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  2. My favorite native species would be Trachymyrmex Occidentalis, although it’s extremely rare. Next would probably be pheidole for the fast growth and polymorphism
  3. My favorite native species is Camponotus americanus, and camponotus are my favorite in general. My favorite exotic species is Dorymyrmex gigas, just because of how large they get, but in reality, if I had to pick I wouldn't be able to to just because there are so many cool species. If you want plenty of antkeeping info from experienced keepers, you should join the Ohio ants discord here: https://discord.gg/MyqbK8g
  4. Yes I actually do have both a favorite native species and a favorite exotic species. Native: Solenopsis molesta, I just cant get enough of the large colonies and explosive growth (for native species) Exotic: Daceton boltoni, I just love the shape of their head and the fact that they dont suck to keep unlike most other odd looking/shaped ants. Their colonies get relatively large, as do their workers. queens are upwards of 23mm, I hear they are up to 29mm while their larger workers are up to about 22mm (smaller workers are like 4-6mm)
  5. Does anyone have a favorite ant species (exotic or native) that would be their greatest antkeeping dream come true? Mine is Carebara castanea because the dimorphism between the queen and workers!
  6. AdamAnt


  7. Romie

    Created as guest

  8. Are you able to get a photo so we can confirm species and give others an idea of what this critter looks like?
  9. Hey Dork, I found out that they have a very specialized diet of spider eggs, dead ants and insect larvae she is eating a dead Tapinoma sessile worker as we speak she is amazingly small and is very slow to react to anything and is not bothered by light or anything, she is very calm I have been told to keep her in a petri dish setup but I am unfamiliar with that setup and I will put some soil in her tube as well
  10. DinoStarHD


  11. Pheidole Pillfera Pillfera are quite rare in ohio, Bicarinata and Dentana are the 2 most common i have caught both once or twice, tysoni is VERY RARE and is probably more the eastern half of the state than the southeastern corner they have been found in new york and the surrounding states as well so more likely to be the eastern half
  12. im doin the garage this year or i could place it in our old duck house its mildly insolated and shouldnt get that cold but cold enough to keep em snoozin and alive
  13. this is Forest here I just caught a Proceratium cf. pergandei queen and IM SUPER PSYCHED no photos due to a crappy phone she is like 3mm long and is dark red, very hard to spot. caught at 7:15pm in between a log and a brick presumably a dusk flyer still has wings, more than likely mated if she is successfull this will be great but if she dies I will preserve her using the hand sanatizer trick that i have yet do do with my Camponotus caryae queen until next time Forest
  14. I said "plan in place" by October. You don't have to hibernate til like Thanksgiving.
  15. Big_Blue_Dog

