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My fellow Americans... bug law in the land of the free

legal law laws ant law

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Poll: Ant Law Poll (67 member(s) have cast votes)

Is US ant law fine as it is?

  1. yes (11 votes [16.42%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.42%

  2. no (44 votes [65.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 65.67%

  3. uncertian (12 votes [17.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.91%

Is US ant law keeping the hobby from growing?

  1. yes a lot (22 votes [32.84%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.84%

  2. yes a little (26 votes [38.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.81%

  3. not really (15 votes [22.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 22.39%

  4. don't know (4 votes [5.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.97%

Are ant keeping hobbyists dangerous to the environment?

  1. Yes, and something should be done. It's a huge problem. (1 votes [1.49%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.49%

  2. To a small degree yes. Concern is merited. (17 votes [25.37%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.37%

  3. Rarely. It's just a few people who make bad choices. The concern is overblown. (42 votes [62.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.69%

  4. Not at all. The concern is totally misplaced. (7 votes [10.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.45%

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#21 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 22 2021 - 3:02 AM

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Thanks for the interesting topic, consider this perspective:

Non-native things can and have caused real damage to
-property
-native species
-human beings

We decide to limit this damage within the US by
-trying to keep non-native things out
-limiting transport across state lines

As far as it being a patchwork, welcome to the USA! It does seem relatively straightforward for our hobby though, no transport over state lines except by permit.
Things may not be as complex as we’d like to accommodate our hobby, however you can maybe take comfort is knowing that these laws are pretty effective at keeping industrial and research folks in line. An individual hobbyist, with a colony from the next state over in your closet? I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted for something like that.

Worth noting that ant queens check some pretty major boxes for potential invasive animals to make extra effort to keep in place, I’m shocked by how easily they can be bought and sold on places like ebay.

I couldn’t put it better myself! Thank you.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#22 Offline antsandmore - Posted July 22 2021 - 8:25 AM

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I think we should focus on whatever most of us can agree on. There have to be some things. Is there some other kind of pet whose laws we might use as a model?

bees maybe. i'm pretty sure the law for bees are similar to ants.


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Ants I am keeping:

 none for now, planning on being more active this year


#23 Offline KadinB - Posted July 22 2021 - 11:31 AM

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I’ve thought about this also. Where I live it’s a complete different climate and stuff then so cal. We have no honey pots here I think we have Pogonomyrmex cali which I have seen in a town next to me and are native. There is also veromessor andrei here. But we don’t have a lot of desert spe and stuff. I live 2 hours up north of the Bay Area. There are no deserts here at all it’s mostly just the valley which is just a bunch of dead vegetation during summer but then winter it’s sometimes green. It’s just fields and hill of dead vegetation. Then we have the mountains all around us which at around 1500 elevation there are pine trees and stuff and I have found a ton of spe you can’t find in the valley. Forgot or mention the valley is 50-200 elevation. I keep spe that can only be found in Southern California to. So there’s novomessor cockrelli which can only be found at the Arizona border and can legally be shipped all around California which is weird how that’s legal but I can’t collect a spe found near the say Nevada border and that spe is native to Cali. More native then novomessor. I may have some errors in this message and some things may not make since. I’m in the hospital Rn waiting to have surgery for my wrist so I had to type all this fast.


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#24 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 22 2021 - 11:44 AM

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I’ve thought about this also. Where I live it’s a complete different climate and stuff then so cal. We have no honey pots here I think we have Pogonomyrmex cali which I have seen in a town next to me and are native. There is also veromessor andrei here. But we don’t have a lot of desert spe and stuff. I live 2 hours up north of the Bay Area. There are no deserts here at all it’s mostly just the valley which is just a bunch of dead vegetation during summer but then winter it’s sometimes green. It’s just fields and hill of dead vegetation. Then we have the mountains all around us which at around 1500 elevation there are pine trees and stuff and I have found a ton of spe you can’t find in the valley. Forgot or mention the valley is 50-200 elevation. I keep spe that can only be found in Southern California to. So there’s novomessor cockrelli which can only be found at the Arizona border and can legally be shipped all around California which is weird how that’s legal but I can’t collect a spe found near the say Nevada border and that spe is native to Cali. More native then novomessor. I may have some errors in this message and some things may not make since. I’m in the hospital Rn waiting to have surgery for my wrist so I had to type all this fast.


