Another Question About Ants

I have an ant question!

I live in Arkansas and caught a colony of rather large ants. There
about the size of carpenter ants but are an orange color with dark
brown on the abdomen and head, usually I find them under large rocks,
I was curious as to what kind of ant they are and also that I have
them in the new gel type of ant farm which they seem to be doing
rather well they have a few tunnels and chambers but they seem to be
staying out of them.

Will they eventually move into them or should I get a larger container
for them?

I also have found some species of ant in the woods that look every
similar to harvester ants but 1/2 the size and they don’t sting, last
time I tried to colonize that species in the gel they never dug…iare
there just some ants that would rather make a nest in an abandoned nest
then dig there own?

I think your idea to try to figure out what kinds of ants you have is a good one. How you should treat them, what to feed them and what to expect all depend on what kind you have. Unfortunately I can’t tell what kind they are only from your description.

Here are some things you can do:

Take a good look at your ants and then go on the Internet and check ant websites for photographs. One great place to find descriptions and photographs of ants is Under the first tab labeled “bioregions” scroll down to nearctic. You will find lists of ants from nearby states, for example Alabama.

Or if you have a camera that can take close-up photographs, try to take some. The Ant Farm and Myrmecology Forum has experts that might be able to help you. Be sure to read their rules about posting first and check the ant FAQ’s.

If you post photos on a blog or website, send me a link and I’ll see if I recognize them. Some of the characteristics used to tell ants apart include things like number of segments in the antennae, etc. It really helps to have the photos as close and as clear as you can make them.

As for the gel ant farms, I have found that certain ants will tunnel and other won’t. If you are interested in keeping ants, and it sounds like you are, you might want to check into some of the more traditional ant farms that are designed for long term use. Here’s one link to building artificial ant nests. The forum I mentioned above also has a lot of good information.

Let me know if you post some photographs and happy anting!

(Note: As I mentioned previously, I have been the “Consult-Ant” on the Leaping from the Box website. I answer questions about ants and ant farms. From now on I will post the answers here, and when Karen has time she will also post the answers on her site.)

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