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What ant resource would you have wanted as a beginning ant keeper?

ants guide ecourse

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28 replies to this topic

Poll: What Educational Resource is most needed? (26 member(s) have cast votes)

What would you prefer?

  1. Ant E-Course (In depth explanation on acquiring ants and husbandry) for a similar price as an AntsCanads Ebook (3 votes [11.54%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 11.54%

  2. YouTube videos released over time that slowly explain basics of keeping and acquiring ants (5 votes [19.23%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 19.23%

  3. Blog/Instagram posts about tips and tricks I’ve learned keeping ants (2 votes [7.69%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 7.69%

  4. All of the above at once! (11 votes [42.31%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 42.31%

  5. Something else (5 votes [19.23%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 19.23%

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#21 Offline Ants4fun - Posted May 20 2020 - 4:52 AM

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. Just a reminder that the question was: What resource did you wish you had when you started antkeeping. Keeping this thread relevant to that topic is important to how forums work, so that when people research a thread hoping to find information on that topic, they find it. Please try to keep debates on a different thread.

The reality is that there is a wealth of knowledge. However, as mentioned, it is spread out between scientific journals, forum posts, and other places that require time to research.i hope to collect a large amount of that information into one place, like an ant keeping E-course compete with videos and articles, that for a small fee people can look at and learn most things they need to without spending hours and hours researching to get the same amount of knowledge in 1 hour of the e-course.

Edited by Ants4fun, May 20 2020 - 9:13 AM.

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#22 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 20 2020 - 4:52 AM

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My favorite books are well over 200 pages too. Its not necessarily all of my generation.

 

Every decent book I own is over 200 pages. I guess it’s a generational thing.

I don't think it has anything to do with which generation or anything like that. People who are casually interested in something, usually, don't want to invest a large amount of time researching it and learning everything about ants to get started keeping one colony. These big ant channels on Youtube are bringing in the vast majority of "recruits" and the people they bring in are usually very casual. We need to cater to these people, they eventually turn into people like you and I who spend countless hours learning about and keeping ants, but they're not there yet when they first join the hobby.


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Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#23 Offline Ants4fun - Posted May 20 2020 - 4:53 AM

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This mirrors my thoughts exactly!

Edited by Ants4fun, May 20 2020 - 4:54 AM.

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#24 Offline Serafine - Posted May 20 2020 - 9:25 AM

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And everybody wants to do their own thing, like creating new nuptial flight map apps, even when there are already existing ones, or creating new ant wiki website despite the fact that there are already.

 
It doesn't really matter if they create their own project as long as they stick to it - which rarely ever happens. Multiple resources are a bonus, not a problem (and on a note, I did actually contribute flights to your app, as well as to others).
 
Also there is absolutely no use in simply setting up a wiki and expecting people to jump on it and fill it with content - which is exactly why most of those projects failed.
People wanted a wiki but weren't willing to put in the initial groundwork for a solid foundation - we had several wikis who's idea of articles boiled down to copypasting the information that could be found on any decent ant shop webpage, this approach will get you nowhere.

You cannot expect people to build a house in the void and if you want people to add to your project you need to convince them. They don't owe you anything and your project merely existing doesn't mean it is their duty to contribute to it.
 
 

Maybe not banning so many people would also help to make people contribute, but yeah now there are multiple discord servers, because the people who ran the glorious big one banned so many people, well done ;)

 
We had to ban people who were involved in illegal trade simply to protect our innocent members from getting raided by the USDA - and yes this happened, multiple times. We even had people getting their perfectly native ants incinerated because they were somehow in the wrong facebook group at the wrong time when some illegal trading scheme happened (when the feds get moving for once they apparently don't take any chances). And you may not care at all since you're in safehaven Europe but we have confirmation from the person deciding over all those arthropod-keeping permits (isopods, ants, etc.) that the USDA has zero issues with banning antkeeping in it's entirety should there happen to unfold any sort local agricultural disaster that can be traced back to illegally shipped ants or any of the mites or nematodes they brought with them - the agricultural lobby in the US is one of the most powerful lobbies in the world and if they start seeing this as a problem the states won't even have a choice but to follow their bid.
 
And we obviously have to ban trolls who are just there to cause trouble. The antkeeping community can occasionally turn into a very toxic pond if you're not careful - there are people who'd rather actively smear, disrupt and destroy other projects than simply making a statement by building a better one of their own, as has been very clearly demonstrated by the private sandpit feud that destroyed the german version of the antwiki.
 
I'm not one of those people, if I don't trust or like a project I will simply ignore it or build a better one from which everyone can benefit. Actively attacking projects of others is a pathetic expression of selfishness and personal insecurity and there's no place for that in any hobby.
Create, aim for the skies, don't drag others down.
 
 

Just a reminder that the question was: What resource did you wish you had when you started antkeeping.

I wish there would have been a journal, a caresheet or literally anything about my species. Since I basically got my first Camponotus colony by sheer luck (someone ordered one, got two and gave the spare colony away) I didn't really have the opportunity to inform myself about this particular species to the point I'd have liked to before deciding to keep it, and when I got around to do that I discovered that there was nothing. The best I could find was a very basic journal with around a dozen entries that ran over 7 years featuring a colony of a size mine had surpassed after 18 months. Not very helpful at all.
 
 

I don't think it has anything to do with which generation or anything like that. People who are casually interested in something, usually, don't want to invest a large amount of time researching it and learning everything about ants to get started keeping one colony. These big ant channels on Youtube are bringing in the vast majority of "recruits" and the people they bring in are usually very casual. We need to cater to these people, they eventually turn into people like you and I who spend countless hours learning about and keeping ants, but they're not there yet when they first join the hobby.

