Man, I kind want to do this.
I'll use garry's idea of having two colonies fight. I'd put a divider in the middle that goes down about halfway into the dirt. By the time the ants meet each other there would be enough ants to cause a huge fucking brawl.
When filling it with dirt I could also put little hidden caches of food and other resources. Would be like an RTS in real life.
I just found a fucking huge spider and got the bastard into my ant farm but the dick decided to get revenge by randomly dying...
It's faking, I swear it moved.
I went to check on it and noticed an Ant moving around it, the ant starts checking it out and the FUCKING THING STARTS MOVING! It's ALIVE!
Lasius niger dosn't give a shit and continues to taste the spider all by itself.
All of my species so far are harmless for the most part. About a week ago I decided to take it a step further.
This is Manica rubida, similar to the stinging red Myrmica you get in England but easily three times larger. The jaws are quite strong, but its the sting that packs a punch- about as powerful as a wasps. I don't intend to experience this for myself.
They're a nice colour, especially in the sunlight.
About six of the seven workers came up to the front to have a drink:
Then the much larger queen joined in. She is slightly smaller than the Messor barbarus queen I posted earlier.
The day after I got them, I moved them into a soil setup. They've been digging extensively and the queen sometimes joins in with the foraging (This species is semi-claustral, meaning that the queen initially hunts to feed her larvae at the beginning), although I haven't actually got them to eat any insects yet.
This is when they began to carry the larvae from the test tube to their nest site. The jaws on these larvae can be seen slowly opening and closing through a magnifying glass. Should they get separated from the rest of the colony, they apparently make tiny sounds like a cat mewling to get help.
They need a wet environment and didn't flinch when I misted the container. These workers have the droplets on them.
Attacking a fly. They haven't brought it into the nest though.
Looking forward to their numbers increasing. As long as I treat them with respect, there's no reason why they should sting me.
Nice ant farm, but did the poster above me need to quote the whole thing?
I'm thinking of making an ant farm. Any easy to take care of species that will treat me as their all powerful God-King?
So glad I came across this gem and revisited/reread the thread.
Of course, it's sparked my interest in making an ant farm as well. I have 2 snakes, which I've cared for for 3 years now, so it's not like I couldn't do ants. It would probably be more demanding than taking care of snakes, so it'd be a nice step up.
Having trouble finding an equivalent site to antstore.net. They don't ship outside EU, and I'm in the US.
So (Assuming you're in Europe) I'd recommend: Lasius niger, Lasius flavus, Myrmica rubra, Myrmica ruginodis, Formica fusca, Formica lemani.
Lasius niger is always the best to start with. My L.niger queen is almost three years old now, and has a big empire. When you've got the hang of the easier species, you could try more interesting ants such as Messor barbarus and Pheidole pallidula. Shame that can be expensive.
The best way to obtain any of these species is to wait until they have their flights and catch the newly mated queens. You can identify them easily because they're usually a lot bigger than the workers, their thorax is wider than their heads and they have scars on either side from where their wings were. Most species had their flights from about March to October, so you might have to wait a while if you want to start a colony that way. The alternative is to try and capture a wild colony, but that's often easier said than done- especially since you need at least one queen. They often come closer to the surface to enjoy the warmth on sunny mornings though, that's a good time to find them. You can keep workers on their own and with some captured ant brood, but as they die off they won't be replaced. If you're lucky there might be a supplier in your state.
Good luck either way, it can be a relaxing hobby when you get into it and it's often worth the waiting, although it can feel like a game of Prison Architect sometimes.
Im sure I grabbed a queen or something when I grabbed my ants, I also managed to get a crap load of eggs since it was Lasius niger I could just reach in and grab evrything, puny things.
I've never been able to catch a wild established queen, they get carried off within seconds of being exposed. On the one occasion I did pick up a wild Formica fusca queen, she leaped off my hand and ran straight into the nest (Leaving me to get bitten by a hoard of angry workers). Formica like to squirt formic acid into bites, which wasn't very nice.
The Messor barbarus are still doing excellently. In fact, there are now some big major workers patrolling the nest.
I think there's about five or six of them. I watched one of them eclose from the pupa stage this morning and she's now helping out in the brood chamber. I also saw Her Majesty for the first time since she moved into the soil nest, but she didn't stick around.
There's at least one more major pupa in the visible brood chamber and a big batch of larvae about a few weeks old, evidence that they're getting on well. The colony has now developed a fondness for cake.
You give them budgie seed? Would Lasius Niger like that?
You would have to crush the seed and give them a few small fragments, see how it goes. Lasius jaws are mostly for slicing up prey and digging, whilst my Messors have broad jaws that are adapted for gripping and chewing up seeds. They chew it into a paste called "ant bread" which they absorb nutrients from, and I haven't read about anyone feeding seeds to Lasius before.
It's worth a try, though.
I think my ants all died. I'm gonna rebuild it again. I want to build it without any kind of frame this time.
My ants all died too, the colony was fucking huge..but I left them on a heater.
I'm finding this thread unusually similar in content to a Dwarf Fortress thread.
"Mine were digging a tunnel but it was too wet and it collapsed."
"They killed something and are now all running outside to rip it apart and take it inside."
"Mine are all pretty much dead."
haha, nice. i would love to do this, never had the materials etc or the skill needed though ;)
Garry has a nice house.
Ok, Hmm you actual can buy ants? when i was younger i would chip at nests till i could claim enough ants and then queen to start my colony.
Granted i was only 5 and theses were bull-ants...
It looks like TV. :D But, nice work.
This thread makes me itchy. But any new updates?
Are there any good guides to keeping Lasius Nigers (however they are spelt :S)?
I'm curious is it possible to build a Conley that would have access to a world out side of their box? such as place at the back fence of your back garden similar to a bee-hive setup which would mean ants could go out there in the field and collect other insects? for food...
Not unless you want them crawling all over your house and in your garbage.