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Utah Ants, Keepers, Flights, and other Resources

utah resource nuptial flight ant keepers species anting buy sell lasius camponotus crematogaster formica tetramorium solenopsis temnothorax aphaenogaster pogonomyrmex

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#1 Offline AntsUtah - Posted March 28 2021 - 6:11 PM

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Hello all,

I've been looking around and I have found that there is no anting or nuptial flight watch for the state of Utah. So I thought I would start one for ant keepers that live in Utah now, and for a future reference for ant keepers who might live in Utah or close by. In this thread, anything relating to ants can be posted, specifically nuptial flights, member introductions, local ants, and even ant shops for those interested in buying.

Some quick ant statistics for those of you who are new, Utah has 225* native species, the majority of them being, Formica, Camponotus, Crematogaster, and Lasius.

 

To start off, I recently went anting up Mapleton Canyon. During my 2 hour expedition I found 4 species of ants:

Monomorium Minimum

Tetramorium immigrans

Solenopsis molesta

Crematogaster cerasi

 

In Utah County, Tetramorium immigrans is unfortunately the most dominant ant species, with monomorium, formica and camponotus following. In this case the thief ants were often living inside the Tetramorium colonies or at least a few inches away. The one large crematogaster colony I found was next to a large termite colony, all under one rock! I had never seen this before, and the ants and termites apparently either ignored each other or did not now of each others presence up to that point. after I flipped their rock, the two groups immediately started to attacking each other, the termite soldiers lunging at the stinging crematogaster workers. The Crematogaster queen was a few inches from all of this, surrounded by a bivouac type of structure. 

This early in the season, ants don't fly in Utah, but you can easily find colonies under rocks, bathing in the warmth, the hard part is finding the queen. I hope this thread will help others and I can't wait to start documenting local nuptial flights!

 

A large tetra colony under multiple stones:

Attached File  IMG-0541.jpg   861.43KB   1 downloads

 

A thief ant colony:

Attached File  IMG-0553.jpg   556.55KB   1 downloads

 

A size comparison between 2 workers:

Attached File  IMG-0572.jpg   126.11KB   1 downloads

 

Two colonies under one rock, the termites on the top:

Attached File  IMG-0558.jpg   716.58KB   1 downloads

 

Crematogaster Workers:

Attached File  IMG-0560.jpg   539.83KB   1 downloads

 

The unknown termite species:

Attached File  IMG-0566.jpg   498.8KB   1 downloads

 

*Ant Maps


Edited by AntsUtah, April 6 2021 - 9:40 AM.

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#2 Offline AntsUtah - Posted April 6 2021 - 9:25 AM

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4.3.20

 

A quick recap of my anting trip on April 3:

Temp: 75-80 degrees

Weather: Low cloud cover and full sun

 

I recently went back up Mapleton Canyon for about an hour and had tremendous success, I found around 20 colonies, 15 of which were Crematogaster. This surprised me as I had seen only a few Crema colonies until now, and to think they were right under my nose for years! I also found 2 colonies of different Lasius species, both were small in number and size. It was pretty hot that day so many of the queens were visible at the top in each colony. But I think the most important thing I learned was the exact conditions needed for finding crema colonies, with a 90% success rate of finding a colony:

  • Go anting on a warm, sunny day up a canyon/valley
  • Look for elevated areas with small, lush micro fauna, usually on the sides of a road/trail
  • Find 3-15 inch stones with a certain lichen growing on them (pictured below)
  • Flip the stone and try not to disturb the nest, the queen will be buried under a dogpile of workers

I used these steps to find more ants then I could ever count. All in all it was a good anting trip, still trying to find Formica in the canyon, as they are out everywhere in the sub-urban areas. Species found in order from most common to least common:

  • Crematogaster emeryana
  • Small Lasius colonies
  • Solenopsis molesta
  • Monomorium minimum
  • Tetramorium immigrans
  • Camponotus hyatti

This gives me hope for other species besides molesta and immigrans to have a chance at thriving in Utah valley.

 

 

Native Utah Desert Plants, near by were 5 Crema colonies:

Attached File  IMG-0609.jpg   1.05MB   0 downloads

 

This was the lichen that was a giveaway for the correct stones, perhaps the ants and lichen had similar weather preferences?

