Jump to content

  • Chat

Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

- - - - -

Newbie Help - Dying Queens and Formicaria Recommendations!

virginia dying queen formicaria recommendation new help

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Hufflez - Posted June 6 2018 - 7:52 PM



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • LocationGlen Allen, VA

Hello Formiculture,


I am in desperate need of assistance. I currently live in Glen Allen, VA which is a suburb near Richmond and have become fascinated with ants. Last year, in July, I reached out to the GAN project for some assistance getting a queen after countless hours searching for my own to no avail.


Luckily there was a "dealer" in my area offering a large colony of 100+ Camponotus ants and a queen for $50, but after meeting with him to find a tupperware container with around 10 ants full of unsterilized dirt and a serious mold problem, I was frustrated to say the least. I followed his instructions of only watering the dirt under the surface and feeding them cut up mealworms which never really got eaten and eventually found the dead queen on the surface.


When I contacted the guy who I purchased them from he offered me a new colony for free in exchange for the dead queen and we scheduled to meet up again but after once again finding out the new ants had not only mold but also mites I pretty much gave up and decided to take a break when they died shortly after coming into my possession.


It's been almost a year and I really want to get back into the hobby. The last few weeks my interest became reinvigorated, so I started looking for queens. At first I couldn't find any but eventually, after about three hours of searching near the local pool, I found one. A queen still with wings and a few meters away from a nearby colony. After walking very slowly and carefully for about an hour to an hour an a half around 7:30 - 9:00 I found two more! I was so excited and put the ants in my humid 80F garage. The next morning at 8:00, two of the queens with wings were dead (not male) and the one queen without wings was barely moving. I head off to work upset and got home to find the last queen dead at 5:00 and luckily found three more that evening. This time I stored them in my 70F house. They survived the night but after work today I found two more dead queens curled up. The last one I moved to my laundry room which stays at about 75-80F, due to me covering the vent. See pictures below. AntsNoVA let me know this was tapinoma sessile and needs high humidity so I'm trying to improvise a way to heat the water near the cotton so it will create a more humid environment. 


TLDR: Had bad experience purchasing queens and keeping newly caught queens alive for more than 24 hours .


What am I doing wrong!? I have followed every step from how to scoop them up, how far into the water to put the cotton, researching ant species and mold types! (ordering new test tubes from AC in case the other ones may have had bad chemicals) Any advice from others who struggled? (1)


I am thinking about purchasing some ants from AntsNoVA. He lives in the Virginia area and is offering to ship me two Camponotus Castenous colonies one colony with 20 workers and one colony with 3 nanitics both in Devolve Chambers from Tar Heel Ants for $150.  This is much higher price than my first colony and don't know if I'm getting a good deal. Should I accept shipping or try to meet him in person? (Same price either way) Is this a good deal? (2)


What formicaria do you use and recommend? I was interested in AntsCanada Omninest is this a good option? What are some of the best formicaria or companies? What companies should I avoid? (3)



(yes I'm 16 and my fingers are nasty) <3




can't attatch JPG?


  • Enderz likes this

#2 Offline Canadian anter - Posted June 6 2018 - 8:09 PM

Canadian anter


  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,530 posts
  • LocationToronto,Canada

Sounds like an okay deal to me. I think the AC nests aren't the best and you shouldn't really worry about formicaria at all for now.

  • dermy likes this
Visit us at www.canada-ant-colony.com !

#3 Offline T.C. - Posted June 6 2018 - 8:23 PM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,021 posts
  • LocationWisconsin

Welcome to formiculture. What a wonderfully put together post this is. (Other than the images) Firstly, it sounds like the guy who sold you your first two colonies was a rip off and more than likely knew both colonies had issues. As for these other queens you caught, you had to have done something wrong for them all to die like that. Queens should be setup in test tube setups with the cotton pushed a little under halfway back for the water reservoir.  The cotton that blocks the front should be just blocking the very entrance of the tube. And keep them in your house. 70's is an ideal founding temperature.


