Ant Room Tour | Giant Bull Ants

Ant Room Tour | Giant Bull Ants


Hi guys, my name’s Jordan, and in this Ant
Room Tour we’re taking a look my 4 foot long vivarium. Currently home to a colony of Australia’s
iconic, and notorious, “Giant Bull Ants”. Originally, this colony of Giant Bull Ants,
scientifically known as Myrmecia pyriformis, were raised up from a single queen, housed
in a tubs and tubes setup. As the colony grew, I progressively moved
them into some larger ytong nests to match. Here’s the colony around 18 months later. At this point they had around 40 workers present. Typically, the larger the species is, the
longer its growth rates are from egg to worker. Given these Giants are one of the largest
species in the world, measuring in at around 30mm in length, this was some pretty impressive
development. I fed them almost every day, making sure the
developing young always had something to chew on. I also kept this colony warm during the cool
winter months, here in Melbourne, using a heating mat. This allowed the colony to produce new generations
of ants year round. Amongst the crowd, here you can see the queen,
and mother to all these ants. It’s safe to say, she’s done pretty well
for herself. A little while later, I decided to create
a new, more spacious setup for them. A naturalistic vivarium, containing soil,
plants, and a clean up crew, in the form of springtails and isopods. I made a video tutorial on how I both set
this up, and introduced the ants into it, in my latest ‘How to Build an Ant Nest’
video. But just to quickly recap, I started with
a 4 foot long glass tank… Then, I added in some clay ball for drainage… Followed by a meshing to help
this area stay clear from debris… Some charcoal for purification… Some soil from my back yard… Then, I added in some driftwood…rocks…plants… and a layer of red sand, and finally, secured
on a custom designed acrylic lid to prevent the ants from escaping. After placing the ants inside, they quickly
got to work, eagerly digging into the soil to construct their new nest. Here’s what the vivarium looked like just
before the ants arrival…and here’s what it looks like today, around a couple of months
later. They’ve certainly been busy. All this uplifted soil you see here is the
work of the ants. Early on in their constructing, the ants had
multiple entrances to their nest. Under this piece of wood here… And these rocks above. But today, they’ve reduced themselves down
to just a single hole, positioned here. Perhaps this was to do with efficiency. The more entrances they have, the more work
it takes to maintain them. And or, it could also be for safety reasons. With less entry points for potential threats,
like other ants for example, the easier they can defend their home. This makes sense given how bull ants, out
in the wild, are often found nesting nearby some highly competitive ants, like Meat Ants… and Sugar Ants. Unfortunately for them, being harassed by
these guys is often the norm. I rarely see them shifting soil around anymore
too, and if I do, it’s only for small maintenance work. Often shortly after I’ve given the setup
a spray of water for example. I’ll see a little bit of activity as they quickly repair any damages. But that’s it really. So I think they must be happy with what they’ve
created down there. It’s a shame I’ll never fully know what
their structure nest looks like. However, I have been able to get a little
glimpse into their new home. If you remember from the previous video, I
positioned some power packs, which are used to run the lights above, against the side
of the enclosure. The heat which these power packs radiate has
been keeping the surrounding wall of the tank nice and warm. And it didn’t take too long for the ants
to notice. You can see they’ve burrowed
out a chamber right up against the glass. Unfortunately, there’s lots of fine dirt
particles stuck to the glass, making the view inside fairly cloudy. But of course, it’s better than nothing. I find they often use this chamber for storing
their pupae, which does best in dry, and warm conditions. All ants go through 4 stages of metamorphosis. Firstly, an egg, laid by the queen. Then, eventually this egg will hatch into
a larva, the stage which they do all of their feeding, and most of their growing. Once its big enough, the larvae of some ant
species, like these bull ants, will spin themselves into a silken cocoon, like these ones have. This helps protect them during their development
into their third stage, a pupa. In here, they’ll slowly transform until
they finally eclose, and reach their final stage, an adult ant. You can see they’re starting to get a little
irritated by my bright filming lights here. So let’s leave them be for now. Up above ground, I’ve noticed lots of these
empty cocoons casings lying around. Check out this little baby isopod making a
meal of one. So cute. An empty cocoon of course means a new worker
has arrived. I’ve counted at least 10 of them so far,
so based on my last count, when the ants were first introduced to this new setup, that makes
at least 50 workers now. And after getting a small glimpse into their
nest, it’s clear, there’s lots more to come very soon as well. The colony’s really growing nicely now. You’ll probably have noticed some other
things growing pretty well too. Lots of weeds. They’re springing up all over the place. I dug up this soil from my back yard, where
I did notice some weeds present. I didn’t sterilise the soil at all, so it’s
no surprise it started sprouting. But what did surprise me was how especially
abundant the weeds formed in and around the bull ants’ nesting site. This is no coincidence. As the ants have been slowly expanding and
maintaining their nest structure, they have been inadvertently shifting seeds hidden deep
below the surface, to higher, more idyllic conditions. Giving them an improved chance to germinate,
and spring to life. Just one of the many reasons ants are so important
within ecosystems. Although, I’m not really a fan of these
weeds. It kind of ruins the semi-arid theme I was
originally going for when I created it. So I might have to do some weeding at some
point. During the day, there’s really not too much
happening with this colony. I only ever see the ants sticking their heads
out from their nest entrance, and just occasionally, one or two workers venturing out for a feed. Here’s one enjoying some raw honey. One of their favourite foods… The reason they’re so inactive is because these bull ants are actually a nocturnal species. Most active during twilight hours. When compared to closely related day-time
foraging species, such as Myrmecia nigriscapa, these guys have a slightly different structure
to their eyes. Making them roughly 20 times more sensitive
in low-lighting conditions. So during the day, it’s rare to see more