Attached File  IMG-0605.jpg   536.92KB   0 downloads

 

Large Crema colonies under stones with lichen, the second being the largest I had ever seen:

Attached File  IMG-0608.jpg   706.57KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0617 (1).jpg   784.16KB   0 downloads

 

Thief ants slowly killing a once large crema colony:

Attached File  IMG-0611.jpg   813.14KB   0 downloads

 

Unidentified Lasius:

Attached Files


Edited by AntsUtah, April 6 2021 - 9:26 AM.

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#3 Offline AntsUtah - Posted April 8 2021 - 5:41 PM

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4.8.21

 

Because of last times success, I went up yet again and this time explored the higher altitude forest in Maple canyon. I followed a deer trail through the forest, occasionally flipping over rocks and found a good amount of colonies, and several I had never actually seen before, namely a large Lasius flavus nest and satellite nests with pink root aphids in each. Also saw some alate larvae in the flavus colony, so I'll be sure to catch some this season! I saw some smaller Lasius workers which I believe to be Lasius umbratus, another first time species for me. I also found an unidentified species, which I had never seen before, along with a large Monomorium colony living in dead dry wood. New species I found today were: 

  • Lasius flavus
  • cf Lasius umbratus
  • Aphaenogaster??

Here are some quick images:

 

 

The overall area where I was searching:

Attached File  IMG-0662 (1).jpg   978.2KB   0 downloads

 

 

The unidentified colony. Workers about a centimeter long, my best guess was Aphaenogaster boulderensis or uinta. Possibly even a carpenter ant species? Any ID help would be appreciated.

Attached File  IMG-0653.jpg   557.96KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0650.jpg   568.06KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0652.jpg   465.13KB   0 downloads

 

 

Lasius flavus and their purple "cows":

Attached File  IMG-0668.jpg   527.28KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0666.jpg   566.82KB   0 downloads

 

 

cf Lasius Umbratus, this colony was not far away from the flavus, but a distinct size difference was noticeable, with the flavus being about twice as large

Attached File  IMG-0669 (1).jpg   540.01KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0670.jpg   534.54KB   0 downloads

 

 

And finally a random pic of a Monomorium minimum colony nesting in some dry wood, which was surprising, as I thought I was going to find Camponotus in this piece

Attached File  IMG-0680.jpg   366.78KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0686.jpg   483.33KB   0 downloads


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#4 Offline NickAnter - Posted April 9 2021 - 8:47 AM

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The unidentified colony is an Aphaenogaster sp., and you probably have the Lasius IDs mixed up. The bigger workers will most likely be a parasitic species. Also, umbratus does not occur in the US, it is aphidicola. I do not think these match that however, they look a bit more like an Acanthomyops species. And you hve a fair few of those in Utah, and they are rather difficult to ID. All in all very nice finds though! Makes me wish I didn't live in California...

Edited by NickAnter, April 9 2021 - 8:48 AM.

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Ants in Possession:             

Lasius americanus--80 workers

Nylanderia vividula--500+ workers

Temnothorax rudis--5 workers                     My Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube....94qmMPiVKmlVldA             

Pheidole navigans--400+ workers

Cardiocondyla mauritanica--3 queens

Camponotus maritimus--Eggs and Larvae

Dorymyrmex insanus--Larvae

  

Equal opportunity is vastly fairer than equity.


#5 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted April 9 2021 - 10:09 AM

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Everything Nick said, but you would also say Lasius cf. umbratus, not cf Lasius umbratus.

#6 Offline bobross1232 - Posted April 22 2021 - 9:25 AM

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Hello, I am new to ant keeping, and i was just wondering what are some of the best places to go hunting for queen ants. Over the past couple of weeks of gone on 15-30 min walks around my neighborhood, But i just haven't had any success so far. Any tips and tricks would also be apriciated.



#7 Offline AntsUtah - Posted April 22 2021 - 12:35 PM

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Do you live in utah? If you do, any canyon or any dry stream bed works great, just flip over some rocks and you're bound to find something. If you are looking for queens, we don't really have anything flying right now in utah valley, so catching a colony is your best bet, if that's what you're into to. The best spots are usually in parks and wilderness. Pogonomyrmex and pots are flying if you live to the south or west of utah. Camponotus will fly soon as well, as soon as we can get a warm day.