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May your recovery be well.  Thanks for your input.


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#25 Offline KadinB - Posted July 22 2021 - 12:46 PM

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I’ve thought about this also. Where I live it’s a complete different climate and stuff then so cal. We have no honey pots here I think we have Pogonomyrmex cali which I have seen in a town next to me and are native. There is also veromessor andrei here. But we don’t have a lot of desert spe and stuff. I live 2 hours up north of the Bay Area. There are no deserts here at all it’s mostly just the valley which is just a bunch of dead vegetation during summer but then winter it’s sometimes green. It’s just fields and hill of dead vegetation. Then we have the mountains all around us which at around 1500 elevation there are pine trees and stuff and I have found a ton of spe you can’t find in the valley. Forgot or mention the valley is 50-200 elevation. I keep spe that can only be found in Southern California to. So there’s novomessor cockrelli which can only be found at the Arizona border and can legally be shipped all around California which is weird how that’s legal but I can’t collect a spe found near the say Nevada border and that spe is native to Cali. More native then novomessor. I may have some errors in this message and some things may not make since. I’m in the hospital Rn waiting to have surgery for my wrist so I had to type all this fast.


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May your recovery be well. Thanks for your input.
thx any second now they should put me to sleep.


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#26 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted July 22 2021 - 1:37 PM

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I think the current blanket ban on ants and other plant pests has a few glaring issues.

1: Species that are native to multiple states still cannot be transported between the states in which they are native, despite border colonies doing this naturally nearly every day.

2: Only the transport of ants between state lines is illegal, not actually keeping exotic species. Exotic ants that were imported via another source (I. E. a greenhouse) are legal to be kept by a hobbyist, as the hobbyist did not transport those ants between any state lines.

3: Ants that are native to states with wildly varying environments and climates can be transported freely within that state. Clearly there is hardly a concern for transporting ants of wildly different climates within their own state, so why is this a concern out of their state? Novomessor has just as good of a chance of getting established in Northern California as they do other northern states like Massachusetts or Wisconsin. When it's a clear non-threat to the environment, a regulation is redundant and unnecessary. 

4: The only reason why ants are restricted in the first place is their concern to the USDA as a plant pest, specifically to agricultural land and crops. This is a genuine concern with certain species, such as Atta, who can demolish large numbers of plants in a limited amount of time, or species like Solenopsis invicta, which is estimated to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in crop losses per year. However, the US has many native ants that are nearly 100% carnivorous, such as most Ponerinae, Amblyoponinae, Proceratinae, etc., which are all still restricted despite clearly not being a threat to any plants or agriculture.

5: Pogonomyrmex occidentalis. P. occidentalis being the one species to have essentially no regulations on interstate transit is pure idiocy. Being one of the most cold tolerant Pogonomyrmex species, their threshold for establishment in northeastern and midwestern states is far higher than the majority of other species, including most Pogonomyrmex and others. I strongly believe that sandy prairies in states like Illinois and Wisconsin could easily harbor exotic P. occidentalis populations, and if these populations were established they would almost certainly be damaging to native fauna. If P. occidentalis is without regulations for most states, then surely other species such as other Pogonomyrmex species and various other ants with niche habitats or diets that are unlikely to establish exotic populations outside of their state should also have their regulations lifted.
 


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#27 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted July 22 2021 - 2:17 PM

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The whole P. occidentalis thing has always confused me as well.
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#28 Offline Manitobant - Posted July 22 2021 - 2:32 PM

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I'm pretty sure they legalized occidentalis because they are the ants sold in the toy uncle milton farms. Workers were already being transported like crazy, so might as well legalize the queens.
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#29 Offline NicholasP - Posted July 22 2021 - 3:00 PM

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I think the current blanket ban on ants and other plant pests has a few glaring issues.

1: Species that are native to multiple states still cannot be transported between the states in which they are native, despite border colonies doing this naturally nearly every day.

