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OK I'm obsessed...


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#1 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 16 2021 - 7:25 AM

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Well, I'm obsessed with ants.   It's official.   

The problem I'm having is that their nests progress into large setups a bit quickly and keeping them as happy as possible just doesn't seem possible for more than a few colonies (I currently have 5, 3 of which are still in test tube setups).   That said, I have my Camponotus Discolor ants in a 29 gallon setup and so far they are exploding with pupae.   

So I have Camponotus Discolor (350 workers or so, including majors and what I call peewees) 

Camponotus Chromaides (6 workers with a fair amount of brood) 

Camponotus Novaboraensis {sp?} (5 workers and SOME brood... This is my challenge colony but I've had them for about 5 months now and the queen still seems very healthy.   I check on their food supply every day but other than that try to leave them alone.  That queen is by far my largest.  At LEAST two millimeters!) 

Trachymyrmex ants (not sure of the second name but they are indigenous to Illinois) that I LOVE.   Probably around 200 workers and 3 confirmed queens.  They have a tub in a tub colony.  THe smaller tub houses their original colony setup, with their fungus 'hive.'  I have recently added sand along the edges of the 'outworld tub' and they are burrowing like crazy.   It seems about 1/3 of the ants burrow, 1/3 stay in the nest to tend the fungus, and 1/3 collect food along the branches they have (I hang their leaves and herbs on the branches to keep them from molding against the damp substrate)

A small colony of black ants (EDIT:  I just remembered they are a Formica species)  I can't remember the name of... About 3/4 the size of Camponotus, and the queen has an almost silver gaster.  Found JUST under a log, I collected the queen and about a dozen workers.  They definitely have a solid sting that kind of hurts.  Not like a beesting but still... It is a respectful sting.   I'm totally blanking on their name.   Starts with a T.   They have the same amount of workers and she FINALLY laid eggs, which number about 30 or so.   

 

So yeah, I'm slightly obsessed.   I haven't learned their names but HAVE used your care sheets and other resources to try to give them the best care possible.   The three small colonies are in AntsCanada test tube hubs, so they have one tube of water and one tube of sugar water, and I feed them treats in the hub areas.   

Anyway, I'm rambling in my love of ants.   Unless I find something REALLY cool or an ant queen on my own, I'm, pretty sure I'll be happy with these 5 for now.   I also have 35 colonies of isopods to care for and several reptiles so... Busy hobbyist!  

 

If you got this far, Bless you for being so involved in these forums and it's members.   


Edited by cap_backfire, June 16 2021 - 9:01 AM.

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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 16 2021 - 9:07 AM

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Five is exactly the number of colonies I have, and I’m maxed out! I give all my colonies optimal care, so most are either at the point of getting alates or very nearly there. Caring for my largest colony is like caring for a small child, but thankfully not as expensive.
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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.


#3 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 16 2021 - 9:55 AM

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Amazing!  I love how fun and exciting they are to care for.  I'm always thrilled to see them erupt from the nest to feed on a cricket or mealworm or bit of raw honey.  It's just crazy how  they 'burrowed' into my heart.   

Glad to know an 'expert' keeper only keeps 5 species as well! It's really a great number to stop at.  Unless my test tube guys explode in population this year, I imagine they'll hibernate in their test tubes this year ( which will be great for space saving...) 



#4 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted June 16 2021 - 12:27 PM

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Honestly, even though I have an absurd number of colonies, I would say that it's maybe 5-10 that I just couldn't live without. I only have the others because I can. There's no point limiting yourself if you get overwhelmed; having fewer colonies just means you'll provide much better  care to those that you have.


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#5 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 16 2021 - 1:24 PM

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This whole thing is YOUR DAMN FAULT, Cheeto!   I would have never CONSIDERED ants until I met you.   Dang ole antkeepin teenagers, man with their dang ole homemade tupperware formicariums diggin up sand and crammin it full of ants and whatnots.   Dang old... Kids.   With their funk music.   Dang.  


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#6 Offline AntsLA - Posted June 18 2021 - 2:05 PM

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That's cool man I like ants too I have 3 colonies currently, solenopsis, pogonomyrmex, and linepithema. I could probably handle a few more but I like to keep them in huge planted terrariums and I can only fit so many of those in my room lol
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#7 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 19 2021 - 8:13 AM

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That's cool man I like ants too I have 3 colonies currently, solenopsis, pogonomyrmex, and linepithema. I could probably handle a few more but I like to keep them in huge planted terrariums and I can only fit so many of those in my room lol

Love this.  I'm already debating how to keep my next few as they grow.   Three of my colonies are very small in number and the large (350 or so with about 100 pupae ready to go) are in a 29 gallon, moss-filled terarrium with a (soon to be installed) waterfall feature.   They have isopods, millipedes and springtails in the tank with them and have JUST moved into the chambers I installed for them... Pics soon, I swear.   Been a busy... LIFE lately.   
I love the look and effort involved in making the planted terrariums for our ants.   It just feels so much more natural.   
My leaf cutters are in a very tall Hefty Tub and I plan to invert another one on top of it to keep them with stick insects as well (I was doing this previously but the stick insects died from eating gingko leaves... SO sad.   The ants were smart enough to leave those leaves alone).   

So far LOVING this hobby.  


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#8 Offline AntsLA - Posted June 22 2021 - 8:32 AM

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Sounds pretty sweet, I have a similar set up for my fire ants, they live communally with a number of different beetles, snails, salamanders, and any other creatures I happen to find while out hiking. I like these kind of large planted terrariums too because it allows you to observe all kinds of interesting behaviors and interactions that you wouldn't see otherwise.
Leaf cutters are awesome! Sort of a dream colony of mine lol good luck with those, would be a great looking set up with stick bugs.
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#9 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 23 2021 - 8:01 AM

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Sounds pretty sweet, I have a similar set up for my fire ants, they live communally with a number of different beetles, snails, salamanders, and any other creatures I happen to find while out hiking. I like these kind of large planted terrariums too because it allows you to observe all kinds of interesting behaviors and interactions that you wouldn't see otherwise.
Leaf cutters are awesome! Sort of a dream colony of mine lol good luck with those, would be a great looking set up with stick bugs.

Thanks!  Yeah the trachys are easily my favorite colony.   Somehow they have burrowed into the plaster base around the edges of the setup so they kind of move through that medium but have their fungus inside their chambers in the sand.   I could watch them for hours.  And they're so small you can watch their feeding trails through the setup and especially on the vertical space.   

How are your setups doing with snails?  I worry that the snails would interrupt the barrier I use to keep ants in their enclosure.   



#10 Offline AntsLA - Posted June 26 2021 - 4:09 PM

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Everything seems good so far, the snails have even begun to breed so I have a ton of tiny hatchling snails in there too. The ants seem to be thriving as well, about 200 strong right now. For the barrier I lay down a thick layer of petroleum jelly along the top of the glass about an inch wide, the ants and snails won't touch it, works great and only needs to be replaced every few months.
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#11 Offline cap_backfire - Posted June 29 2021 - 6:57 AM

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Love the idea of petroleum jelly... I applied talcum and alcohol but definitely have to replace it much more often than that.   I'll make the switch tonight, perhaps.   Solid advice!   



#12 Offline yaboiseth - Posted July 1 2021 - 7:38 PM

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I feel you on the obsessed part haha. Have an absurd amount of colonies right now, all gradually obtained within my 2-3 years of ant keeping though. Gonna sort and possibly sell any I don't want eventually, most likely when I move and get the space I really need for this addicting hobby lol.


Edited by yaboiseth, July 1 2021 - 7:39 PM.

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