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#8 Offline AntsUtah - Posted April 22 2021 - 5:26 PM

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April 17

 

I have covered and documented most of the common species found in northern Utah besides camponotus. Last week (mid 60's), I went anting up a canyon and I finally found large formica colonies, one of my main targets for this year, along with some very interesting black ants that I had never seen before in utah. I'm not the best at ID'ing so if someone more experienced sees something feel free to comment. A summary of the species found:

 

-3 different species of lasius

-2 formica species

-Tetramorium immigrans

-Unidentified Black species

-4xMonomorium minimum

-9xcrematogaster cerasi/emeryana

-Solenopsis Molesta

 

And here's the photo dump of some of the colonies:

 

Wood dwelling crematogaster, gave me some ideas for some interesting formicariums:

 

Attached File  IMG-0718.jpg   524.79KB   0 downloads

 

Some more crema:

 

Attached File  IMG-0723.jpg   582.9KB   0 downloads

 

Here's an extremely large tetra colony with hundreds of elate pupae...yikes!!

 

Attached File  IMG-0749.jpg   825.33KB   0 downloads

 

A very large black formica colony that had taken over a large bark mound created by termites:

 

Attached File  IMG-0728.jpg   479.63KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG-0730.jpg   533.43KB   0 downloads

 

The other large formica species, very aggressive and fast, large and pointed mandibles, almost seem like slave raiders to me. These colonies are loud, and you can hear them moving around if they are large enough.

 

Attached File  IMG-0736.jpg   577.77KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG-0739.jpg   534.83KB   0 downloads

 

And last but not least, the unidentified black ants, they were about 0.8-1.5 cm long, and had a similar build to pogonomyrmex.

 

Attached File  IMG-0760.jpg   519.97KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG-0755.jpg   537.96KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG-0759.jpg   511.18KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG-0762.jpg   653.82KB   0 downloads


Edited by AntsUtah, April 22 2021 - 5:27 PM.


#9 Offline AntsUtah - Posted May 3 2021 - 12:20 PM

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On April 30th and May 1, the first large nuptial flight occurred in southern Utah valley. It was humid and pretty windy, but the temperature got above 80 during the day. I'm unsure of the species so if someone could ID it, that would be very helpful, almost looks like Formica, but it seems a little early, and this queen had a nuptial chamber under a rock. Large black drones were prevalent everywhere, but queens were elusive. 

 

ID features: 

Black, about 2 cm long, large head, nesting in sandy soil next to a river

 

Attached File  IMG-0852 (1).jpg   215.98KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG-0809.jpg   356.56KB   0 downloads

 

 

While anting recently, I found some Pheidole. I had never seen any type of Pheidole before in my life so this was very exiting. I literally had to climb a mountain to see them though...

 

Attached File  IMG-0824.jpg   472.51KB   0 downloads

 

The queen herself:

 

Attached File  IMG-0822.jpg   627.29KB   0 downloads

 

Here's some higher-altitude Monomorium:

 

Attached File  IMG-0820.jpg   524.56KB   0 downloads

 

And here's the first Camponotus worker (major) that I saw foraging on April 22:

 

Attached File  IMG-0797 (1).jpg   466.46KB   0 downloads



#10 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 3 2021 - 1:55 PM

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Awesome Pheidole! Your queen does look like Formica to me.
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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.


#11 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted May 4 2021 - 3:16 AM

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The first queen is Formica. She might be from last year since it is too early for them to be flying or it is a reject.



#12 Offline NickAnter - Posted May 4 2021 - 6:29 AM

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Yeah, those males look like Camponotus to me. The finding of the Formica queen was most likely coincidental.


Ants in Possession:             

Lasius americanus--80 workers

Nylanderia vividula--500+ workers

Temnothorax rudis--5 workers                     My Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube....94qmMPiVKmlVldA             

Pheidole navigans--400+ workers

Cardiocondyla mauritanica--3 queens

Camponotus maritimus--Eggs and Larvae

Dorymyrmex insanus--Larvae

  

Equal opportunity is vastly fairer than equity.






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