2: Only the transport of ants between state lines is illegal, not actually keeping exotic species. Exotic ants that were imported via another source (I. E. a greenhouse) are legal to be kept by a hobbyist, as the hobbyist did not transport those ants between any state lines.

3: Ants that are native to states with wildly varying environments and climates can be transported freely within that state. Clearly there is hardly a concern for transporting ants of wildly different climates within their own state, so why is this a concern out of their state? Novomessor has just as good of a chance of getting established in Northern California as they do other northern states like Massachusetts or Wisconsin. When it's a clear non-threat to the environment, a regulation is redundant and unnecessary. 

4: The only reason why ants are restricted in the first place is their concern to the USDA as a plant pest, specifically to agricultural land and crops. This is a genuine concern with certain species, such as Atta, who can demolish large numbers of plants in a limited amount of time, or species like Solenopsis invicta, which is estimated to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in crop losses per year. However, the US has many native ants that are nearly 100% carnivorous, such as most Ponerinae, Amblyoponinae, Proceratinae, etc., which are all still restricted despite clearly not being a threat to any plants or agriculture.

5: Pogonomyrmex occidentalis. P. occidentalis being the one species to have essentially no regulations on interstate transit is pure idiocy. Being one of the most cold tolerant Pogonomyrmex species, their threshold for establishment in northeastern and midwestern states is far higher than the majority of other species, including most Pogonomyrmex and others. I strongly believe that sandy prairies in states like Illinois and Wisconsin could easily harbor exotic P. occidentalis populations, and if these populations were established they would almost certainly be damaging to native fauna. If P. occidentalis is without regulations for most states, then surely other species such as other Pogonomyrmex species and various other ants with niche habitats or diets that are unlikely to establish exotic populations outside of their state should also have their regulations lifted.
 

Cheeto just explained what I was trying to say earlier this week in a much easier way for people to understand. 


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#30 Offline gcsnelling - Posted July 22 2021 - 3:45 PM

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A couple of things folks are forgetting here.

 

1. Just because it appears that the species occurs in more than one state. It is not at all impossible for there to be more than one look alike species involved and considering the level of taxonomic competence of the average ant hobbyist the odds of the mimic species being properly identified is virtually nil.

 

2. It is entirely possible that the members of a population in one location are hosts to parasites or a pathogen to which they may be resistant but the population in adjoining state are not. Personally I have no problem with the situation as it is, although admittedly some overall clarification would be nice.


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#31 Offline KadinB - Posted July 22 2021 - 4:49 PM

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I'm pretty sure they legalized occidentalis because they are the ants sold in the toy uncle milton farms. Workers were already being transported like crazy, so might as well legalize the queens.

yea that’s what I was told


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#32 Offline JamesJohnson - Posted July 22 2021 - 5:06 PM

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2: Only the transport of ants between state lines is illegal, not actually keeping exotic species. Exotic ants that were imported via another source (I. E. a greenhouse) are legal to be kept by a hobbyist, as the hobbyist did not transport those ants between any state lines.

 

If someone who had a permit for an exotic species captive bred them and then gave them away to people who didn't have permits, would that be legal? I agree with your points on how the law doesn't make sense, either way you slice it, whether for or against exotics, it definitely needs a rework.


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#33 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 22 2021 - 5:38 PM

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A couple of things folks are forgetting here.

1. Just because it appears that the species occurs in more than one state. It is not at all impossible for there to be more than one look alike species involved and considering the level of taxonomic competence of the average ant hobbyist the odds of the mimic species being properly identified is virtually nil.

2. It is entirely possible that the members of a population in one location are hosts to parasites or a pathogen to which they may be resistant but the population in adjoining state are not. Personally I have no problem with the situation as it is, although admittedly some overall clarification would be nice.

Well put! Thank you.
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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.

#34 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted July 22 2021 - 5:55 PM

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A couple of things folks are forgetting here.

 

1. Just because it appears that the species occurs in more than one state. It is not at all impossible for there to be more than one look alike species involved and considering the level of taxonomic competence of the average ant hobbyist the odds of the mimic species being properly identified is virtually nil.

