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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/24/2020 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Last year I wrote a basic primer on how to blacklight queen ants. It is located here if you haven’t seen it and are interested. Following that I received many requests for details about the materials and methods I used aside from the general reasoning and approach that was explained. In other words … everyone wanted to know where to get the stuff and how to do it the way we do it! So here is a follow up post to explain to those interested exactly how to make what we use. The entire setup will cost you about $200 and can be bought and made in an afternoon. Here are the supplies you need … - T12 blacklight bulbs x 4 - $13 each or about $50 total ( https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-40-Watt-48-in-Medium-Bi-pin-T12-Black-Fluorescent-Light-Bulb/3400504 ) - Shop Light Fixtures x 2 - $20 each or about $40 total ( https://www.lowes.com/pd/Lithonia-Lighting-1233-Linear-Shop-Light-Common-4-ft-Actual-5-5-in-48-in/1000410165 ) - Full height (like 6’) garden “Shepherd’s Hooks” x 6 - About $13 each or about $80 total ( https://www.lowes.com/pd/Garden-Accents-84-in-Steel-Painted-Metal-Shepherd-s-Hook/3342788 ) - White flat Twin sheets x 4 - $5 each or $20 total ( https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-200-Thread-Count-Twin-Flat-Sheet-ARCTIC-WHITE/55583603 ) - 1” PVC pipe (10’) x 2 - $2-3 each or about $5 total ( https://www.lowes.com/pd/Charlotte-Pipe-1-in-dia-x-10-ft-L-200-PSI-SDR-21-PVC-Pipe/1000080801 ) - 1” PVC coupling x 1 - damned near free ( https://www.lowes.com/pd/LASCO-1-in-x-1-in-x-1-in-dia-Coupling-PVC-Fitting/1067437 ) - Duct Tape - Extension cord(s) Step 1 - Duct Tape FTW !! You need to duct tape the two light fixtures together. USE A LOT! Make sure you tape the fronts and back and ESPECIALLY the ends. The photos below look a little ragged, but this unit has been outdoors all the nice days for a year now. Yours will look cleaner. Step 2 - Prep the Fixtures The fixtures will come with some cheap chain meant to hang them with. Instead of using it the way they intend, drill 4 small holes in the 4 corners of your new (now duct taped) single fixture. Divide the chain in two and create two “loops” with it as pictured below. This way you can slide it back and forth and adjust the angle of the light super easy. Step 3 - Get Your Sheets Together Arrange two sheets end to end and two more end to end below them. We take the time to sew these together now. But when we first started we used Duct tape and that works fine. Similarly, we sew a cuff in the top of the sheets to slide the PVC pipe through (like a curtain) for more easy hanging. But you can also just duct tape the sheets to the PVC if you prefer or if you are sewing impaired. Step 4 - PVC Easy Mode Plug each piece of PVC pipe into the coupling creating a 20’ long pipe. DO NOT glue it or you’ll never be able to easily move it. Attach your sheets to your PVC pipe with a sewn cuff or duct tape. Step 5 - Stake Your Claim Find your blacklight sweet spot and plant 4 of your Shepherd's Hooks in a row about 4’ apart. Have the hooks facing TOWARDS where your lights will be. Step 6 - Hang it Up ! Rest your PVC frame over the Shepherd’s Hooks. About half of your sheets will be laying on the ground. That is intentional. Step 6 - Let There Be Light Plant your last two Shepherd’s Hooks just at the edge of the sheets on the ground about 6’ apart and hang your light (via the two “loops” of chain) between them. Plug it in and you are GTG. If you want, you can secure the sheet to the ground with little spikes. Photos below are the completed set up, the set up at dusk, the set up at night and the set up from 100 yards away. This thing draws queens from a mile away.
  2. 2 points
  3. 2 points
    My favorite native species would be Trachymyrmex Occidentalis, although it’s extremely rare. Next would probably be pheidole for the fast growth and polymorphism
  4. 1 point
    This project is wonderful and will be greatly beneficial to the community. I can't wait to participate!
