I just spent quite awhile reading the entire thread and found it fascinating and educational (and a little off at points.) I am fairly new and inexperienced with raising and keeping ants but have been interested for awhile. I failed with my queens for the first two years and then had to wait another year to collect queens again. I have been pretty successful the past two years and am even selling as a GAN farmer (I read some of those threads as well and know that there is controversy there-I do guarantee that if the queen dies, I will replace her with a new one if I still have some-I only sell when they have several workers). My current species is fairly slow growing (C. pennsylvanicus) and so when the opportunity to get a faster growing species became available I jumped on it and bought a boosted colony from THA. I have nothing but good things to say about the experience - good documentation, great communication, and great support. My colony is doing very well and growing fast.
Some may question my location (Tucson, AZ) and ask why I purchased a species that can be easily found where I live. I am only in Tucson during the school year and am gone for the monsoon season. With the changes due to COVID, I am hoping to be back in Tucson this year for the nuptial flights of the Pogonomyrmex. I am hoping that the knowledge and experience gained with my colony from THA will help me take less that 4 years to be successful.
Side note: this might be my last year to get guaranteed C. pennsylvanicus queens. My "gold mine" collecting area just burned in the Bighorn fire in the Catalina mountains