to blacklight a lot in the spring and fall.

 

Yes, everything he said. All my family still lives in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), so if I ever visit this year, might go anting just to make YouTube videos and give away whatever is found.

 

BTW, got my Masters in CS!

 

You play CSGO? 

EDIT: Computer science...  :facepalm:


Edited by Ants_Texas, February 6 2018 - 3:47 PM.

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Currently Keeping:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus x2

Pogonomyrmex barbatus

Pseudomyrmex gracilis x2

Crematogaster sp.

Solenopsis invicta (Not Permanent)

 

Wishlist:

Odontomachus sp.

Novomessor sp.

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus sansabeanus
Camponotus vicinus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

 

 

 

 

 

 


#9 Offline Penguin - Posted February 6 2018 - 3:47 PM

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Hello. Last year, I moved to College Station to do research on ants.  Since then, I've found plenty of species of ants (I think Texas might have the highest diversity of ants in the US).  It's easier to find interesting ants if you travel to west or south Texas, but it's still possible to find non-RIFA if you spend some time in natural areas. I haven't been to Dallas yet, but around here there are some Atta texana, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Dorymyrmex spp., Crematogaster spp., Camponotus spp., Pheidole spp., Trachymyrmex spp., etc.  

 

If you want queens, it's best to first scout out some natural-looking parks near where you live to figure out what species you have nearby.  Then you can plan to look out for queens of those species at the time that they fly. It also helps to blacklight a lot in the spring and fall.

 

Yes, everything he said. All my family still lives in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), so if I ever visit this year, might go anting just to make YouTube videos and give away whatever is found.

 

BTW, got my Masters in CS!

 

You play CSGO? 

 

 

:lol:  I know you're probably joking but I think he means computer science. (Am I right?  :P


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I'm here to learn, mostly. 

:hi:


#10 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted February 6 2018 - 3:48 PM

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Hello. Last year, I moved to College Station to do research on ants.  Since then, I've found plenty of species of ants (I think Texas might have the highest diversity of ants in the US).  It's easier to find interesting ants if you travel to west or south Texas, but it's still possible to find non-RIFA if you spend some time in natural areas. I haven't been to Dallas yet, but around here there are some Atta texana, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Dorymyrmex spp., Crematogaster spp., Camponotus spp., Pheidole spp., Trachymyrmex spp., etc.  

 

If you want queens, it's best to first scout out some natural-looking parks near where you live to figure out what species you have nearby.  Then you can plan to look out for queens of those species at the time that they fly. It also helps to blacklight a lot in the spring and fall.

 

Yes, everything he said. All my family still lives in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), so if I ever visit this year, might go anting just to make YouTube videos and give away whatever is found.

 

BTW, got my Masters in CS!

 

You play CSGO? 

 

 

:lol:  I know you're probably joking but I think he means computer science. (Am I right?  :P

 

I really wish I was joking..


Currently Keeping:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus x2

Pogonomyrmex barbatus

Pseudomyrmex gracilis x2

Crematogaster sp.

Solenopsis invicta (Not Permanent)

 

Wishlist:

Odontomachus sp.

Novomessor sp.

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus sansabeanus
Camponotus vicinus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

 

 

 

 

 

 


#11 Offline nurbs - Posted February 6 2018 - 4:04 PM

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Haha that's too funny.

 

Sorta incorrect on both accounts. Sorta. 

 

Meant to say "got my Masters in College Station", because in College Station, we all called it "CS" for short, but I can understand if you weren't going to school there you would think "computer science".

 

But my Masters was "Masters in Visualization Sciences", which had lots of computer science and programming, so yeah?  :lol:


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#12 Offline Studio - Posted February 6 2018 - 8:20 PM

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Greetings! Native Texan here, also from Dallas. Carrollton, to be exact.

 

Don't live there anymore, but grew up there, got both my degrees there, and have lived in nearly every major and minor city until I was 30 - so can give you some sound advice. 

