Nathant

Hello From Massachusetts

27 posts in this topic

Hello, everyone! I am a beginning bug enthusiast from New England. I keep ants and mealworms (and plan to keep a variety of other insects), but I will probably only talk about my Isopods here. I have a lot of quetions about them. I would love to keep Cockroaches but apparently they are "gross, dirty creatures" that "only live in dirty people's houses and are smelly." Hehe, I bet you could tell who that came from. :lol:  That is alright though.

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Welcome to the forum Nathant, I'm sure you'll eventually find yourself with at least a few roaches, they are irresistible! ;)

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Thank you! And yes, down the road I will probably keep roaches, maybe when I have my own place. ^_^ They are really interesting. Beautiful, too.

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28 minutes ago, Nathant said:

Thank you! And yes, down the road I will probably keep roaches, maybe when I have my own place. ^_^ They are really interesting. Beautiful, too.

I agree, they are extremely interesting, and beautiful! :) Hope you are able to enjoy some yourself one day!

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It's really interesting your allowed to have ants but not roaches. My wife will never let me keep ants or termites. She's ok with the roaches but gets mad when escapees end up in the bed...for some reason that's where they always go. I tell her they like to cuddle to.

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11 minutes ago, lovebugfarm said:

It's really interesting your allowed to have ants but not roaches. My wife will never let me keep ants or termites. She's ok with the roaches but gets mad when escapees end up in the bed...for some reason that's where they always go. I tell her they like to cuddle to.

Yeah I was bit baffled about that too. I'm even allowed to keep Carpenter ants.

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Nice I may have to ask you questions about the care and husbandry of ants I really want to keep them one day...I might try a few months from now. I have an outdoor bug room my wife never goes in. Lol

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What kinds of isopods do you keep? I'm also from New England! :)

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8 hours ago, lovebugfarm said:

Nice I may have to ask you questions about the care and husbandry of ants I really want to keep them one day...I might try a few months from now. I have an outdoor bug room my wife never goes in. Lol

Haha. Yeah I maybe able to help you out. I have very little personal experience but know a bunch from research and stuff like that. It is more complicated to keep them than you think but is a breeze once you get the basics.

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4 hours ago, Roach collector said:

What kinds of isopods do you keep? I'm also from New England! :)

6x Oniscus asellus, 7x Porcellio scaber and 18x Philoscia muscorum. I have only recently started so no offspring yet.

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Cool! I used to have a large colony of porcelio scaber but no longer keep the species. I do have a Small colony of armidillidium maculatum though. 

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1 hour ago, Nathant said:

Haha. Yeah I maybe able to help you out. I have very little personal experience but know a bunch from research and stuff like that. It is more complicated to keep them than you think but is a breeze once you get the basics.

Well what are the basics? Are there any good links you could send me? What types do you have and do you produce queens?

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56 minutes ago, lovebugfarm said:

Well what are the basics? Are there any good links you could send me? What types do you have and do you produce queens?