  5. 1 point
    Hey Joshua! Lots of people have been finding P. imparis queens in the past few days. Good rules of thumb are to look near bodies of water and near wooded areas and trees. Queens can be found by looking under rocks, lifting leaf litter, and watching large areas of blacktop/concrete for queens scurrying along the ground. Prenolepis imparis queens are polygynous, and if you find any more queens you should put them together! Put at least two queens together per test tube and they will be happy, but most people will put 3-4 queens together if they can. Try not to just leave one queen on her own, as they prefer to be in groups.
  6. 1 point
    On Feb. 17 2020 I was getting excited about the coming Anting season and with a nudge from AC talking about Prenolepis Imparis flights happening soon in North America I went out just to have a look around. After almost giving up I saw a tree about 5in. in diameter with a broken dead branch tightly up against the main trunk and decided to pull it off, that's when I found my first Chromaiodes Founding Colony. I was very excited and posted pics immediately on discord to confirm species. A week later I wanted to see if I could find more in this manor, so I headed out looking for that exact situation with no luck at all. So my next move was prying the bark from a dead tree and to my surprise I found Two Founding Colonies within inches of each other! Needless to say I was on cloud nine, but I wanted to try one more time and two days later on a rainy miserable day I found another two Queens in the same fashion, however one did not have any workers or eggs and the other only had two workers without eggs. Now almost a month later for Queen #1 (who only had workers) now has a good brood pile going. Queen #2 had 10 workers and moved into my THA mini-hearth and has a nice brood pile too! Queen #3 started with 7 workers has a large pile as well. Queen #4 started slow with only 2 workers, but finally joined the egg team... I still have faith in Queen #5 though she has no workers and no eggs at the moment. Wish her luck!
  7. 1 point
    I'll definitely be keeping a sharp eye out, @Mike McBrien
  8. 1 point
    Greetings, fellow antlovers! Soring is on its way, and I've already seen some action from the winter ants' (Prenolepis imparis) nest in my backyard. I'd love to know what everyone's goals are for antkeeping or studying this year! Personally, I'm hoping to catch a queen or two and I'm planning on digging up a colony of wood ants that my dad has been looking to get rid of, since they would just be destroyed otherwise. I'd love to catch enough queens to sell a couple, especially as I'm going into college this fall and could use a little extra funds. I'm also going to try and map out all the colonies in our yard, marking them on a printed-out satellite image (in theory). Last year, I did a bit of a census, and found over seven species in our yard! I wasn't able to positively identify all of them, but I know there were Prenolepis imparis, Tapinoma sessile, Myrmica americana, and Monomorium minimum. So, anyone want to share their ant plans for the year? Good luck everyone!
  9. 1 point
    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
  10. 1 point
    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)
  11. 1 point
    Well, apparently I have a Tapinoma sessile colony now ? This all started April 29th, 2019. I'm starting up my mineral/fossil collection again and ordered something that came from Utah. When I grabbed the package out of my mailbox, I noticed there were some ants on it and under it. This seems to happen a few times a year, so I brushed them off and carried the package inside. Once I got the package inside, I opened it and, oh boy, was I in for a surprise. Ants everywhere! Clearly, this was different from just some ants in my mailbox. I started gathering them as quick as I could so I could get an ID. When I was gathering them, I noticed there was more than one queen and they were VERY integrated into the package. I was immediately concerned about a polygynous, non-native species and a queen left behind in my mailbox. I was extremely relieved when they were ID'd as Tapinoma sessile. While there is a good chance that, genetically, they are from Utah, T. sessile is native to all the contiguous 48 states. I also have a ton of 'em in my yard. So, since there's a fun story behind them, I decided to keep them. Plus, I was already a little interested in them since they're also known as an "immortal" ant colony due their reproduction strategy. Fortunately, the package was small, so I could put everything in a bucket lined with fluon and put a test-tube setup in there. Over the next few hours, I'd slowly remove packing peanuts and paper. There wasn't too much left when I went to bed. When I woke up, they were all moved in! There's 2ish queens in there and a TON of brood. I think there's more brood than workers, so they have their work cut out. With the trauma of what they went through, I wasn't 100% certain how they were going to do, but I set them up with an outworld and gave them plenty of honey. They immediately formed a black ring around it and drank it up. Over the next couple weeks there was a bit of worker die off, but their numbers have stabilized now. I'd say about 25% of the workers died off over the first week, then no more. I wasn't certain how much to expect, but this seems reasonable with what they went through. Otherwise, they are very active and fun to watch. I think their numbers are about to explode though: so...many...tiny...eyes! There's waaaay more pupae compared to anything else, but there's still a sizable pile of eggs and larvae cooking. I have more outworlds and formicariums lined up for them whenever the boom happens. I've given them access to two test tubes, but they're keeping everything in the original one for now.
