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Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Goons Are Great posted:

Oh yes, those honeypot ants are like nature's candy for them. There are some other ants that get eaten regularly, there's even a gin produced where the stuff gets filtered through ants to get some sour flavor in it.
In the Amazon there are ants that actively use chemically produced herbicides to kill off plants around them in order to grow a symbiotic plant that they then live in. Those ants often get picked up by indigenous people around that area and eaten raw as the acid and venom the ants use to kill the plants tastes very sour and has a salty component, so they can use the ants as condiment.

In Africa sometimes army ants get trapped, killed and then grilled as protein rich food. Their tendency to march in dense armies make it easy to collect a lot of them in a short time, the ants are relatively large in general and the pupae the ants carry along them are like living nuts that you can snack.

I have eaten a few dead ants, yeah, they hardly taste like anything. Ants do not produce fat in any way, their biology and active lifestyle lead to a very low density of simple carbohydrates so they're mostly made out of proteins and polysaccharides, which adds up to a digestive value comparable to mammal meat, just with less fat which leads to low to no taste. The strongest taste you get from the subfamily formicinae as those ants produce formic acid in their abdomen which tastes very sour due to its extremely low pH-value.

Sure thing, for one they usually use already hardened or wet soil and restructure it, as their mandibles are best used to cut through hard stuff. If the finished product starts to crumble or turn wet again they can lick it and harden it that way when it turns dry again, or they bring in water and splash it all over the place so it can harden the stuff that way. It's an essential part of nest maintenance to do this and make sure the constructed chambers stay hardened and stable, not just for general stability of the nest but also to provide a stable humidity and temperature inside.

I've been ant keeping for a while and love this content! I got some pictures over in the Ant keeping thread if you wanna look: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3880473#post507051775

I love ants, they're so smart.
e: hahaha I just realized you already post there!

e2: I am now super confused, I thought I was in the cold war thread, what happened?

e3: I figured it out now, I clicked on someone quoting you and it brought me out of the thread.

Raenir Salazar fucked around with this message at 20:09 on Aug 27, 2020

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Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

My current ants:

Myrmica Rubra: I had ordered these from my local dealer, as I didn't want to go outside as covid had just started and also didn't want to get stung/bitten by them. Also I had spent hours hiking to get my campos (more below) so I was done with going outside and I figured finding and spotting a queen Myrmica would be hard.

I love my Rubra a lot, they have a poor reputation as "bad ants" for some reason I don't really understand but they're consistently the most interesting ants in my care. They are active, aggressive, and are constantly out and about, and its fun to see them actually moving the prey insects I give them deeper into the nest.

They do a weird thing where they will "carry" curled up/sleeping(?) sister workers with them and wander around their outworld. Sometimes I see them trying to climb the walls of the outworld with a worker in their jaws. I can't tell if some of them are dead or just sun bathing. They take a bunch of workers who appear dead (curled up) and up against the wall, but they constantly seem to be moved to different parts of the outworld so I can't tell what they're doing exactly.

When their numbers grow more I want to move them into one of the Ants Canada formicariums I got.

Camponotus pennsylvanicus: I caught like 8 queens of these, only three ended up founding colonies. They're lazy fucks. They crowd super cramped together in their nesting test tubes and basically seem to rarely patrol their outworld or looking for food currently. Currently my main concern is that their brood (which takes around 4 months to develop) seems to be... Delayed? I can't tell what's going on.

They had periods from when I first took them out of hibernation (I had a mini-fridge with a temp. control to hibernate them during the winter) where they were super active and have moments of activity but seem mostly not doing a whole lot. It's quite nail biting because I can't tell whats going on.

Camponotus novaeboracensis: They got a shiny red thorax and are about the same size as above. Since I only have one of them they're kinda getting extra attention from me where I make sure to give them their food directly in the Ants Canada portal they have.





As we see their larva have been "stuck" for a while, it worries me.

My novo setup: New tube on the left since they're water is running out. All my colonies are like this.



Myrmica top left with the bigger outworld. And the other setups are my penn's.

