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Ant Farms, and catching a Queen Ant

Mirage

Secret Agent
Staff member
V.I.P.
Anybody ever had an ant farm? I have and they are awesome.

You can either order ants from a company (generally the company that makes the ant farm) or you can catch your own.

I prefer to catch my own because that way I can get a Queen ant, which is illegal to buy anywhere in the US according to Federal regulations.

You have to get extremely luck to get a queen ant though. There are two ways to get one:

1. Dig up an entire ant tunnel system and hope that somehow you'll have even a 1 in 100 chance of actually finding the queen. (Ok so I lied, this way is pretty much impossible.

2. Capture one during mating season. Drone ants end up turning into queen ants later on in life when they fly off to start a new colony. It's during this time that (I'd still say 1 in 100) you can attempt to capture one.

I prefer option 2 because it's much easier. The last queen ant I had turned out to be totally awesome to have. There were larvae all over the tunnels she dug and the ants actually continued to hatch over time. I got more and more ants as I kept feeding them, etc. Since there are no predators in an enclosed ant farm environment it's safe to say that the queen will live for a while too.

Otherwise if you get the ants you can order online you'll just get about 20-30 or so that will eventually die. Since they have no way of producing more ants you are pretty much going to have a boring hobby on your hands unless you get a queen ant.

So, who else has ever had an ant farm? I think I might make a custom one soon. If I do I'll post pics.
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
I would never voluntarily bring ants into my house, no matter how secure the ant farm is. I think ants are very fascinating, but I can't say I enjoy looking at them. And I would never be able to catch a queen anyway. Wouldn't know what they look like.
 

AngelsPeak

Wanna play?
I had one when I was a kid, it along with my magical sea creatures disappeared without a trace one day.
 

dDave

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
I would never voluntarily bring ants into my house, no matter how secure the ant farm is. I think ants are very fascinating, but I can't say I enjoy looking at them. And I would never be able to catch a queen anyway. Wouldn't know what they look like.
queen ants are generally larger and are pretty obvious when you see one.

http://www.tulane.edu/~mrbc/2001/MRB Project/Rifa3.jpg

as you can see it's pretty obvious when you find one.

I never personally had an ant farm, but I knew plenty of people that had them, don't know if anybody had a queen though.

I remember being able to look in the side and looking at all of the tunnels, it's still a mystery to me how the tunnels don't break down though.
 

Mirage

Secret Agent
Staff member
V.I.P.
I had one when I was a kid, it along with my magical sea creatures disappeared without a trace one day.
:D That's funny. Too bad though..

And now that I think about this a bit more I think I definitely want to build a custom one. Probably up to 36 inches wide and about 2 feet tall ideally.

I'll see what I can come up with. If I get it done by mid to late summer I'll be golden. I can catch a queen then (new queens are only flying about during late summer) and hopefully be good to go from there. :)
 

oxyMORON

A Darker Knight
I'd love to have one, but going out and catching ants is a big no-no for me. I know I'll get bitten no matter how hard I try to protect myself. I think I've actually seen a queen ant before, but I'm not sure.

I prefer blowing up ants than catching them. :D Their tunnel systems are freakin' huge.
 

kiwi

The Original Kiwi
While seeing an ant farm is cool I wouldn't want one at this point. It would just end up broke and I'd have to clean it up. When my kids are older I'm not opposed to them having one if they are interested but if they want a queen ant they'll have to catch it themselves.

If you do get a big one set up you'll have to post pics.
 

Kyo_Muramasa

Nefarious Kaizoku Capt'n
The fear of the darn thing cracking and ants all over my house keeps me from even THINKING about getting one >.>;

But I would love to have that thing I saw on T.V. where I could raise butterfly farm, now that sounds like something I could do.....if a hairy critter doesn't come out and I find it on my face while I'm asleep....then I'm all good to go!^.^;
 

Mirage

Secret Agent
Staff member
V.I.P.
Well the only time you need to worry about ants escaping is if you build a custom "farm" for them. The premade ones are pretty much escape proof by design.

I wouldn't care if ants escaped anyway because I don't really mind them. Sure I'd kill them or try to put them back in, but it's not like I'm going to freak out and go ballistic if I see ants crawling around. I grew up liking ants so they don't bother me.

And kiwi I am pretty sure I will be building one. I'll definitely post some pics once it's done. Might take pics as I go too but I don't think those pics would be very interesting to look at. It will be hard to tell what everything is anyway.
 

kiwi

The Original Kiwi
Well the only time you need to worry about ants escaping is if you build a custom "farm" for them. The premade ones are pretty much escape proof by design.

I wouldn't care if ants escaped anyway because I don't really mind them. Sure I'd kill them or try to put them back in, but it's not like I'm going to freak out and go ballistic if I see ants crawling around. I grew up liking ants so they don't bother me.

And kiwi I am pretty sure I will be building one. I'll definitely post some pics once it's done. Might take pics as I go too but I don't think those pics would be very interesting to look at. It will be hard to tell what everything is anyway.
Post them anyway. I love seeing work in progress pics then the final outcome.
 
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