    Created as guest

  16. This is a fantastic write up, thank you! Do you mind including a few photos of your setup?
  17. or actually I think October 1st like u said
  18. ok thank you dork I think I will move mine into my garage in late October
  19. If you don't plan on hibernating your ants or won't have a solid plan in place by October, release them now, please. It is enormously important for the health, comfort and flat our survival of your colonies and proper hibernation is every bit as important as proper feeding. If not hibernated properly the BEST case scenario is they will survive, not lay next year and the lifespan of your queens and workers will all go down dramatically. After laying dozens or hundreds or even thousands of eggs during the Spring/Summer/Fall, your queens need (and deserve) a rest. All native Ohio ants need to be hibernated. Opinions on the ideal temperature vary. But most agree that 40-45 or 40-50 seems about right. However, it is not as simple as putting them in the fridge at 45 degrees when November rolls around. Ants survive winters, sometimes in extended sub-freezing temperatures because they create a “biological anti-freeze” that makes their hemolymph (similar to our blood) unable to freeze at temperatures that they normally would. This substance is called glycerol and is biochemically manufactured. This means THEY NEED TIME to prepare and produce this. Pop them in the fridge at normal fridge temperatures and they may die in hours. But if you give them a few weeks to get ready and let them prep their hemolymph with glycerol, they get their well-deserved snooze. There are two basic ways to hibernate your ants … outdoor and indoor. Irrespective of what method you choose, they should be insulated with a towel or the like and will not eat. But they still need water. If they are in a test tube and the water is low, switch them to a fresh one before hibernation. And if they are in a formicarium, you will still need to hydrate the nest every couple of weeks. The outdoor way is to let the natural environment give them the cues that winter is coming by moving them to an unheated garage, basement, crawlspace, etc. Do this weeks before it will get cold … October 1st is a good target here. They will sense the temperatures dropping and be ready when it gets really cold. If you choose this method know that even these areas sometimes may get too cold on polar vortex days or the like. So monitor the temperature and be ready with a space heater for an hour or so here and there if need be. The other method is an indoor hibernation. You can accomplish this with a fridge, or even better, a wine fridge/cooler. Most regular refrigerators have a max temp of 40-50. Even at 50, that’s a shock to go from 75ish to 50ish suddenly. It is far better to have a dedicated fridge or mini-fridge that you can start around 60 or so. The way to do this is to prop (and secure) the door open somewhat. Testing of this PRIOR to hibernation is ideal. Then you can close the door a little more each week so the temp drops little by little. Testing on our mini-fridge told us to leave it open 12” on week 1, 6” on week 2 and 3” on week 3. On week 4 we closed it on it’s highest temp setting. This provided a temperature decline weekly from 75 in our ant room to 60 then 55 then 50 then 45 on the sequential weeks. This year out of 30ish queens/colonies, we only lost one parasitic Lasius queen who did not appear well before hibernation to start with. And all colonies are booming. The HUGE advantage a wine fridge/cooler has is that the max temp setting is far higher than that of a regular fridge or mini-fridge. So you can just put them in there, set it at 60 and lower the temp each week without messing with propping the fridge door open. We wish everyone the very best of luck this Winter. Get your hibernation plan in place NOW !!!
  20. Hikari