I got like two lamps to try to give them more heat, and a LED light try to encourage the ones whose water ran out to move to their new tube.

Next year I hope they're big enough to use my AC formicariums!


Monomorium Pharaonis: Honourary mention. These are my free-range ants. And also bad roommates for my captive ants, so on my ant shelf I put the legs in water dishes so they don't rudely steal the food of the other ants.



This is Theresa, I see her around. She's helping herself to some sugar water I left for her so I could take the picture.

I was offered money if I could successfully capture a wild pharoah ant colony, and was told they tend to move into roach nests, I got a container with terrarium dirt/coco husk and food left for them in my bathroom with the cricket pen (they killed all the feeder crickets!) but no luck yet.

Bug Squash posted:

There's at least four ant threads on this goddamn forum now. We need to rationalise this.

Sadly we're not the kind of goons which can have multiple threads form together to form a supercolony of threads!!!!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

aphid_licker posted:

Goons going for the rare all-drone colony

I think it's Bulldog ants, and Dinoponera that have ghamergates?

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

The most annoying thing about the pharoahs is that I'd like to clean my bathroom, particularly the floor but there's this massive ant trial with like hundreds of them going to/from the cricket pen and I don't wanna hurt any.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

The Lone Badger posted:

So what you're telling me is that Starship Troopers was 100% accurate.

So in retrospect as an Ant Keeper, I feel like Starship Troopers is a huge missed oppurtunity to present a more Lovecraftian aesthetic to the Bugs. Instead of them like, actively trying to kill humans or acting like they knew they were in a war with humans and specifically chucking rocks at Earth, they should've not cared about humans at all. See a human? Food. See lots of humans? Lots of food.

A key element in ant behavior is that like, you see them swarm over something and sting/B I T E it to death, they dismember it and then drag it piece by piece back to the nest. So a scene of them non-chalantly picking up wounded marines and dragging them back uncaringly as the human begs/screams etc would've conveyed a much more apathetic and uncaring truly alien mindset.

Basically they're just doing their thing, following through on their reproduction cycle, foraging for resources and food, and humans just either happen to be in the way or presenting themselves oh so conveniently to be picked up and harvested. Humans launching an invasion to them is just the food coming to you, sparing you the effort to go to them.

In a way the chucking rocks at earth bit could be reframed as them figuring out that this is the best way to get humans to come to you like a AI through machine learning figuring out the right incentives.

It'd be interesting albeit beside the point of either the book or the film.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

How can there be three new posts this morning and no one links the new ant video from Kurzgesagt!? Weaver Ants

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Feeding my Myrmica the new crickets I got.



The crickets are now being kept in a psuedo-terrarium. I setup a layer of activated carbon, some gravel, a weed barrior mesh, and some more gravel, and then jungle substrate with coco husk. Goal is to entire the pharoah's into nesting in it while using the crickets as bait.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Man could you imagine how awesome it'd be if they could manipulate masonry!

I found a male Pharoah ant today, so I got excited and them bummed once I had it ID'd. It had the big back I expected a queen to have but the tiny head in the end dashed my hopes. It was thunderstorming today so it seems like the alates are out because of it. Hopefully the female ones show up in my bathroom as well soon since I imagine if I can capture one that's all I need.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Goons Are Great posted:

Termites, for example, have queens and kings. The king lives alongside his queen for his entire life and has almost constantly sex with her to fertilize the thousands of eggs she produces.

Termites living the life!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

ninjewtsu posted:

Man I know this is the ant thread but termites sound way more fascinating than I'd ever really given them credit for. I think you mentioned earlier in the thread that they're a superorganism species that developed entirely separate from bees/ants/wasps? I wonder if there's cool termite documentaries out there

Maybe it depends on the species but at least for the ones that appeared on Ants Canada, they kinda make tunnels out of their poop and seem to die if exposed to sunlight? They don't seem as friendly as ants in terms of the ability to observe them.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

ninjewtsu posted:

That is so gross but also I'm so much more curious now

Enjoy!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I think there's definitely temperate termites, they also exist here in Canada, albeit a little more in the south.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I did it. I went and finally did it.



