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Kiedeerk's Epic multi-species Ant Keeping Journal

kiedeerk journal multi-species ant keeping epic

125 replies to this topic

#1 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 8 2023 - 7:15 PM

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Introduction

 

  • I am kieederk. I have been interested in ant keeping since at a very young age but started to seriously keep ants about 5 years ago. I am more known to the ant keeping community for my work in DIY formicariums. I have published many guides and taught many ant keepers here and on discord about how to make their own DIY formicariums. Because of I can make DIY formicariums, I am able to house many ant species without breaking the bank and able to provide my ants great environments to thrive and flourish. 

 

Disclosure

  • I do not condone the practice of breaking the law. The laws regarding ant keeping are very strict here in the USA. The proper method of obtaining species not native to your state is via USDA and application of PPQ 526 permit through APHIS.
  • This thread is not about discussing the legality and illegality of keeping these species and if it does go down this path. I will ask the moderators to lock this thread. 
  • I am a responsible ant keeper. These ants will stay within my ant room and be provided with the best care possible. They will be housed in my DIY formicariums that have escape proof mechanism.
  • For native species, once I am no longer interested in keeping them, they will either be released into the wild, sold to local ant keepers, or destroyed.
  • For non-native species, they will be destroyed if I no longer want to keep them or if the queen has passed.

 

Purpose of this Journal

 

  • To share my experience with a multitude of different ant species from all across the USA.
  • To provide others with information regarding the care of these species
  • To create care sheets/guides for some more difficult species
  • To discuss pitfalls and things to avoid in caring for these species
  • To share pictures and possible videos of these magnificent creatures in their day to day environment

 

Ant Species:

 

 

  • Previously kept/released/sold
  1. Formica subsericea (200-300 workers)
  2. Formica pallidefulva (200-300 workers)
  3. Aphaenogaster rudis (300+ workers)
  4. Aphaenogaster fulva (500+ workers)
  5. Aphaenogaster picea (300+ workers)
  6. Tetramorium immigrans (100-200 workers)
  7. Camponotus subbarbatus (300+ workers)
  8. Camponotus nearcticus (100-200 workers)
  9. Camponotus chromaoides (200+ workers)
  10. Proceratium silaceum (50-75 workers)
  11. Stigmatomma pallipes (10-15 workers)
  12. Myrmecina americana (100+ workers)
  13. Myrmica sp (100-200 workers)
  14. Temnothorax longispinosus (100+ workers)
  15. Lasius Americanus (100+ workers)
  16. Crematogaster cerasi (200+ workers)

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#2 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 8 2023 - 7:30 PM

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Camponotus castaneus

 

  • This is a large orange/red/chest nut colored subterranean camponotus species native to the all of eastern USA. They are attractive as they are large with beautiful orange colors that stands out. 
  • Much like other large camponotus species, they are slow growing and will require a proper hibernation period if they are from states that have cold winters.
  • Care wise they are similar to most other camponotus species. They enjoy sugar and will require a protein source in forms of insects.
  • I feed mine sugar water and a variety of insects such as fruit flies and insects from my yard. 

 

 

 

Attached Images

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#3 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 8 2023 - 7:37 PM

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Lasius aphidicola

  • This is a very common social parasitic lasius species. They tend to parasitize Lasius americanus or Lasius neoniger therefore they will require host workers and brood in order to successful found their colonies.
  • My first experience with parasitic species.
  • Once the queen was accepted and started to lay eggs. The care of this species isn't much different than claustral lasius species.
  • They enjoy sugar water very much and will take most form of prekilled insects

Attached Images

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#4 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 8 2023 - 7:47 PM

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Pogonomyrmex barbatus

 

  • Very common pogonomyrmex species in the south west of the USA. Create large mounds and craters in the wild. These are large and aggressive ants. 
  • They do not have major workers however the mature adult workers can reach 8-10 mm in length
  • I initially bought them thinking they were pogonomyrmex occidentalis however as they matured, they were correctly identified as P. Barbatus
  • The queens are fully claustral. Because these are a desert species, they require high heat to thrive and ample supply of fresh water.
  • Like all harvester species, they store seeds, Your nest will require a heat and humidity gradient ie areas of high humidity and also areas that is dry
  • They are fed with multiple seed types as well as proteins in form of insects and fish flakes

 

Attached Images

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#5 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 8 2023 - 8:00 PM

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Odontomachus clarus

 

  • Trap jaw species from the southwest USA. They have a reddish brown head and thorax with a black gaster.
  • Semi-claustral founding. I have founded all my semi claustral queens inside a test tube.
  • Like all trap jaw species they require substrate in order for the larva to spin cocoons. 
  • They require high protein feeds. During the founding stage, I was feeding the queen at least every other day if not daily.
  • They do best with small soft bodied insects such as fruit flies and termites. Once the colony gets to certain size, they will take on larger prey such as crickets. Mealworms and roaches are not as good as they have hard exoskeleton.
  • Larger colonies will require large amount of proteins daily. Sugar water not necessary

Attached Images

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#6 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted July 8 2023 - 8:34 PM

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Did you buy the trap jaw queen or did you find her?



