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)
PICTURES OF LAST QUEEN ):
(yes I'm 16 and my fingers are nasty)
can't attatch JPG?