After spotting like 5-10 male pharaoh's mucking about my bathroom a queen finally appeared in the midst of her massive trail of like 100 ants raiding my cricket pen which I kept in the bathroom.



With a brush and some paper I collected easily at least 50 workers dumped them into a container which I lined with fluon and connected the queen to the opposite end in an AC ant portal, hopefully they should meet up soon. Hopefully this was a fertile queen and not an inbred one.

e: Better pics.


Raenir Salazar fucked around with this message at 08:14 on Sep 14, 2020

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I had ordered springtails to try to start prepping a terrarium for my ants down the line but canadapost lost my order.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Yeah it was also kind of hilarious to watch Mikey at Ants Canada go through several videos of: "I added x to the system and y started dying, so I had to add z." Where he's like introducing different kinds of fish or prawns or plants or in some cases carnivorous frogs and plants trying to balance his different vivariums. A recent one is him trying to make a automatic feeder system work where cockroaches would drop into the ant outworld but that hasn't worked yet.

My plan would probably be to make a sort of sprinkler system to automatically keep things moist once a day or so.

MY PHARAOH QUEEN IS LAYING EGGS!

PRAISE THE SUN!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Goons Are Great posted:

The carnivore plant thing I found odd. It's not like you have to start killing your ants to keep a balance, you just have to adjust the setup accordingly. It's not like ant colonies are exponential machines that will grow ever larger endlessly. Plus the Sarracenia plant probably got over fed massively and died soon due to the food rotting in the traps.
However he's in general more focused on the sensational aspect than keeping a balance, simply because the latter is boring to watch, but so is the YouTube business.

Also lol that the pharaoh plan worked! Honestly I didn't have much hope for that project, it seems almost impossible to make this work, but congrats! That's amazing!

My original plan failed horribly. Which was to have them move in, queen and brood into a container with mulch. I guess either the mulch wasn't to their standards of living under my toilet or the humidity wasn't right.

My next plan was to leave my cricket pen in my bathroom since they were constantly raiding it to eat the crickets that died (or maybe they're killing them?) and I made a little terrarium (carbon, gravel, jungle dirt, etc) for the next batch of crickets and waited. Eventually a massive trail of like a hundred pharaoh workers formed in my bathroom next to my tub and they're just in a constant stream to/from the cricket pen.

This week I noticed different little black dots and these turned out to be males (surprised they're so active) and then sometime sunday morning I happened to be up late due to D&D and say a much bigger ant among the others and I went and nabbed her.

I was told they were likely to be infertile but its been a day and I notice little dots already in the test tube and most of my workers are crowding around her and tending to her so yeah success!

I have them in what I hope is a really secure setup since LOL I don't want them escaping, I might get a special thing to put their setup in which I'll place in a bin with water so there's a moat and nickname it Antcatraz.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I got pics.

Her eggs in the middle.


She's hiding so hard to get a good picture among all the workers I also captured for her.


I'm preparing a new outworld with higher walls to make escapes less likely but my fluon based on my early tests (taking a bunch of workers from the trail and yeeting them into the container with the fluon applied) seems to suggest they can escape. I'll try tomorrow in case its merely an issue of the fluon not having enough time to dry or something and then switch to baby powder+alcohol.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I have determined that "pooter" is possibly the worst name you could give to a device useful for capturing ants, because I sure as hell can't find one on amazon, but LOTS of fart toys.

I found a youtube video online and ordering parts to make one myself, I'll see how it goes. It might work out better than a piece of paper for capturing the workers on the trail.

So I am suspecting that the queen(s?) only go along the trail probably at night. I've got like 4-5 people clamouring for Pharaoh queens in the ant keeping discord as it's apparently the closest thing to a legal exotic species they can keep. But just getting one took a while and I'm not looking forward to staying up past midnight. What would be ideal is if there could be some sort of ant trap that would be difficult for them to get out of that their whole trail wanders into; but they also kind of need a trail coming out of it for this to happen.

At least one of those people actually runs the ant keeping store that's local to me and will possibly trade me vampire ants. Or money/store credit etc, the others are also offering money.

