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Beginner guy with questions

beginner hibernation beginner species tropical species pheidole central european species south european species

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#1 Offline Jai - Posted May 11 2022 - 12:01 PM

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Hi guys, thanks for the add 1f601.png I'm from Hungary, with exactly zero antkeeping experience. I keep a lot of other pets, mostly cichlids and some chicken. My other hobbies include writing, chili peppers, martial arts and history.

I've been doing research for a while and got a bit confused about some things. I've been reading stuff in the "good beginner species" topic (I mean, not as a topic in this site) and well, it's confusing af. What would you say which are less risky to keep, some hardier tropical species that obviously doesn't need hibernation or some native species (in this case, Central-European) that needs hibernation? Or even some South-European species that only needs a milder hibernation? In this case the hibernation is definitely an... inteesting thing tbh. On the one hand I'm kinda afraid of screwing it up, also not a fan of not seeing any ants for several months. (Also dunno where to hibernate them, fridge is not an option and garage may be too cold.) On the other hand in the winter exam period I spend less time in the rent I live in so hibernation would make some stuff easier.
Also, in either case what are some species you would recommend? I'm kinda fond of Pheidole but they're said to be really-really small and escapre artists. 
Sorry for the lot of questions guys, I've been trying to figure it out on my own but I'm kinda lost right now.

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#2 Offline United-Ants - Posted May 11 2022 - 12:21 PM

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welcome to the forum  :)



#3 Online Dumpling - Posted May 11 2022 - 9:06 PM

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Welcome to the forum! I would recommend most Camponotus species as a beginner ant. When you figure out what species you would like to keep you can look for ant keeping journals about that species and ask questions in general ant keeping. Good luck! I hope you enjoy this hobby as much as many of us on this forum.


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My all in one journal: https://www.formicul...-april-22-2022/

 


#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 12 2022 - 1:59 AM

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In your area, I would recommend Lasius niger or emarginatus if you can get them. Crematogaster scutellaris is another good one. Hibernation is not very difficult to do, and it’s quite nice to get a break from your ants after a while. There are threads on here that can help you with it.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#5 Offline Jai - Posted May 12 2022 - 6:50 AM

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 and it’s quite nice to get a break from your ants after a while

My main problem with hibernation, apart from that it seems difficult (maybe isn't, dunno yet) is this: ants are the only pets I can keep in the rent I live in due to really serious space issues and like I said I wouldn't be a fan of not seeing the only animals I can keep here from November to March, more than half of the time I spend here. Also, I can't put them into the fridge because it totally full with my flatmates' food all the time nor to the garage because it'd be too cold. So if it's a hibernating species then it should better be one that only requires mild hibernation (some Mediterrean guy), or it should not hibernate at all, I can handle that a bit better. (Don't get me wrong, I love Lasius, they're cute little midgets but still.) 
My problem is that I dunno which species should I look at. I'm really a fan of big heads so I was toying with the idea of either Messor or Pheidole but dunno. 



#6 Offline Jai - Posted May 12 2022 - 6:51 AM

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I would recommend most Camponotus species as a beginner ant. 

Aren't they really slow breeders tho? Except for nicobarensis. 



#7 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted May 12 2022 - 11:15 AM

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 and it’s quite nice to get a break from your ants after a while

My main problem with hibernation, apart from that it seems difficult (maybe isn't, dunno yet) is this: ants are the only pets I can keep in the rent I live in due to really serious space issues and like I said I wouldn't be a fan of not seeing the only animals I can keep here from November to March, more than half of the time I spend here. Also, I can't put them into the fridge because it totally full with my flatmates' food all the time nor to the garage because it'd be too cold. So if it's a hibernating species then it should better be one that only requires mild hibernation (some Mediterrean guy), or it should not hibernate at all, I can handle that a bit better. (Don't get me wrong, I love Lasius, they're cute little midgets but still.) 
My problem is that I dunno which species should I look at. I'm really a fan of big heads so I was toying with the idea of either Messor or Pheidole but dunno. 

 

If you don't want to deal with hibernation, Novomessor cockerelli is a good one. Similar to Camponotus, but not hibernation needed. The only problem with those, is that you need to give them heat through a heat cable, or heating pad. Pheidole is good if you are looking for a faster growing species.


Edited by AntsCali098, May 12 2022 - 11:21 AM.


#8 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted May 12 2022 - 11:19 AM

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I would recommend most Camponotus species as a beginner ant. 

Aren't they really slow breeders tho? Except for nicobarensis. 

 

True, but slower growing ants are better for beginners, because you don have to worry about moving them into a nest for a while, and you have plenty of time to learn about them. If you do get a queen, make SURE to limit you checking on her to once a week, although the longer she is undisturbed the better. You don need to feed most species during this stage, so put her in a dark place that you don't use much, like a drawer that you don't usually open. It is very important that you don't check on the queen much to avoid stress. Once you get a colony there is a lot of things to research to help you through the way and many tip and tricks to make your life easier, so do your research before the queen gets workers, and you'll have a better chance of growing a colony. There are also plenty of youtube tutorials that are helpful. I suggest Jordan Dean, but stay away from Antscanada because there is some false information and stuff he left out in that video. You can't really shorten the ant keeping journey to 19 minutes.


Edited by AntsCali098, May 12 2022 - 11:25 AM.


#9 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 12 2022 - 12:07 PM

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I think most Myrmicines can do fine without hibernating, so Crematogaster, Pheidole, and Messor could still be good choices. Many ant-keepers buy cheap mini-fridges for hibernating ants. Could that be a possibility?
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#10 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted May 13 2022 - 11:21 AM

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I think most Myrmicines can do fine without hibernating, so Crematogaster, Pheidole, and Messor could still be good choices. Many ant-keepers buy cheap mini-fridges for hibernating ants. Could that be a possibility?

I use a wine cooler, works okay as well



#11 Offline aznphenom - Posted May 13 2022 - 11:28 AM

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I am constantly on the look out for super cheap even free mini fridges, wine coolers, or full size fridges. Parents always love extra fridges. I actually got a free mini fridge but doesnt to leave it at work for my own soda fridge.


Keeps: Atta Texana, Odontomachus haematodus, Crematogaster Sp., Prenolepis imparis, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus chromaiodes

 

Wants (Please reach out if you have them for sale if you’re in the US): Acromyrmex Sp., Atta Mexicana, Cephalotes Sp., Myrmecocystus Sp (Prefer Mexicanus), Odontomachus Sp. (Prefer Desertorum), Pachycondyla Sp., Pheidole Sp (Prefer Rhea. The bigger the better. Not the tiny bicarinata), Pogonomyrmex Sp., Pseudomyrmex Sp. (Prefer the cute yellow ones)

 


#12 Offline madbiologist - Posted May 14 2022 - 2:08 PM

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I'd go with a mix of hibernating and non-hibernating, gives you less work in the winter while still getting to watch your ants without a months-long break.


 

 

 

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