 

Yeah, Solenopsis invicta, the infamous RIFA - red imported fire ant, are ubiquitous to the state. They can even be found outside the quarantined RIFA zone such as the wonderfully podunk towns of Lubbock and Amarillo. This was over ten years ago (ha, old), so things are probably even worse now. Got so sick of seeing them in my youth and always dreamed of raising leafcutters.

 

The one species that Texas has that I wish CA had are Atta texana. You can find them near the trees and the watery grasslands in and around Houston. They fly during the humid months of Summer.

 

You will also find lots of Pogonomyrmex around the dryer grassy areas in the northwestern and western parts of the state (El paso, Lubbock, Amarillo). Believe they are P. barbatus.

 

Don't recall specifically the species (because age), but think there is also C. pennsylvanicus. Not as abundant as RIFAs, but try looking for them at night with a headlamp in Spring. The area northwest of Austin is probably RICH with ant diversity. I know so much more ants now than I did 10 years ago, and if I was back working in Austin would check there.

 

Believe there is another frequent forum member Ants_Texas who I believe lives near Katy or Houston. Not sure if you are an adult or underage, but maybe get permission from the parents, and plan an anting trip together. The great thing about Texas is that it rains a lot, so flights are always triggered somewhere.

 

Nice! I got shopping at H Mart all the time in Carrollton. Funny enough, I'm actually from California, Long Beach to be exact! At the time, there weren't any anters down there, now there's a booming community of anters in CA especially in SoCal. I'm spiteful lol. I moved out to Texas right when I turned 18. 

 

You've basically copied and pasted my first post when I found this website. I had massive issues (still do). No diversity to be seen, and RIFA galore. Unfortunately, zero GAN Farmers will share to you their anting locations. You're going to have to go out where there's little to no people. Little to no people = Little to no fire ants. Anting really is a Free-For-All in Texas, no one will attempt to help you. However, people on this site will. I would say to go down to the Piney Woods region, to a low populated area for forest ants. For desert ants, head up to Amarillo or Big Bend Country. I'm sorry that I don't have spesific locations for you, this will be my first year of queening and I'm just hopping around the regions I've said here. If I'm ever up in the Dallas region, I'll bring you something (if I'm successful).

 

Hey man! You're right about the free-for-all in Texas. I just messaged someone about their Atta texana queens that he had for sale, but he didn't want to release information where he caught them nor any of his other collecting spots. I mean there aren't a lot of people into the ant hobby here so I don't I'm going to curb the ant population anytime soon. As well as another seller who had pretty rare Texas species like trap-jaws who didn't want to disclose any collecting spots either. They seemed more focused on sales/business side of anting than building relationships. They didn't seem very friendly about it either, where-as California has a whole community of anters that get together *sigh*  :*( 

I would totally check those places out when I get the chance. I currently just got a new job that requires me to work 6 days a week and summer is their busiest time so I don't think I'll be out there anytime soon. I would be cool with anting with you guys if you know any really good spots!



#13 Offline nurbs - Posted February 6 2018 - 11:53 PM

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Nice! I got shopping at H Mart all the time in Carrollton. Funny enough, I'm actually from California, Long Beach to be exact! At the time, there weren't any anters down there, now there's a booming community of anters in CA especially in SoCal. I'm spiteful lol. I moved out to Texas right when I turned 18. 

 

 

 

 

We swapped places. LB isn't far from where I am. Yeah, the anting community in SoCal is relatively strong vs other parts of the US. 

 

You guys can start a group right here on Formiculture. The SoCal "community" (if you even want to call it that) didn't happen overnight. It's taken years to gather up mating charts and spottings and newcomers.


Los Angeles GAN Farmer
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#14 Offline nurbs - Posted February 6 2018 - 11:54 PM

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Also H Mart in Carrollton rules! Over ten years ago, that plaza was a DMV, Walden Books, and a Mervyns.


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#15 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 7 2018 - 12:19 AM

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Wow people are that secretive about where they catch ants there? That's funny. I invite people to our spots all the time. Even then, most people still never make it out. I think most are just lazy in that regard. It's easier to just buy the ants from someone in town I guess.