My bathroom at this rate will never be clean.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

First attempt at a pooter was like 1 step forwards 2 steps back sort of deal.

To get adequate suction the tubing needed to be kind of short, which meant being too short to conveniently use.

Also the jar I used was slightly too large so getting the workers out and into a new container is also a bit of a challenge.

I suspect the seal wasn't tight enough where the tubes go into the jar. I used glue, next time I'll try plastacine and hopefully I dig up a smaller jar so it's easier to tap the ants out of it or just leave it in the new container.

Ideally I would know the name for a sort of stopper/plug that has a hole in it to put like a tube through.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

JacquelineDempsey posted:

I just googled "rubber stopper with hole", and looks like you can get 'em on Amazon, scientific supply places, and homebrewing stores. "One hole stopper" looks like the real name for those. Which is good to know because my bong looks an Erlynmeyer (sp?) flask and uses one, lol

I was looking at gaskets before but holy poo poo you're right! I can even get the much more ideal two hole stopper!!!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I've swapped out my outworld for my pharaoh's. Gave them a taller one.



At first during my tests I thought the fluon was ineffective but maybe it just needed time to "cure"/dry or something, because afterwards a whole pile of ants couldn't seem to escape from it after a couple of days and just crowded together in a corner all sad; they've been reunited with the rest of my captive ones now, so it should only be a matter of time before other workers arrive to drag them.

Currently I've decided against decorating their enclosure. I kinda want to keep a close eye on them.


Goons Are Great posted:

Looks like my ants are already preparing for winter, quite early this year. They didn't even finish their last meal and are generally slowly turning down activity. It's still quite warm around here, but if they keep this pace up I probably need to cool them down and prepare for the icy winds of winter next month.
Gonna miss them dearly. To March it's gonna be a painful eternity.

My own Campos have done this. I put two of them into the fridge already, going to wait a little longer on the other two because they seemed to maybe still have some developing larva.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Going to clean my bathroom today and then switch strategies to try to collect more cleans. An empty container with either a dead cricket or a mars bar in it with a tube going in/out to somewhere where I think they're coming from.

Once the bathroom is clean I won't feel pressure anymore and can take my time.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I cleaned my bathroom so now its no longer gross, and the ants after about a day or so have started coming back. So, I put a container with a mars bar with a connecting tube and we'll see if I can catch more pharaoh queens.

The spare ones I'll trade/give/sell basically since weirdly these redneck hillbilly ants are wildly popular among Canadian ant keepers.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Edgar Allen Ho posted:

Out of curiousity what's the best way to kill and sterilize feeder insects? I'm assuming y'all don't just chuck in live animals like you would for say, a big arachnid.

I think there's a risk to catching live insects re: grasshoppers because perhaps they can carry insecticides and bacteria. I think I've read the best thing to do is to freeze+boil caught feeders but honestly I just buy mine from the pet shop.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Apparently there are "ant crickets" that join up with yellow crazy ants! The yellow crazy ants seem to think they're like long lost cousins or something and feed them and give them stuff to do.

"How do you do fellow ants?"

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Haha, basically the "I made this!" meme.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

aphid_licker posted:

I know next to nothing about fungi but my impression is that they can look like anything whatsoever. Seriously, there are some wildass looking fungi out there.

Terrarium update, I had two actual mushrooms sprout in there and had to evict more pillbugs. No mold tho, which is nice, and it still smells properly wet-forest-y. Any time pillbugs are mentioned on gardening forums there'll be some bleeding heart do-gooder who says to leave them alone, they only eat rotting material but man lemme tell you, these guys will absolutely shred anything that looks like a plant.

Why not let the ants eat them or is this terrarium not really for ants?

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Goons Are Great posted:

They don't really sync their hatch rate, but the other ants decide when it's time to hatch, usually based on movement inside the cocoon. The ready to hatch ant inside the cocoon does not have strong enough mandibles to cut through the silk, so when ready they move back and forth and try to chew on the cocoon, which indicates their will to hatch. Then another brood worker ant comes by and cuts open the cocoon from outside to let them out, sometimes they also do so a little earlier than usual if they need mandibles on deck. Afterwards she wanders around the nest, gets to know her sisters and perhaps even her royal majesty and waits for her exoskeleton to harden.