  12. 1 point
    I'm not much for journals. But I'll give it a shot. Narien and I were working on our new black light "catch us a C. americanus and C. castaneus" set up when I got a PM from Orbyx asking for an ID on this photo. It looked like C. nearcticus to me and I confirmed that via Discord. Then I joked with her to grab the queen for us because she knows our #1 goal is to keep all of Ohio's Camponotus species. A few minutes later my phone dings ... "I think I found the queen." She then explained that this colony was in her wood pile that they need to use. The colony had to go anyway. So she sent me her address and started scooping the colony into a 5 gallon bucket that she hastily lined with fluon. By the time we got there, (8 minutes and 17 "holy shit's" later) she had just about the whole colony in there with minimal casualties ... but no queen. All that was left was a small rotten knothole with a few ants in there. Sure enough, as it was dissected away, the queen was found ... unharmed !!! Orbyx said we probably got 90% of the colony and brood. We cleaned up some stragglers and rushed home to get these ladies set up ASAP because the stress of such an ordeal on a colony is immense. Fortunately we had a couple of set-ups about ready to go because we are about to move a couple of founding colonys to formicaria. Bing-Bang-Boom and they are settled. They explored the set-up almost immediately and began to move into the tubes within minutes. By 2 hours they seemed very calm and content with minimal movement or activity. It sure seems that they are happy and will do well. And looking around ... we see very VERY few casualties. Our estimate is that this colony is about 300-350 strong right now with tons and tons of brood. (see first pic) A mature C. nearcticus colony should cap out at only a few hundred workers. So this is a dream for us. We are absolutely ecstatic and have nobody but Orbyx to thank. Her generosity and consideration towards us is only surpassed by her care and attentiveness to this colony that she gently and efficiently collected for us. Thank you and ant love forever. We will update this log as time goes by. Below is the first video.
  13. 1 point
    They're up to about 30 workers already! and more on the way. People weren't kidding when they said Crematogaster are fast growers
  14. 1 point
    They've been hard to count, but I think they topped out at 17 nanitics before the gen 2 workers started coming in. They're up to around 25 workers now, it's getting too difficult to count exact numbers. They're growing quick! Looks like that will be up to 30 within the next few days. I've noticed that once they pupae start darkening, they hatch within 3 days. Good thing I have more living space lined up for them! They've also been super fun to watch. Light doesn't seem to bother them, and the queen and brood will commonly be in the light over the heating cable. I'm hoping to be able to get a lot of nice pictures once my new camera comes in. They are also very active and not afraid of anything. Heck, they've attacked my honey dropper as I'm trying to give them food ... and then just start drinking once they realize it's honey making it extremely difficult to not drown them as I give them more food ?Super feisty, 10/10 will catch more queens. Definitely my favorite ants.
  15. 1 point
    Wheeeeee !!! Now you have a test tube full of crazy toddlers. Congratulations!
  16. 1 point
    Nanitics arrived 3 days ago - April 22nd! I was so excited that I only took this photo as I set them up with a micro-outworld and food. Still took a couple days for them to start going outside, but yesterday they finally emerged and got their first sugar and protein! There are 8 nanitics now and they are about half the size of a normal worker. Still a huge pile of brood cooking too! Can't wait for the real workers now!
  17. 1 point
    Thank you for your kind words! I'm just glad I knew someone who was setup to take them, most of that lumber pile is going to be turned into a raised bed garden in the next few weeks. Can't wait for them to get officially moved into the formicarium! But, I'm mostly glad they are doing well ?
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