Ant farms: September 2011 Archives

Hi Ant People,

I'm planning on starting an ant colony. It's my first one but I'd love to have some red or bright yellow ants. I live in an apartment in New York City.

Is this possible? Can you give me some tips to get started?

Thanks you so much!
James

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Dear James,

Glad to hear you are interested in keeping ants in your NYC apartment! Since you are interested in having some red or yellow ants, I would suggest ordering your standard "ant farm" ants. These are usually a large, red species of Pogonomyrmex. You can order them from many online sources such as:

- Ward's Scientific (you can order live ants and a gel ant farm)
- Uncle Milton's Ant Farms
- Ant Farm Central
- Or you can usually find an ant farm for sale at a local toy store (or natural history gift shop), which includes a certificate to receive live ants.

In addition, if you wanted to build your own ant farm, we have a previous post here.

Also, regarding keeping live ants, please see the following AntBlog posts here, here, and here.

Enjoy your ant farm!
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

Hi!

I'm writing from Brazil to as what's the matter with my queen ant. She is an Odontomachus, I'm not sure of what specie, and I have had her for 2 months. She has laid several times but none of the eggs hatched; she keep growing a ball of eggs but no larvae appeared. I gave her some bugs and honey and she has eaten, so I believe she's well-fed. Is this normal? Will the eggs hatch? Is there some problem?

Thank you in advance,

Best regards,
Isabel

Hi Isabel,

I'm sorry to hear that your Odontomachus queen is not doing so well. Odontomachus are amazing ants and it would be a lot of fun to have a colony of them. It is a good sign that your queen has laid eggs but that does not necessarily mean that they will grow into adult ants. As discussed here, most queens are too weak to start new colonies. I would suggest continuing to feed your queen and be sure to provide her with a moist and protected habitat (you can check out some of these posts on keeping ants). In the end, it may require collecting a lot of queens before you are able to raise a successful colony.

Good luck!
Ben Rubin & the AntAsk Team


Hi, I would like to know if someone can identify the species of the ant colony I found next to my house. I am planning to build a formicarium and I would like to know how big it should be to hold this colony. What kind of food do they eat? I have noticed that some of them were pretty big... are they queens?

Thanks
Andreas (Brazil)

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Hi Andreas,

Thanks for contacting us. It is a bit difficult to tell what these ants are from just pictures but they may be a species in the extremely diverse genus, Pheidole. Pheidole are common and are usually strongly dimorphic as this species appears to be. Dimorphism means that there are two distinct size classes of workers; major (large) and minor (small). Other types of ants can also be dimorphic or have a more continuous range of sizes (polymorphism). The larger workers are often useful for carrying large food items and are sometimes helpful for defending colonies. So the big individuals that you see are the major workers, not queens. We have a great post on how to build ant farms and take care of ants here and several other posts that discuss keeping ants here. There are around 1,000 species of Pheidole and we don't know what most of them eat exactly but these posts provide guidelines for generalized ant diets that should work well.

Good luck!
Ben Rubin & the AntAsk Team

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