  21. VERY nice synopsis! Thanks!
  22. How to Blacklight Queen Ants I am no expert. But our blacklight setup seems to be working and I get a lot of questions. So I’ll attempt to cram my limited knowledge about the subject into this document for two reasons. First, to help anyone wanting to catch boatloads of queens while relaxing at twilight and night time. And, second, so I don’t have to type all this out in Discord 12 more times. And I will follow this up with a detailed photo description of out particular setup. Why it Works? All insects are attracted to light and UV light in particular. Each species has a different visual spectrum and different wavelengths seem to attract different bugs. Ants are most attracted to UV wavelengths of 420-490nm. Most fluorescent black light bulbs will get you near the bottom of this range which is fine. This range is visible to humans as well and we see it as “blue” or “black light”. You could just use full spectrum light and attract just as many queens. But the larger the spectrum of light you put out, the more different critters will come a calling. Black light allows you to get all your queens with fewer “trash” bugs. The best you can do would be to use a specific 450nm LED light source. But those are STUPID expensive. You would get no more queens, but you would get FAR fewer “trash” bugs to sort through and get bit by. When queens fly they use those 3 primordial eyes on top of their head (called ocelli) to help them navigate. They generally point them towards the moon which keeps them level to the ground. When they come near a black light setup, they point them towards the black light or sheet and fly right into your loving arms. That’s why they generally hit the light or sheet hard and fall to the ground. They are not flying to it to investigate, they are flying full speed and crash into it. You may well HEAR a Campo hit your setup before you SEE it. This is why it is IMPERATIVE that there is as much sheet on the ground as there is hanging upright. You will find FAR more queens on the ground part than on the hanging part of the setup. What makes a Good Blacklight Setup? 1 - You need the right wavelength or close to it. Without the right wavelength, queens simply can’t see it. Getting close to 420-490nm is fine because regardless of what wavelength you read on the bulbs you buy, they all have a range. (except LEDs) For example, the tubes we use are supposedly 415nm. But they likely emit 365-465nm or something like that. So you only need to be close. 2 - You need as many lumens as you can get. This is the “brightness” of your light source. If you have a wavelength queens can see, you want them to see it from a LONG distance away, right? It’s the difference between attracting queens flying through your yard and attracting queens flying through your neighborhood. If you want the species variety of your neighborhood and not your yard, crank up the lumens! Blue LED Christmas lights emit a perfect 450nm. But they are so dim that a queen would have to be right in your face to see them. 3 - Be smart about your backdrop size, composition and positioning. If you have the most powerful light source money can buy and shine it on a postage stamp, you won’t be very successful. Similarly, if you have a weak light source and shine it on the side of a house, you’ll have no more success than shining it on a smaller surface that can be fully illuminated. So match your lumens to your backdrop. But bigger backdrops pull queens from further away. So max that out. And make sure whatever material you choose for your backdrop is reflective. White sheets are fine. But anything that absorbs light is counter productive. Lumenous flux (brightness of your sheet) falls off by the inverse square of the distance. So the closer your light, the brighter your sheet … twice as close … 4 times as bright! Set your light source as close as you can to your backdrop ensuring that it can still illuminate the whole thing. What Location is Best? You can spend an incredible amount of time, money and effort optimizing all this stuff and place the perfect black light setup in a bad location and you will be disappointed. The location you select to set up shop will have an ENORMOUS impact on what you attract. Here are a few thoughts in no particular order. Be near woods (many wood-dwelling species are night flyers) Be near water (water = insects = ant food = high ant and queen density) Be in the open (that’s where they actually fly and see you from FAR away) Don’t be where anyone sprays insecticides (humans = BAD) Don’t be near other ambient light (it competes to attract YOUR queens) Don’t be in “developed” areas (dilapidated/ignored yards are THE BEST) So How Do You Actually Do It? There are 3 basic approaches. The first is the “Blacklight Trap” approach. People have constructed some amazing contraptions that not only attract the queens, but then trap them in some kind of receptacle. This is easy mode, but does have its drawbacks. Most of these are small setups that do not have the drawing power of a proper setup. So you are often trapping your yard and not much else. And you’re trapping other queen killing bugs along with them. So there’s a risk. But they are absolutely unbeatable for “set and forget” overnight type purposes. Next is the “Chill and Check” approach. This is when you have your proper “big boy” blacklight setup and check it every 10 minutes or so to see if anything has come along while you attend to some other activity like gaming, chores or enjoying your favorite cold beverage. This approach has the advantage of being less boring and allowing you to get something else done at the same time. It also lets you NOT sit in the middle of the mosquito frenzy surrounding your setup. But queens don’t always hit your sheet and hang out until it’s convenient for you to come collect them. Sometimes they run and sometimes they fly away. I prefer the “Queen Fishing” approach. This is when you sit by your setup, watch, listen and wait. It’s more work and more boring. But like everything else in life … you get out what you put in. You will miss almost nothing if you do this and get up to check closely for smaller queens periodically. I personally LOVE fishing and find this relaxing. You will learn to ID drones and MANY other insects by their shape, movement and behavior. In short order you will rarely need to even get up to “be sure” that that bug is or is not a queen. It definitely gets easier with time. Practical Recommendations Wear long sleeves and long pants Have a good strong flashlight DO NOT use bug spray Have some kind of head/face cover if possible ALWAYS have a catching cup in your hand “Prime Time” is the two hours starting 30 mins after sundown If there’s no rain, leave it up and check in the morning once more Look close … some of the best queens are super small Watch the ground part of the setup the most cause those are the “runners” Watch for drones … they will tell you what is coming in the near future Don’t forget to check the light source for queens Don’t forget to check the back of the sheet for queens Be careful where you step Bring PLENTY of cups … if you hit a local flight, it’ll get crazy FAST !!! Happy Anting !!
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