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About Me

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  1. Posted Feb 23rd, 2019: I've always wanted an ant colony and finally got to a place in my life where I could have one - my own house and a spouse that's fine with it. After looking at the various common and uncommon species around, I decided that I want my main colony to be a Crematogaster sp. I love their little heart butts and that they are commonly two tone. It's just a personal preference, but I don't want just little black ants (sorry C. penn). A Pheidole, Prenolepis, and Trachymyrmex colony also sound awesome to me, but they are much harder to find around where I live. I started learning about the hobby in August 2018 and I figured that I had missed the window to catch a queen and would have to wait until spring. But to my surprise, the ant I wanted was just about to have a nuptial flight. So, I started reading up on when they should fly, good weather conditions, time of day, etc. I have an ecology background, so learning about and finding a species comes naturally to me. Then, on Labor day (Sept 3rd), the weather was perfect and my spouse was off work so we went to the local parks. Oh boy, did I nail the timing. I ended up catching SEVEN queens that day. [INFO: Sunny warm day after a rain, around 11a-12p. I also saw the beginning of a nuptial flight a few days later a little before 11a, so that seems to be the good time window.] I was so excited to have them. Two of them have wings and five do not, so I should be able to get what I want and give away the extra queens. Win-win for everyone! Once I got them home, I put them in test tubes and built a box to keep them in. It might seem like overkill, but I live with parrots soooooo gotta keep the queens safe. I took them to the unfinished part of my basement and checked on them weekly. Once thanksgiving came around, I moved them into the garage on a wall that goes into the house. I checked on them every few weeks and everyone is still alive. The first weekend in March, I plan to move them inside and then give them heat starting spring break (March 11th). I can't wait to start raising them! Update: March 5th, 2019 I brought my queen box inside over the weekend. Since I moved the box, I dimmed the lights as much as I could and had a piece of red cellophane in hand to check on the queens real quick. It looked like everyone was alive, which is great! I'm trying to disturb them as little as possible since they are in the apparently super-fragile-founding-stage. I waited a few days, then checked on one queen to get a quick photo: It's going to take everything I have to only check on them quickly, once a week. I'm so excited! Update: March 24th, 2019 Time for an update! One queen has died - but it was one of the queens with wings. I wasn't expecting her to be fertile, so I'm not surprised. The other queen with wings hasn't laid eggs either and I don't expect her to. However, the other five have laid piles of eggs! I was finally able to get some pictures recently: That's probably all the photos I'll get until nanitics arrive. I usually only uncover a queen for a few seconds during a check. The few times I tried to get photos, I gave myself 1 min to do it. I think in the future once I have an established Crematogaster colony, it would be cool to catch queens again and be more bold with picture taking for an "Ant Care/What to expect" type of documentation. I am currently very concerned with stressing them out too much and having them eat their eggs - especially since I've heard Crematogaster queens are particularly sensitive. I noticed eggs around March 11th, so by my count, I'm hoping to see nanitics in about 2 weeks (around April 8th). However, I have no idea when they first laid eggs, so it could be sooner! Note: I combined my posts from the old forum into one just for ease of transfer. In the future I'll post updates as a reply to this topic.
  2. I don't have any pictures of workers yet, but here's some queens I caught fall 2018. Nuptial flight: Queen: Queen with eggs:
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