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[VA] LF 1st time ants


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#1 Offline HelperMom - Posted April 7 2021 - 7:37 AM

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Hi,

 

I'm posting on behalf of my 17 year old.  He received an Ants Canada All You Need' Formica Hybrid 2.0 Gear Pack a couple years ago and hasn't been successful finding his own Queen to start it.  He knows more about all this than I do, but I thought I'd try to help him get started.  Since this will be his first colony, I guess we're looking for a beginner friendly species and any tips.  We live in Northern Virginia and willing to pick up anywhere around FFX and surrounding counties.  I'll give him this forum information in hopes he will join and learn from you all. Thanks!

 

Kristin


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#2 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted April 7 2021 - 7:52 AM

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Hey! Welcome to the forum! 

 

For a good beginner species Camponotus, Formica, Lasius and Crematogaster are great, and native to VA. Contact ANTdrew if you are interested in buying. He's got lots of great info as well.



#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 7 2021 - 3:37 PM

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I can definitely help out with some colonies if you’re interested.
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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 TennesseeAnts - Posted April 7 2021 - 4:30 PM

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I can definitely help out with some colonies if you’re interested.

I tagged you! :lol:



#5 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 7 2021 - 6:34 PM

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Thanks, bro.
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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.


#6 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted April 7 2021 - 6:49 PM

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Thanks, bro.

Anytime, dude.



#7 Offline Chickalo - Posted April 8 2021 - 11:24 AM

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Not too familiar with species in Virginia, but pretty the genera Camponotus, Formica, Lasius, and Tetramorium all live there (if you or your son doesn't know scientific get prepared to learn lol). 

Camponotus, known as carpenter ants or black ants, is pretty calm, they're big and easy to see, and they're slow growing (I believe the queen lays eggs in spring and in fall), so they won't get overwhelming.  Despite what a lot of people think, Camponotus DOES NOT eat wood, instead they either live underground, in the abandoned nests of termites, or chew through rotten wood.  They also get big majors, which are very cool to watch!  The only downside I can think of is queens like to die after getting works (I have no idea why).  They do bite and spray formic acid, but in my experience they are what I'll call "gentle giants."

I don't have much experience with Formica, but their also supposed to be good.  Commonly known as black or red ants, they tend to look like Camponotus, but two ways I've learned to identify them are:  A.  In North America, Formica have two bumps on their thorax whilst Camponotus is smooth, and B.  Formica only has one worker cast, Camponotus has three (Major, Media, Minor).  They also bite and spray formic acid, I don't know how aggressive they are though.  Be careful though, some Formica are parasitic.  Some have to raid other colonies for brood and workers, which are called Slave Making ants.  The other kind, temporary social parasites, has to find other colonies while queens, and infiltrate the colony like one big game of Among Us.  She kills the queen and makes the colony believe she is the queen.

Lasius is my favourite genus.  They don't really have a commonly used name since they are rarely scene above ground, but they've been called citronella ants and field ants.  They are smaller than Camponotus and Formica, but that doesn't mean their worse.  Some species are polygynous, or a colony can have multiple queens.  This means more workers, faster!  Some of them are also temporary social parasites, so make sure to send pictures for identification.  Lasius tends to be yellow to brown and small, you'll know them when you see them.  They tend to be subterranean, and some produce a citronella smell when disturbed.  Most of them spray formic acid.  They're small enough that you don't need to worry about biting too much.

Tetramorium, sometimes known as fire ants or red ants, is an invasive species brought to the Americas from Eurasia.  They are very quick growing and tiny.  At small sizes, keeping them can be fun, but once they get to a big size they can be hard to contain.  The great thing about Tetramorium is that they are opportunists.  They will eat practically anything dropped into their outworld.  They have a sting and bite.  I've never been stung, so I can't tell you the pain, but I'm sure almost every other person who has kept Tetramorium has been stung at some time.

If you read this entire thing without getting bored, congratulations!  There are definitely other species that live there, but those are the ones I known/think live there.  I also recommend TarheelAnts, which is a great store for ant keeping.  They sell formicaria (fancy term for ant farms), and ants.  They have Formica subsericea and Pogonomyrmex occidentalis, both are easy to keep.  The formicaria also come with an option to check for cracks if you have species that have been known to escape (I'm looking at you, Tetramorium). 


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#8 Online Kaelwizard - Posted April 9 2021 - 12:51 PM

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Chickalo, Tetramorium are pavement ants, Solenopsis are fire ants.
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