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#16 Offline kellakk - Posted February 7 2018 - 11:58 AM

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You've basically copied and pasted my first post when I found this website. I had massive issues (still do). No diversity to be seen, and RIFA galore. Unfortunately, zero GAN Farmers will share to you their anting locations. You're going to have to go out where there's little to no people. Little to no people = Little to no fire ants. Anting really is a Free-For-All in Texas, no one will attempt to help you. However, people on this site will. I would say to go down to the Piney Woods region, to a low populated area for forest ants. For desert ants, head up to Amarillo or Big Bend Country. I'm sorry that I don't have spesific locations for you, this will be my first year of queening and I'm just hopping around the regions I've said here. If I'm ever up in the Dallas region, I'll bring you something (if I'm successful).

 

Hey man! You're right about the free-for-all in Texas. I just messaged someone about their Atta texana queens that he had for sale, but he didn't want to release information where he caught them nor any of his other collecting spots. I mean there aren't a lot of people into the ant hobby here so I don't I'm going to curb the ant population anytime soon. As well as another seller who had pretty rare Texas species like trap-jaws who didn't want to disclose any collecting spots either. They seemed more focused on sales/business side of anting than building relationships. They didn't seem very friendly about it either, where-as California has a whole community of anters that get together *sigh*  :*( 

I would totally check those places out when I get the chance. I currently just got a new job that requires me to work 6 days a week and summer is their busiest time so I don't think I'll be out there anytime soon. I would be cool with anting with you guys if you know any really good spots!

 

 

That's a really strange perspective on anting.  Especially since Atta texana are almost everywhere in eastern Texas from Houston south...

 

 

Hello. Last year, I moved to College Station to do research on ants.  Since then, I've found plenty of species of ants (I think Texas might have the highest diversity of ants in the US).  It's easier to find interesting ants if you travel to west or south Texas, but it's still possible to find non-RIFA if you spend some time in natural areas. I haven't been to Dallas yet, but around here there are some Atta texana, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Dorymyrmex spp., Crematogaster spp., Camponotus spp., Pheidole spp., Trachymyrmex spp., etc.  

 

If you want queens, it's best to first scout out some natural-looking parks near where you live to figure out what species you have nearby.  Then you can plan to look out for queens of those species at the time that they fly. It also helps to blacklight a lot in the spring and fall.

 

Yes, everything he said. All my family still lives in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), so if I ever visit this year, might go anting just to make YouTube videos and give away whatever is found.

 

BTW, got my Masters in CS!

 

 

Cool! It seems like anyone that has ever lived in Texas has some connection to Texas A&M.


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#17 Offline Studio - Posted February 7 2018 - 12:36 PM

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That's a really strange perspective on anting.  Especially since Atta texana are almost everywhere in eastern Texas from Houston south...

 

That's what I'm saying... The city he found them in is San Antonio so if I ever catch any Atta texana flights I'll let you guys know. I have a friend that lives up there so I may go out there for a bit during July or August.

 

Wow people are that secretive about where they catch ants there? That's funny. I invite people to our spots all the time. Even then, most people still never make it out. I think most are just lazy in that regard. It's easier to just buy the ants from someone in town I guess.

 

Yeah I don't know why everyone is in such a state of scarcity here. I'm sorry if I'm jacking a few of the 100,000,000 queens that fly out every single year... If I'm unable to travel due to work then I may just keep S. invicta... again...

 

Actually my job does require me to travel the neighboring cities around Dallas so I may walk into a neighborhood during a nuptial flight of a unique species coming out of someone's lawn.  :yahoo: 
I will try to be more active in building up the anting community here in Texas with the little time that I have.



#18 Offline nurbs - Posted February 7 2018 - 1:20 PM

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You guys know how to blacklight? You can find lots of stuff, easy.

 

Find a local spot (public trail, forested area, you don't have to venture far) away from concrete urbanized suburbia and setup a blacklight. Make sure you're not tresspassing. I didn't know about blacklighting until moving out to CA, so have never done it in TX. Bet you'll find all sorts of interesting stuff. 

