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#1 Offline ITrapPlants - Posted January 7 2020 - 7:02 PM

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Hi All! 

 

My name is Ben- I go under the name @Itrapplants on youtube and IG, where I will be posting ant and terrarium based content, but refer to me however you would like! 

 

I have been ant keeping curious for a little over a year since finding Ants Canada's youtube page (basic, I know) but I'm glad it opened me up to the possibility of ant keeping as I am highly allergic to dust, which makes cats/dogs a tough pet for me to keep.  Another added benefit to keeping ants in my case is the opportunity to construct outworlds- I have been experiment with closed self sustaining terrariums for the last few years and have a lot of exciting ideas to try when creating series of out-worlds for my ants to populate. 

 

ANT KEEPING EXPERIENCE SO FAR- 

 

This year during Nuptial flight season I found 8 Prenolepis Imparis Queens- test tubed 4 of them individually, put 2 together in a terrarium setup, & 2 in their own individual smaller terrarium setups:

 

- So far of the 4 in test tubes only 1 remains alive, she has not produced any eggs but due to my research on this forum my next step is to give her some protein (which I should have done earlier on.... but oh well) and leave her undisturbed for two weeks or so. She was given a piece of drinking straw full of cotton soaked in honey water which she fed on for two days straight last week but that has been the only food so far.

- I have seen no signs of any of the Queens put in terrarium setups, since my one still surviving test tube queen is alive I would like to believe there is hope for them- Please correct me if this is foolish and I should assume they didn't make it

 

I caught a Camponotus Herculeanus Queen (MY DREAM ANT COLONY) with 4 brood but she did not survive in the test tube setup- I am unsure why - If any MA locals get an extra queen next season or have a colony available please reach out to me.  Thanks! 

 

Currently I am raising a colony of aphaenogaster picea- they are in a miniature terrarium/formicarium setup in a glass jar. Because of this I do not currently have access to the queen or brood and the only information I have is that they have sent five workers to the surface to drink from a honey water soaked piece of cotton in a straw cutting and to feed on an isopod I had breed and fed them when I noticed they emerged for the first time. Since then I have seen them feeding on almonds, sunflower seeds, chicken, they rarely drink from the honey water I provide them and have seemed to avoid other sweets (which I have read is common) 

- My next steps for this colony is:

 

1: Determining what to feed them- I have heard some say they eat mostly feeder insect but live shorter lives if they consume to much protein- does this apply with nuts/seeds or is it just insect proteins?  I want to obtain Trillium, Wild Ginger, and Bloodroot seeds as I have read this is what they are known to harvest in nature but I am unsure of a reliable source to order them guidance from a more experienced ant keeper who has found a plug for these would be much appreciated!!!

 

2: Moving them into a formicarium that allows viewing as soon as possible would be fantastic but I know I need to be careful as I've read some horror stories about others loosing large amounts of the colony with an early on move. My plan- to seal the top of the environment then slide in tubing that will lead to the new formicarium.  I'm not sure how large the population should be built up to before doing this- any knowledge would help! Also I'm not sure how large of an environment would be appropriate to move them into, I am thinking an Ants Canada hybrid nest (possibly the smaller sized one) but it would be great to know if this would be to large or if there are better options out there!

 

Thank you in advance for your help with my questions!


Edited by ITrapPlants, January 7 2020 - 7:02 PM.

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#2 Offline ponerinecat - Posted January 7 2020 - 7:18 PM

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Aphaenogaster have a rather demanding diet. feed them insects and occasional seeds, I find chia work well, but feed them mostly insects. for sugar, just give them sugar grains.


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#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 8 2020 - 6:42 AM

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Welcome to the forum and this crazy hobby! I look forward to picking your brain more about sealed terrariums because my first attempt was a disappointment.
You found some of the trickier species to keep. In the future, I would advise raising up your colonies in simple tubs and tubes set ups until they’re pretty big before putting them in a terrarium. This will allow you to observe the founding process, and you’ll have lots of workers to observe later once they tunnel out of sight.
As for the seeds, all of those plants are relatively rare spring ephemerals. It is hard to get the timing right to gather fresh seeds before the plants disappear in dormancy. You would need fresh seeds because it is the protein rich elaisome attached to the seed that Aphaenogaster are after. In short, I don’t think these seeds would be a sustainable food source for a home keeper.

Edited by ANTdrew, January 8 2020 - 6:43 AM.

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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#4 Offline ITrapPlants - Posted January 9 2020 - 1:39 PM

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Aphaenogaster have a rather demanding diet. feed them insects and occasional seeds, I find chia work well, but feed them mostly insects. for sugar, just give them sugar grains.

 

Thanks for the info - trying Chai seeds now! And good to know about sugar grains I had not thought about them- though that makes a lot of sense!



#5 Offline ITrapPlants - Posted January 9 2020 - 1:51 PM

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Welcome to the forum and this crazy hobby! I look forward to picking your brain more about sealed terrariums because my first attempt was a disappointment.
You found some of the trickier species to keep. In the future, I would advise raising up your colonies in simple tubs and tubes set ups until they’re pretty big before putting them in a terrarium. This will allow you to observe the founding process, and you’ll have lots of workers to observe later once they tunnel out of sight.
As for the seeds, all of those plants are relatively rare spring ephemerals. It is hard to get the timing right to gather fresh seeds before the plants disappear in dormancy. You would need fresh seeds because it is the protein rich elaisome attached to the seed that Aphaenogaster are after. In short, I don’t think these seeds would be a sustainable food source for a home keeper.

 

Thanks, I appreciate the warm welcome! And of course feel free to shoot me a message with any questions on terrariums! 

 

And I know I wish I had started them off in the test tube but all my other ones were in use with other queens (Though I just ordered a ton for next nuptial flight season so it won't happen again!)

 

Yeah I was so excited to find out about a seed these ants had evolved in the wild with until I started looking more into them and found out the fruit around the seeds is the bait for the ants and how difficult they are to raise to flower (Some are saying 5-9 years) - only reason I ask about someone knowing a way to get fresh Trillium Seeds is a member of this forum claimed that they had fed their colony exclusively trillum seeds


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#6 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 9 2020 - 2:49 PM

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Folks on this forum claim all kinds of stuff. I don’t believe anything without photo proof. I checked praeriemoon.com, and they do sell bloodroot seeds, but they must be dried seeds. I’m doubtful they would even germinate.
I’ll definitely ask you for help with sealed terrariums.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.





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