#7 Offline Ernteameise - Posted July 9 2023 - 1:02 AM

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Very good pictures and information.

Thank you for sharing.



#8 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 9 2023 - 1:47 AM

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Myrmecocystus placodops 01

 

  • These are the largest honey pot ant species in the USA, native to the southwest. They have a black thorax and gaster with a beautiful cherry red head.
  • I did some research and reading through discord and this forum and learned that they are unpredictable and can die without any reason.
  • I purchase a couple queens of this species thinking some may not make it through founding stages.
  • To my surprise, they have been very easy to keep and are starting to explode in numbers. 
  • This is a desert species, so heating is required. I provide them with ample sugar water and almost daily feeding of small insects.

Attached Images

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#9 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 9 2023 - 2:02 AM

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Novomessor albisetosus

 

  • Common species in the southwestern USA, they are large and aggressive and very similar looking to aphaenogasters.
  • Queens are fully claustral. They enjoy insects but will also take sugar water and seeds/nuts.
  • Heating is required for them to thrive. 

Attached Images

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#10 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 9 2023 - 2:22 AM

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Pheidole Rhea

 

  • Largest pheidole species in the world. They have 3 casts (minor, major, and super major).
  • Queen of this species is very large rivaling large camponotus queens.
  • Queens are fully claustral but benefits from brood boosting in the early stages of founding.
  • They are considered harvesters and will store and consume only seeds however will thrive with ample protein supplements.
  • They are extremely fast growing actually too fast that I have to restrict their diet and heating in order to keep them in check. 

Attached Images

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#11 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 9 2023 - 2:30 AM

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Aphaenogaster Lamellidens

 

  • One of the larger aphaenogaster species in the eastern USA. 
  • Queens are fully claustral
  • Like other aphaenogaster species, they do not like open source of liquid.
  • Sugar water is not required for this species
  • They are take all forms of proteins including insects, fish flakes, raw meat
  • They will also intake seeds/nuts however you will have to crack the seeds in advance

Attached Images

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#12 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted July 9 2023 - 6:45 AM

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Amazing. Do you have super majors with rhea. Lamellidens is beautiful btw. You should consider fungus growers. Might be a nice addition

Edited by Jonathan5608, July 9 2023 - 9:12 AM.

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#13 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 9 2023 - 8:18 AM

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Impressive start to the journal! Are you still in Maryland?
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#14 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 9 2023 - 12:36 PM

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Amazing. Do you have super majors with rhea. Lamellidens is beautiful btw. You should consider fungus growers. Might be a nice addition


I have native trachymyrmex but currently not interested but maybe in the near future

Did you buy the trap jaw queen or did you find her?


Bought

#15 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 11 2023 - 1:52 AM

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Impressive start to the journal! Are you still in Maryland?


I am still there. I have a few more species to add but will keep journal fairly active.

#16 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted July 11 2023 - 3:58 PM

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What was the time range on obtaining the permit. Was thinking about applying but don’t know if it’s worth it.

#17 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 13 2023 - 7:40 PM

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Myrmica sp

 

  • Unknown as to which exact species. May need microscope in order to definitely identify. I have kept this similar species in the past and have gotten them to close than 200 workers before selling the colony to a local ant keeper.
  • There are quite common on the east coast. They tend to fly in the fall however a good time to catch these queens are in the spring when they come out of diapause and are foraging for food.
  • The queens are semi-claustral and will need feeding with sugar water and small insects especially when larvae arrive. Then you will need to feed daily or every other day
  • After the initial founding stages they are easy to care for. 
  • This new queen was caught last week on my after dinner walk. After about a week, queen has laid eggs already. I have started giving her sugar and fruit flies. 
  • Included is a picture of my old colony before it was sold off

Attached Images

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#18 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 13 2023 - 7:50 PM

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Camponotus pennsylvanicus and chromaiodes

 

  • The two most common camponotus species on the east coast. Both are wood dwelling, however they will inhabit different niche environments. 
  • They are similar in size and are considered beginner species of ant. Queens are fully claustral and does not require any feeding until workers arrive.
  • From egg to worker can take 1-2 months depending on ambient temperatures.
  • They are quite easy to catch on warm nights in the late spring. I will lump these two queens together as they are very similar. 

 

 

Attached Images

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#19 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 13 2023 - 8:00 PM

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Camponotus Nearcticus (yellow morph)

 

  • Small widespread camponotus species on the east coast. They are arboreal and nest in tree branches. 
  • In my experience, they are harder to found than the larger camponotus species.
  • Like most species in the temperate regions, they will need proper diapause in order to thrive. 
  • Otherwise they take sugar and insects like most ant species.
  • They can come in multiple shades of colors from jet black to reddish/brown to yellow and can sometimes be mistaken with Camponotus Caryae
  • This queen was caught in the late winter/early spring and was most likely a failed queen from last season. 
  • Because she has beautiful colors, I was going to give her a chance and with some feeding she was able to produce one nanitic

Attached Images

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#20 Offline kiedeerk - Posted July 13 2023 - 8:11 PM

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I was away on vacation for the last 5 days. 

 

My Placadops 01 colonies are doing well even with missing couple days of proteins.

 

First replete is here.

Attached Images

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