A mature ant colony will reach something called sexual maturity which could take a few years to get to. At that time, the queen(s) will start to produce larger than normal eggs. They will enclose to be flying ants, aka alates, which consist of both male and female. When conditions are met (wind, temp, humidity etc.) these alates will fly from their colonies and the alates will mate with other alates. When one colony starts flying, a sweet pheromone will fill the air, alerting the next colony (of the same genus or species) to start flying, becuase they know they have the chance to mate. This will set up a chain reaction, and soon thousands of colonies will undergo this process. This is called a Nuptial flight. When the males mate, they die shortly after. A female alate will usually mate with several males until they fly to the ground and break off their wings. That alate has just become a queen ant, aka dealate (wingless) queen. They will find a good place to start their colonies. (they have the ability to lay eggs now becuase they are full of sperm) Your job is to catch these queens. You can find them wandering around during flight time, or not. I tend to find recently mated queens under logs and rocks a lot too, but just make sure they didn't produce any eggs yet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXs9BLdgoBY You then want to put your queen into a test tube setup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=958o2VcABeI  Then, you must determine what species, or at least genus you have. If your species is fully-claustral, you do not need to feed your queen until she has workers. If she is semi-claustral, she needs food before her workers enclose. You can either feed her through the test tube (easiest) or attach a foraging area to the test tube (unneccasary imo), or just place the test tube in the foraging area. Ants need both carbohydrates (for the ant itself) and protein. (for developing brood) You can feed your queen if semi-claustral a drop of sugar water, honey water, mealworms, cockroaches, fruit flies, hummingbird nectar, termites and a lot more, just make sure not to catch insects or other food in the wild. (pesticides) Take away whatever is not eaten. Each colony has a different food personality and may only eat certain foods. Make sure to provide a variety however. You also have to make sure to keep your ants in the dark and only check on them once a week. Their founding stage is very crucial and they are easily stressed by frequent checkups. Given we are halfway across the country from each other, I am very unaware of species and their needed themperature/humidity, but do know for a fact that fire ants, most notably the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) are pretty common in Texas. They may be aggresive, but that is easily avoided if you wear gloves when dealing with food and all that. They are Very fast growing, fully claustral, and have their flights year round too. When your queen starts to lay eggs, you don't need to do anything different. When the first worker arrives however, you should wait bewteen 3-8 days to feed them if they are fully-claustral. Feeding stays the same if the queen is semi-claustral, you may just have to feed a small bit more obviously becuase the population has grown. Personally, I choose to feed them when they start pulling on the cotton, a sign they are hungry. When your colony is starting to get full in the test tube, or is starting to get difficult to feed becuause of escapees, it is formicarium and outworld/foraging area time! You can build your own formicarium http://www.formiculture.com/index.php/topic/2298-how-to-make-a-picture-frame-grout-formicarium-with-advanced-hydration/#entry28868 http://www.formiculture.com/index.php/topic/88-photo-journey-of-how-to-build-a-grout-formicarium/?hl=%2Bpicture+%2Bjourney http://www.formiculture.com/index.php/topic/88-photo-journey-of-how-to-build-a-grout-formicarium/?hl=%2Bpicture+%2Bjourney or buy some from these well-known, reliable sites https://tarheelants.com/ http://www.antscanada.com/ I personally like TarHeelAnts becuase they have more selections, they are high quality and are not overprised like AntsCanada. I reccomend an Atom nest for a small colonies, and watch how to use them in THA's youtube channel. To move them, shine a light on the test tube, and make the new formcarium dark (will make it look attracting) Forcing the colony into a new habitat is simply suicide. Regardless of whether you are building or buying, always make sure your colony fills up at least 70% of the formicarium. All the extra space will become a trash room that the ants make in which you wan the trash room to be in the outworld, where it is easily cleanable. http://www.formiculture.com/index.php/topic/2274-how-to-build-a-foraging-area/ <--- that method is a little overkill, all you need is to pour in the substrate, no grout or anything needed. Fluon is also ideal so no ants get out while cleaning. https://www.amazon.com/Fluon-Insect-Slip-Barrier-pack/dp/B00UJLH12A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484448356&sr=8-1&keywords=byformica The outworld is where you will place all food items. You also can provide a test tube full of water or sugar water into the area, but the humidity SHOULD be enough. Note that ants need a constant supply of water. As your colony grows to a certain size, you can now observe and check on them more frequently, just make sure they are in the dark while not observing though. As long as you provide continued space and food for your colony and keep them clean, they can live long. Some queens can live up to thirty years! Some species of ants are also polygynous, which means the colony can have more than one egg-laying queen (of the same species of course). If you catch a polygyonus species, you can try putting them together in the test tube. When your colony reaches sexual maturity, you can even choose to open the outworld lid, take the ants outside, and if a flight of that species is present, the alates will fly out and mate!