As for formicaria, AntsCanada nests will work, but I would not advice them for the price. Also stay away from 117colonies.com as those who order from there don't receive what they ordered.. and by that I mean they get nothing at all. I would personally recommend tarheelants, or antsaustralia's nests which you can buy both of at https://www.antkeepingdepot.com.


Good luck!


  • Enderz likes this


If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

#4 Offline Enderz - Posted June 6 2018 - 10:20 PM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 393 posts

First of all, to embed pictures use: http://www.formicult...o-post-photos/ or  https://www.youtube....h?v=_DeLb9SznoY


Secondly, it seems you are simply having bad luck but, are you washing the test tubes out with soap or bleach? If you are this may be a cause of death for your new queens. I would also suggest not buying tubes from AC and instead some other (online) source. There are plenty of good guides for Camponotus out there that should help you (lots of "journals" on this forum that may be useful). Your first purchasing experience seemed to be a scam, but if this new guy seems credible then (if you have the money) you could buy from him. Good Luck in your endeavors and always remember to enjoy this hobby!



P.S. the tube that you showed doesn't seem to give the queen enough space, look at TC's tube as an example to follow.

Edited by EnderzATwar411, June 6 2018 - 10:22 PM.

:morning:  :hot:  :hot:  :hot:

Ex igne et in infernum. 

#5 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted June 7 2018 - 9:00 AM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 389 posts
  • LocationTexas

You definitely bought from a scammer. We have plenty of toxic people like that in Texas, so I understand where you're coming from. I recommend you order tubes from here: https://www.amazon.c...ords=test tubes (be sure to not use the plastic stoppers, the queens will run out of air.  Use cotton instead) 


Next, to keep things simple, find yourself a fully-claustral queen. Then, make a test tube setup like the one T.C. featured, and place the queen inside. 


After that, you'll need to find a location to place your test tube colonies/queens. I use my closet, which is room temperature and dark most of the time. Perhaps your garage is too hot. Try your closet, or maybe a drawer? 


Once your colonies get around 10 workers, I recommend ordering a Mini-Hearth Type III. It'll last your ants quite a while, but eventually you may need to look into a larger outworld. You can connect a Mini-Hearth to a seperate outworld by drilling a hole in the outworld, and then connecting the Mini-Hearth to that hole via tubing. These things are pretty good expansion outworlds: https://www.containe...able rectangles ("Narrow Stackable Rectangle Clear")


Here's a guide for that Mini Hearth by the way: https://www.youtube....h?v=ZH5d1sFpuBQ


And here's some videos that are generally helpful to beginners:




P.S. If you ever buy ants from someone else, you should always ask for pictures to check conditions. 

Edited by Ants_Texas, June 7 2018 - 9:04 AM.

#6 Offline AntsBC - Posted June 7 2018 - 6:31 PM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 317 posts
  • LocationBritish Columbia, Canada

I find that AntsCanada formicariums can be quite big for smaller colonies, so i would advise buying a smaller formicarium to start with (I recommend Ants Australia). You can make a formicarium on your own if you don't want to buy one as well (There are lots of helpful videos on how to do that on youtube). As for your ant problem, i wouldn't stress about it. In my first couple years of antkeeping i was having the same troubles. I find that just researching antkeeping or spending time on forums like this one can really boost your knowledge. Also, don't stress about not finding queens. Nuptial flights are only beginning  in north america (excluding camponotus) so i'm sure if you keep your eyes pealed you will be sure to find some more queens. Good luck!

My Active Journals:


Formica pacifica

Formica planipilis (Parasitic sp.)


Instagram // YouTube 

#7 Offline Major - Posted June 11 2018 - 5:17 PM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • LocationRochester, New York
I’ve heard ants Australia nests are good, ordered one recently too. Some say they like THA type II. Omni nest is too big

Edited by The_NY_Major, June 11 2018 - 5:18 PM.

"You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

My Ants For Sale

My Ant Journal


Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: virginia, dying, queen, formicaria, recommendation, new, help

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users