 

2. It is entirely possible that the members of a population in one location are hosts to parasites or a pathogen to which they may be resistant but the population in adjoining state are not. Personally I have no problem with the situation as it is, although admittedly some overall clarification would be nice.

Taxonomic issues should be considered, I agree. However they are not as common or widespread as many common US ants are, especially in states that are more well studied. There are certainly more sophisticated ways to deal with them rather than a blanket ban.

I have heard the argument about transmitting parasites, pathogens, or other various diseases, and while this is possibly a valid argument, the current ant laws actually cover this in a completely different way. It's not regulated by an interstate transit ban, but rather the fact that all plant pests, including ants, are illegal to release from captivity, ever. Yes, this is an actual law. I bet most people have never heard of it, because for some reason the antkeeping community only cares about the interstate transit ban and no other parts of the law.

I can't find the section where this is said on hand, but I'm sure I could with some digging and asking around. Even in the exact location where the ant was collected, you are unable to re-release them in the wild for the exact reason of spreading pathogens. With this regulation in place, surely interstate transit should have at least some restrictions lifted, no? Also, if the antkeeping community really cared about this possibility, surely they wouldn't be encouraging people to release colonies that they no longer want, or queens that end up being infertile. 

 

 

2: Only the transport of ants between state lines is illegal, not actually keeping exotic species. Exotic ants that were imported via another source (I. E. a greenhouse) are legal to be kept by a hobbyist, as the hobbyist did not transport those ants between any state lines.

 

If someone who had a permit for an exotic species captive bred them and then gave them away to people who didn't have permits, would that be legal? I agree with your points on how the law doesn't make sense, either way you slice it, whether for or against exotics, it definitely needs a rework.

 

I believe it would be a violation of the permit, as the permits only allow the species to be held at the address listed at the permit and not spread. If the permit holder moves or moves the ants to a new address, the permit needs to be updated. However, the recipient(s) of the exotic species would not be breaking any laws.


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#35 Offline yaboiseth - Posted July 22 2021 - 6:06 PM

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I plan to just establish an ant room that meets the permit requirements on containment, for me as a working adult with some disposable income it may not be much of an issue, but for many of you younger folks, living at home with the folks, or living on your own in an apartment, you may not have the financial and physical location capacities to even consider permit application as you could not meet its basic requirements.  

That's what sucks about the permits. Alot of requirements. I plan on converting a walk in closet into an ant room in the future although I doubt I could still pass for a permit as I have kids and will be in an apartment.


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#36 Offline yaboiseth - Posted July 22 2021 - 6:17 PM

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I also noticed in the Ant Keeping discord, they want to make a case for the USDA regarding permits not being that accessible.


Edited by yaboiseth, July 22 2021 - 6:17 PM.

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#37 Offline KadinB - Posted July 22 2021 - 6:21 PM

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I also heard it’s legal to buy a exotic spe in your state. Basically if someone illegally imports them and sells them in there own state it’s legal on the buyers end which doesn’t make any sense.


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#38 Offline yaboiseth - Posted July 22 2021 - 6:28 PM

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I also heard it’s legal to buy a exotic spe in your state. Basically if someone illegally imports them and sells them in there own state it’s legal on the buyers end which doesn’t make any sense.


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It could be because the buyer didn't import them themselves, which is the illegal part.


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#39 Offline KadinB - Posted July 22 2021 - 7:39 PM

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I also heard it’s legal to buy a exotic spe in your state. Basically if someone illegally imports them and sells them in there own state it’s legal on the buyers end which doesn’t make any sense.


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It could be because the buyer didn't import them themselves, which is the illegal part.
yea that’s sometimes the case. I have met people in Cali that sell spe they import from Europe.


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#40 Offline KadinB - Posted July 22 2021 - 7:42 PM

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I also heard it’s legal to buy a exotic spe in your state. Basically if someone illegally imports them and sells them in there own state it’s legal on the buyers end which doesn’t make any sense.


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It could be because the buyer didn't import them themselves, which is the illegal part.
yea that’s sometimes the case. I have met people in Cali that sell spe they import from Europe.


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