This is the rather primal way of hatching. Evolutionary advanced species even got rid of the cocoon altogether, as it's a remnant from the past when protecting the babies with silk was necessary, as civil war broke lose and endangered unborn kids to be killed by overthrowing ant renegades (as still happens in some primal ant species and those lacking a specified queen caste). Many temperate species today kept the cocoon for climate regulation reasons by now, but it's of lesser use now compared to then.

Super modern ants, basically the evolutionary beta, actually developed these:

Naked pupae. The ant is going through metamorphosis like this, not making a cocoon anymore. These ants just wake up when done, their exoskeleton hardens a lot faster and they can get started easier than they could when breaking through the cocoon, plus it saves resources and allows them to get rid of the silk organs in favor of new stuff.

I think my Myrmica do it this way?

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I wish I had a colony of Solenopsis Geminata or Invictus up here.

My Myrmica rubra are basically the closest I got. So far while my campos all entered hibernation early, my rubra still seem active.

My pharaoh's seem to have a massive pile of eggs assuming my eyes aren't tricking me. They're also excavating into the cotton and digging into it for material.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Latest news from the throne of the Pharaohs!




Yup that's brood.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice


I know the future is going to be ant protein to replace burger meat but this seems a little sudden!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Goons Are Great posted:

Formic acid does taste a lot like lemon, yeah.

This reminds me how we cultivated spicy foods for eating despite the fact that the spiceness was an evolutionary adaptation meant to protect these plants from predators!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

On the other hand feral/wild ants are like, probably very probably well established and like, you're own health and comfort and your pet's health and comfort is the priority.

Lets not dwell on how I let my bathroom get overrun by pharaoh's for weeks though...

(In fairness, I did end up capturing them and now the numbers of workers in my bathroom has dropped considerably).

Also the ant keeping discord suggests that my pharaoh queen will likely at some point lay queen eggs who will probably commit incest with their siblings and soon I'll have an infinite supply of queens; is this probable? Because I got people in the discord lining up around the block wanting to buy/trade me for spare pharaonis queens; for some reason these hillbilly ants are absurdly popular in Canada.

The explanation I got is that they are kinda like a "legal" species of exotics in a country where its really difficult in importing such species unless someone is lucky and managed to grab "greenhouse" ants (i.e exotic ant colonies imported via importing tropical plants).

fake edit: Why did you change your name! Very suss!

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

aphid_licker posted:

Def tell me if my using this as the generic crawly creature thread is unwelcome but this is pretty wow:

https://twitter.com/just_whatever/status/1319232676684025856

That honestly kind of freaks me out. Lovecraftian vibes.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice





That's a startling and disturbing number of queens all of a sudden.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Goons Are Garlic posted:

lmao welcome to heaven, you'll be overrun in a month

Hahaha I'm in danger.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

Since they're small do I need a special formicarium or would most work?

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

My main supplier is here: https://www.antscanada.com/product-category/equipment/

secondary here: https://canada-ant-colony.com/collections/formicaria (problem is the shipper they use tends to keep losing my packages )

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

I feel like you don't need to sweat it too much when it comes to like house ants and whatever, the priority there is your own health and safety and your other pets, so you should just balance out those concerns with the time and effort more humane options might take. It's entirely possible your house ants are invasives like Argentine ants and exterminating them might help other more local ant species that are being outcompeting by their numbers.

If you wanna try it more humanely I think typically using vinnegar to disrupt their trails, keep your surfaces clean without any crumbs or loose foods, keep sugary things like honey in like a bowl/container with a moat of water and so on and altogether should minimize their presence.

I think in general specifically in the case of ant keepers with captive ants bait traps are a bad idea because the wild ants might bring it into the setups of the captured ones.

Depends more on your time available and energy.

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Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice


Curious that they moved the brood to the top part; and I'm also curious how they keep the sand moist.

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