My Fire Ants Are Planning an Escape


Oh my god. Look at this! I have a very serious problem. A problem that all ant keepers of this species inevitably go through. Now these tropical fire ants can be an ant keeper’s dream Or can be an ant keeper’s nightmare. Look at all these ants! It’s incredible, they have completely filled up all living spaces that I provided for them. And they’re constantly requiring more space, more food, and also a lot more maintenance. Remember my ant routine video? Showing the maintenance required for this ant colony? Well, In just a few months, maintenance has tripled. The growth rate of Solenopsis Geminata is truly unprecedented. Before I used to be able to spot clean this out world. But now, I just got to put on some gloves, cover it with baby powder, and grab at their garbage. There is no other way I also inevitably do end up scooping some workers. I try to save as many as I can, but when you’re dealing with this many ants it’s practically impossible without unintentionally scooping up some workers. By the way guys if you’re new to ant keeping, or if you’re looking to get into ant keeping, please don’t let this video scare you because this species, is a very difficult species to house. I’ve been keeping ants for many many years and I’m comfortable working around them. Most commonly kept ant species, are not this extreme. But I love the challenge! And I know a lot of you ant keepers out there are also up for the challenge of keeping these girls. In fact, these are so hard to keep that I make sure to test all of our AntsCanada products on them to ensure quality and effectiveness. But if you saw the title of this video then you already know what’s up next. These ants have a big plan in mind. They are planning…an escape! In this video, I’m going to show you how I could tell that these ants were planning a big break out and what I did to circumvent their plans. And also, actually change their minds. So be sure to keep watching until the end. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the AntsCanada ant channel! Now let’s go back to a couple weeks ago, when this colony was smaller. At this point, the colony was an ok size manageable, eating well. Maintenance was pretty easy as well. And they were a delight to watch. There weren’t too much but there were also weren’t too little. But then I noticed something very alarming. If you look over there you’ll see ants on the screen. Right underneath the cover. Not exactly an emergency situation, because they’re still inside and they can’t get through the cover But, This was alarming because it meant the ants were crossing my barrier. Now the thing is here in the Philippines, the air is super humid all the time. Which means that dry barriers, like baby powder and Fluon lose its effectiveness over time. Simply due to the moisture in the air. And so what I now have to do, is I have to add baby powder every month just to replace this barrier, so the ants can’t cross. I just simply dip a cotton ball into some baby powder, and gently pad it against the upside down lip. Now here’s the thing; if you look carefully there at the top, you’ll notice that there is a grouping of ants, just kind of sitting there. Sitting there, as if they were planning something. Or, they were waiting for something. Based on experience, when ants do this, I’ve found that they’re ready to make an escape. And if you notice now that all of that baby powder’s there, it seems like that grouping is starting to disseminate. And they’re all going away. Thankfully, these ants are in an AC out world, which is designed to keep ants, like these fire ants, inside. And luckily, it comes with a cover. I also make sure to place baby power on the bottom of the cover, just to keep this from happening again. Now on goes the cover, and I don’t have to worry. A colony at this size is very healthy. Not too crowded, and they’ve established a very prominent highway. But are not completely carpeting the surface. They are, however, growing at a very exponential rate. And I found that the larger the colony, the more agressive they are. Which can prove to be a challenge, especially when you’re working around them. In this case, like when I’m changing water tubes. These ants are super aggressive, and I definitely need to wear gloves. Of course when working around these girls, and dealing with disconnections and connections I will have some escapees. And for them, I just flick them back into the out world. So they can rejoin their colony. Escaped ants basically are kind of helpless, they’ll die without their colony. Ants are stronger in numbers. A lone ant wandering around is kind of useless, and I always find those random escapees that escape while I’m disconnecting connections trying desperately to get back and rejoin their colony. But this video is not about those random escapes. This video is about their great escape! Now remember when we saw that grouping of the ants kind of just hanging out? As I said before, I always find that ants hanging around in groupings like this in their out world somewhere towards the top indicate that the ants are sort of contemplating ways to get out of this familiar space. Now it’s not out of the ordinary for ants to setup resting spots around their out world by any means. But with these fire ants, when I find them hanging out around the top it’s kind of a red flag for me. Now I find when ants are showing signs of wanting to escape their setup it usually means that they need more food. So in this case, when I suspect that they want to escape I just double their feeding portions. I know this helps because every single time I add more food, I see less and less of these ants just hanging around the top contemplating an escape. Anyone whos kept this species knows exactly what I’m talking about. These ants are voracious eaters When these girls wanna escape, I just feed them more cockroaches. Check it out guys And now here I am, adding a little bit more baby