 

Get a battery powered one or use your car adapter. I use two large tubes from Walmart attached to the truck's cig lighter via a converter. Put the light on a white throwaway bedsheet, and turn it on right after sunset on a warm humid day or after it rains. Pop a diet coke while munching on Cool Ranch Doritos and watch the goods fly in. Not only will you find ants flying, but also all manner of moths, mosquitoes, horse flies, bugs, and things you've never seen before.  


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#19 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted February 7 2018 - 2:24 PM

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Wow people are that secretive about where they catch ants there? That's funny. I invite people to our spots all the time. Even then, most people still never make it out. I think most are just lazy in that regard. It's easier to just buy the ants from someone in town I guess.

Yeah, I've had to learn everything on my own (about Texan anting specifically). There's no group efforts, even though I'd be down for one. Like Studio stated, anters in Texas are all in it for the money, not the actual antkeeping part. It's quite sad.

 

You guys know how to blacklight? You can find lots of stuff, easy.

 

Find a local spot (public trail, forested area, you don't have to venture far) away from concrete urbanized suburbia and setup a blacklight. Make sure you're not tresspassing. I didn't know about blacklighting until moving out to CA, so have never done it in TX. Bet you'll find all sorts of interesting stuff. 

 

Get a battery powered one or use your car adapter. I use two large tubes from Walmart attached to the truck's cig lighter via a converter. Put the light on a white throwaway bedsheet, and turn it on right after sunset on a warm humid day or after it rains. Pop a diet coke while munching on Cool Ranch Doritos and watch the goods fly in. Not only will you find ants flying, but also all manner of moths, mosquitoes, horse flies, bugs, and things you've never seen before.  

I'm going to attempt to blacklight in certain wooded areas. I'll be checking on the ground mostly though, since I'm in love with bigger ants. 


Currently Keeping:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus x2

Pogonomyrmex barbatus

Pseudomyrmex gracilis x2

Crematogaster sp.

Solenopsis invicta (Not Permanent)

 

Wishlist:

Odontomachus sp.

Novomessor sp.

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus sansabeanus
Camponotus vicinus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

 

 

 

 

 

 


#20 Offline nurbs - Posted February 7 2018 - 2:49 PM

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Wow people are that secretive about where they catch ants there? That's funny. I invite people to our spots all the time. Even then, most people still never make it out. I think most are just lazy in that regard. It's easier to just buy the ants from someone in town I guess.

Yeah, I've had to learn everything on my own (about Texan anting specifically). There's no group efforts, even though I'd be down for one. Like Studio stated, anters in Texas are all in it for the money, not the actual antkeeping part. It's quite sad.

 

 

 

 

Selling ants alone doesn't make a lot. It's embarrassing, really. For me, anting is a hobby that pays for itself. I break even, when you factor in gas and lodging while driving all over SoCal on a multi-day trip looking for ants. Friends and family think I am crazy. Weekly feeding takes hours. If you want to make extra cash, go into anting supplies like formicariums as well as colony sales.

 

These TX farmers will soon realize that. Betting that many of them are just kids overcharging and overprotective of their locations.

 

 

You guys know how to blacklight? You can find lots of stuff, easy.

 

Find a local spot (public trail, forested area, you don't have to venture far) away from concrete urbanized suburbia and setup a blacklight. Make sure you're not tresspassing. I didn't know about blacklighting until moving out to CA, so have never done it in TX. Bet you'll find all sorts of interesting stuff. 

 

Get a battery powered one or use your car adapter. I use two large tubes from Walmart attached to the truck's cig lighter via a converter. Put the light on a white throwaway bedsheet, and turn it on right after sunset on a warm humid day or after it rains. Pop a diet coke while munching on Cool Ranch Doritos and watch the goods fly in. Not only will you find ants flying, but also all manner of moths, mosquitoes, horse flies, bugs, and things you've never seen before.  

I'm going to attempt to blacklight in certain wooded areas. I'll be checking on the ground mostly though, since I'm in love with bigger ants. 

 

 

Do it! It may still be too cold right now, but once it warms up you will find lots of stuff. And report back!


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