Most newbies to anything don't want a comprehensive 1000 pages book. They want something that gives them easy access to basics of the subject, so they can use this as a launchpad to dive deeper into the details. A new antkeeper doesn't care too much about the intricacies of driver ant foraging strategies, larval wingdisc development in multimorphic ants or the evolutionary tree of the hymenopteran family.

The first and immediate thing they want to know is how to keep their colony alive and provide it with a suitable living space because quite often that's what is relevant to them at this precise moment when they start to look for information for the first time (and yes, they should do so before getting an ant queen/colony but let's be true things often don't work out that way for a multitude of reasons and often you can't even blame them for it (like when an ant queen literally lands on their hand)).

Providing them with this exact information is crucial if we ever want to hope for them to dive deeper into antkeeping and ants/arthropods in general.


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

Join the antkeeping discord chat! & reddit - r/antkeeping

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal

#25 Offline NickAnter - Posted May 20 2020 - 9:38 AM

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Please keep things relevant to the thread all of you.

 

  I think that the Guide in this forum is excellent, and should be spread further. Another thing that I think would be nice, and something I would have wanted would be a database of pictures of ant species, so that it is very easy to identify species that you have caught, and determine if it is a male, queen, or worker.


Lasius americanus--about 200 Workers

Nylanderia vividula--500+ workers

Temnothorax rudis--9-20 workers and brood                           

Pheidole navigans--500+? workers

Strumigenys membranifera!!!!--25 queens

Camponotus maritimus--2-6 workers and brood.

Dorymyrmex insanus--6 workers

Solenopsis "plebius"--5-15 workers

Solenopsis cf. truncorum--Eggs


#26 Offline Temperateants - Posted May 20 2020 - 9:58 AM

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I still consider myself a beginner. This is my 3rd or 4th year of keeping ants, but my oldest surviving colony is turning 2 next month, the prior ones died.

I voted for blog/instagram, because I think there is a gray area in online ant keeping information that a blog would be helpful for. Like you said the hobby is pretty much ultra-beginners or hoarders and Youtube reflects that. There is a bunch of videos on the basic basic info, like how to make test tube setups and ID queens versus workers, and there are videos on how to make super vivariums for huge colonies. It's the basic, but not super basic things that I would like to see. Things like how much space an ant colony takes up, or How to tell when you should give them more room, either nest or outworld. 

A blog would also more easily allow other people to make content, so you can have posts for region specific information, like tips for specific species or biomes.

As for the obstacles for this hobby, I think it's just something that you have to dedicate yourself to, to get into it and not a lot of people can or want to put a ton of time into a new hobby before getting anything out of it. My first year and I would assume most people's first year was a struggle. Misidentifying workers as potential queens, parasitic Lasius species that I couldn't get workers to accept, Prenolepis imparis that never laid a second batch of eggs, the one colony I got that had workers going in to hibernation died, ect. Add to that a lot of people that get into ant keeping do so after watching videos like AC's huge colonies, so researching ant keeping I found out many of the species I was watching I can't legally get and those species and the ones local to me take years to grow. That's 100+ hours and not much to show for it. For kids I would think it near impossible to keep their interest through that, and as an adult I have to try and put in hours looking for queens around my work schedule and other responsibilities.  

I'm similar. Due to negligence and ignorance I wasn't very good in my past 3 years. My ants now are doing better than ever, due to formiculture. The care sheets is what prompted me to purchase a heating cable (one of the best purchases that I made so far), various members on this community explaining why my ants needed real prey insects, not just boiled meat (my ants didn't really like the meat but now that I gave them insects they are eating more and more) and other member's antkeeping philosophies rubbing off on me. (feeding on a schedule isn't as good as just feeding them as much as you can) AC's videos got me into the hobby, but now that I look at them they aren't actually that educational. AC sets a bad example of raising invasives, doesn't actually practice "common antkeeping" as with formicaria+outworld, he likes to do the fancy stuff. I certainly did not learn how to provide my ants with better living space and to feed them as much from him. 


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Check out my Youtube Channel! https://www.youtube....xh-HaScAuE5CShQ

Check out my Crematogaster Journal! https://www.formicul...e-2#entry141180

 

 


#27 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 20 2020 - 3:50 PM

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 AC sets a bad example of raising invasives, doesn't actually practice "common antkeeping" as with formicaria+outworld, he likes to do the fancy stuff. I certainly did not learn how to provide my ants with better living space and to feed them as much from him. 

Don't you keep Tetramorium immigrans?

 

But yeah, I totally agree with what you're saying. He really doesn't help any new ant keepers, more just attracts people to the concept of keeping ants with sensationalized content.


Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#28 Offline AntsDakota - Posted May 20 2020 - 6:36 PM

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 AC sets a bad example of raising invasives, doesn't actually practice "common antkeeping" as with formicaria+outworld, he likes to do the fancy stuff. I certainly did not learn how to provide my ants with better living space and to feed them as much from him. 

Don't you keep Tetramorium immigrans?

 

But yeah, I totally agree with what you're saying. He really doesn't help any new ant keepers, more just attracts people to the concept of keeping ants with sensationalized content.

 

I think a better way of putting it would have been, "AC sets of a bad example of making invasives look super desirable, tricking kids into supporting them over their natives, which are equally as desirable."


"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#29 Offline Canadant - Posted May 21 2020 - 3:02 PM

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Google.

When I was young I would have killed for google.

Nowadays you can have any answer to any question in the world. There were cookbooks when I was young. Cassettes. Music stores. Now it's all free. Info on anything. I would have been in heaven as a child with free vids, pics, user experiences, tips and really good shared knowledge.

I'm like a kid again now.
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"You don't get what you want. You get what you deserve".





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