powder just to be safe. Look how many workers are foraging this out world, it’s just crazy both hybrid nests here are completely full. It just boggles my mind how one queen can give rise to so many workers so quickly. The queen’s egg laying rate must be phenomenal I bet she lays one egg every few minutes, and it’s around the clock. Again for those of you who are into ant keeping, or want to get into ant keeping don’t let this alarm you because most species like Lasius, Camponotus especially, Formica and other species particularly from the temperate regions Even Tetramorium do not grow this fast. And for all you guys out there who want very large and impressive colonies, I hope you’re watching this video and paying attention. This is what you can expect. If you’re from a temperate region and you’re keeping temperate region ants trust me, it’s a good thing that it takes years for ant colonies to get this large. Also worth noting, if a colony reaches a certain size that you really like all you gotta do is lower the temperature just a little bit. Perhaps by one or two degrees. And that will slow down the egg laying rate of the queen. You can also limit food, but doing this will lead to mass deaths. When my ants are showing signs of wanting to escape not only do I double the food portions, but it also indicates that the ants need more space. I mean look at brood that they’ve moved into the tubes now! These ants need new space and they need it soon. Now instead of adding another formicarium, or another one of these out world nests, I wanted to try and show you guys something really cool that you can do. To increase their living space using just a few materials. Introducing, my solution to offering these ants some new space The Antagon! Okay, perhaps the name is kinda tacky But it’s really cool and I wanted to show you guys what you can do especially if your colony is really large I definitely wouldn’t recommend this kind of setup for a new colony with just a few workers. Because for small colonies humidity is everything and I’m not sure if I would trust the consistency of humidity in a network of tubes like this But for a very large and active colony that could use the space This can add a lot of fun to the design of your ant setup. It can also add a little bit of distance for those of you who have ants that are willing to travel far distances to get to other satellite nests or out worlds. It allows you to increase the space without actually increasing the space. Alright, so basically what I’ve done here is I’ve connected a bunch of our large AC tubing using a variety of different connectors available at the AC shop. And I’ve let this tubing kind of run around this stool which I’ve placed on top of the desk and these tubes will eventually connect to the ant setup. I can’t wait to connect them! Ants love exploring new areas. Especially when the colony is large like this, and they really just want to explore some new space. And of course, we all love spoiling our ants. So here we go guys! I’m going to connect this fire ant colony to the Antagon! Here we go! Gotta grab the escapees and throw them back into the out world. Look at them go! And there you have it! Some new living space for this growing ant colony. And you know what? I don’t see ants trying to escape anymore. This will probably only last them Mmmm, I would say a few weeks. So, do stay tuned for an upcoming video when I give this colony even more living space. By the way guys, for those of you that liked this ant footage of ants moving into the Antagon I’ve created a hidden cookie for you guys and you can simply click here to watch ants just moving into the Antagon or visiting the link that I’m going to put in the info section of this video. Overall, despite these little challenges keeping ants is such a fun experience. This colony is an example of what can be achieved with time, patience, care, and a proper setup. We at AntsCanada have taught thousands of people to keep ants and we’re still counting. We make sure to help our customers achieve beautiful, healthy, and fruitful ant colonies just like this. Ants are truly the most amazing creatures on this planet. And it really is my desire for you guys to find out just how awesome ants really are. If you would like to get into ant keeping, or you need help with your current ant colony, be sure to watch our free videos on this channel or read our various articles at AntsCanada.com Also be sure to visit our forum which is super helpful. It’s a place where thousands of ant keepers, from all over the world meet, post about their ants and read up, because just like ants we are better in larger numbers. Thanks so much for watching this video, please subscribe so you can stay updated with our weekly videos which we upload every Monday, at 8:00 AM sharp. Don’t forget to leave a comment, like, and share! It’s ant love forever guys! Bye! Thanks guys for watching this video it really means a lot to me Don’t forget to subscribe to this channel, we upload a video every Monday at 8:00 AM sharp Eastern Standard Time And don’t forget to check out our great playlists on this channel you’ll see an ant tutorial playlist over there that can help all you beginner ant keepers And we have a fire ant playlist for those of you who like to watch large active colonies Finally don’t forget to visit us at AntsCanada.com. We have lots of great information on ant keeping we’ve got a forum full of thousands of ant keepers from all over the world who you can learn from and please if you’ve got ant colonies don’t forget to contribute and I highly recommend you journal in the journaling section. And finally if you need ant colonies be sure to visit our GAN Project at the Queen Ants for sale section. We sell ant colonies in key cities all over the world and if you would like to be an GAN farmer and sell colonies of your own in your city, please write to us at GAN at AntsCanada.com

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