 

   That is the basics. There is a whole lot else to learn though, like species in your area and such. Here are some other links:

http://www.formiculture.com/index.php/topic/583-the-list-of-handy-links/

http://antmaps.org/?

https://www.antweb.org/

http://www.formiculture.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/AntsCanada

https://www.youtube.com/user/TarheelAnts

https://www.youtube.com/user/MelloYellow5000

http://forum.antscanada.com/index.php

https://www.amazon.com/byFormica/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_9941509011?ie=UTF8&node=9941509011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=byFormica

 

Feel free to ask questions!

 

 

 

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I keep Lasius neoniger. They are a perfect beginner species. No brood yet however, ants here in MA go through hibernation, something you don't have to worry about back in Texas I don't think.

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Oh wow thank you I will be really sinking my teeth into this and comb threw all of those links that is amazing. Texas has a lot of unique any spieces so I am really hopefull I can start some colonys. We have one that's red and an inch long that will clear a 3ft circle around the entrance to their nest that has always facinated me. I feel that spieces will be very challenging since I only see them in arid hard clay soil but now I have a starting place for developing the skills to care for ants. Have you ever considered raising earwigs? The make tunnels and you can watch them care for their eggs and feeding their baby's. The ones I have can't climb glass and live in a jar but they can climb plastic. Again thanks so much I have hours of reading ahead of me I love it. :)

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10 minutes ago, lovebugfarm said:

Oh wow thank you I will be really sinking my teeth into this and comb threw all of those links that is amazing. Texas has a lot of unique any spieces so I am really hopefull I can start some colonys. We have one that's red and an inch long that will clear a 3ft circle around the entrance to their nest that has always facinated me. I feel that spieces will be very challenging since I only see them in arid hard clay soil but now I have a starting place for developing the skills to care for ants. Have you ever considered raising earwigs? The make tunnels and you can watch them care for their eggs and feeding their baby's. The ones I have can't climb glass and live in a jar but they can climb plastic. Again thanks so much I have hours of reading ahead of me I love it. :)

No problem, happy to open the doors! I have been thinking about Earwigs, they seem neat too, pretty much ants but just not social. That red species could be a Pogonomyrmex species that you were explaining, aka Harvester Ants.

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They are social to some degree within their immediate family. Which is very fun they tend to build their nests against the glass so they are easy to view. 

I think you are right about them being Pogonomyrmex I will try to research that specific genus :)

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Welcome to the forum, neat to see an ant person on here! 

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Welcome. A little tip on acquiring pet roaches. First get a species that doesn't look at all like a roach........... its down hill from there lol

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On 1/17/2017 at 10:07 PM, Matttoadman said:

Welcome. A little tip on acquiring pet roaches. First get a species that doesn't look at all like a roach........... its down hill from there lol

And what species would you suggest that doesn't look like one and is easy to breed?

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One of the best is therea species like domino/question mark roaches they arnt super easy to breed since there are always more males then female so make sure to get a large group 10 or more to start. Nymphs spend most of their time burrowed and adult male out on display. Gyna spieces are very similar but breed a lot faster slightly more roachy but pretty enough to not be to bad. The real key is roaches with big/wide wings they look less roachy to most people.

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The hisser types are very non roachy in my opinion. I have so many Elliptorhina javanica "Halloween hissers" I don't know what to do with them. I turned off the heat lamp today and will probably leave it off. 

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Ok Thanks! Hmm the Therea species look very convincing... you would never know it was a roach ^_^... hehe

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Right I figure the ones my wife lets me have out on display are the ones other people will like lol

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On January 14, 2017 at 8:33 AM, lovebugfarm said:

It's really interesting your allowed to have ants but not roaches. My wife will never let me keep ants or termites. She's ok with the roaches but gets mad when escapees end up in the bed...for some reason that's where they always go. I tell her they like to cuddle to.

That must be what snuggled up to my chest the other night. I'm completely serious. I think one of my dubias made its way into my bed and snuggled up to me. I grabbed whatever it was and flung it off of me without attempting to identify it, but it felt like a roach. When I got up and busted out the flashlight, the only thing I could find was a wolf spider in my laundry basket, but they are not known for their cuddliness. This was just a couple nights ago. After searching the term, "escapees," and finding this, I am certain my dubia really just want to snuggle. ;) 

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