than two workers out and about, and even then, they never stray very far from their nest. So to really see these ants in action, we have to come back after dark. It’s around 9pm and the lights above have
now shifted from day to night. This blue light here is designed to simulate
moonlight, and so, allows the ants to forage with little disturbance, and gives them a
distinct indication of night and day, so they can better follow their natural biological
clocks. The vivarium really comes alive after dark. Almost like clockwork, all the isopods, and
crickets come out from their hiding in search of a meal. And shortly after, the ants follow. Bull ants rarely lead their fellow colony
member to a food source, instead they forage alone. So it’s only by coincidence that all these
workers here discovered this apple. And again, unlike most ants, who navigate by following
scent trails, and travel in lines, these Bull ants mostly use their acute vision to navigate,
and rely on visual cues like this central log here, so as to orientate themselves, and
find their way to and from their nest. As you can tell, these bull ants love their
sweets. Mostly I offer them and fresh fruits. Ripe, Pink Lady apples seem to be their favourite
by far. The ants don’t actually eat the apple, but rather,
lap up the juice using their labiums, basically the ant equivalent of a human tongue. Sometimes their technique for extraction can
look rather comical. The ants also require a source protein too,
especially important for the development of their larvae. For these guys, this usually this comes in the form of crickets. Every few days I’ll add a some in. As I’m sure you can guess, these Bull ants
are very efficient hunters. With their massive serrated mandibles, potent
venomous stings, and incredible eyesight; these ants are not to be messed with. Despite this, they’re actually far more
interested in getting their sugar fix. Often they’ll completely ignore crickets
passing them by. and sometimes even drink with them, side by side. Although, they’re not always in the sharing
mood, and will occasionally lash out at their unwanted companions. A quick bluff charge is usually enough to
scare them off… and then, it’s straightback to business. Kind of reminds me of dogs competing for a
bone. The bull ants are the top dogs baring their
teeth, and feeding on the choicest parts, and the crickets, the underdogs, which only
get the leftover scraps the top dogs don’t care for. Or if they’re daring enough,
they sneak their way in and chow down whilst their distracted. Quite an interesting dynamic to observe. The ants’ larvae almost exclusively rely
upon insects for nourishment, whereas the adult workers, mostly run off sugars. So, perhaps there’s not that much larvae
present within the nest at the moment, and so, no real need for hunting insects. So at this point in time, if the ants have
a choice between apples and crickets, this is almost always the end result. Here’s one I found which finally decided
to go after a cricket. Her large, specialised eyes allow her to spot
and precisely track its movements. Once she gets close enough she gripps on with
her huge serrated mandibles, and injects her victim with a potent dose of venom. This species’ venom is one of the most toxic
within the entire insect world, and so, even a little is enough to quickly incapacitate
this cricket here. Even so, the ants are still very cautious
around their prey, and often look rather timid. But eventually, it
gets carried back to their nest. Where it’ll be fed to their growing young. Helping ensure the survival of the colonies
next generation. So what do you guys think of this colony? Of all the ants in my care, these guys are
probably my favourites to observe. Their sheer size, excellent vision, and rather
quirky characteristics, just makes these ants stand out from all the rest. Even the cat seems to enjoy watching them. It’s one of his favourite pastimes. That, and sleeping on the couch. Before we get onto our regular contest, where I give away some of our custom designed formicaria. I just wanted to let you guys know, I’ve
just launched a Patreon page. Patreon is a platform which is designed to
help support independent creators, such as myself, through fan funding. All the videos I create here on YouTube are
written… Narrated… Filmed… and edited by me alone. So if you enjoy my content, and want to see
more of it, more often, please consider chipping in. Any contribution vastly exceeds individual
ad revenue here on YouTube. So even just a single dollar goes a long way. Plus, depending on your pledge, you’ll have
access to exclusive patron rewards, such as behind the scenes sneak peaks on future projects,
and early access to my videos. Regardless of whether you choose to make a
pledge or not, I’d like to take this time to thank you guys. When I created Ants Australia all those years
ago, never could I have imagined it would have come as far as it’s come today. You guys have really given me the opportunity
to pursue my passions. I feel incredibly privileged to have such
an amazing, supportive fanbase. Again, thanks so much guys! Now onto the contest. In last video’s contest I asked, “What
made you want to keep ants?”, or if you weren’t keeping ants, “Why not?” It was really interesting reading your responses,
and was great to hear that actually watching some of my videos had inspired many of you
to give ant keeping a chance in the first place. For me, I originally got interested in ant
keeping a while back. As long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated
by nature, by all animals big and small. But for some reason, I took a great interest
in the small things. I think I must have been around 10 when my
parents bought me my very first ant farm. One of those plastic Uncle Milton ones. At the time, I had no idea what I was doing. I remember collecting up some worker ants,
like it said to on the instructions, and then putting them in. I recall being incredibly underwhelmed by
what came to follow. The ants, just sat huddled in a small patch
of sand, barely doing anything, and within a few weeks, they all started dying off. Unfortunately, this experience was enough
to put me off ant keeping, and my Uncle Milton ant farm was quickly shoved under my bed to
collect dust. Fast forward about 10 years later, and whilst
sorting through some old things, I stumbled across it again, and thought I’d give it
another shot. But this time I wanted to be a little more
prepared. Now with access to the internet, a quick search
made me realise there was a lot more to ants than I originally imagined, and much to consider
when trying to successfully raise a colony. Before long I was hooked, and caught my very
first queen ant back in 2012. This is that same queen here. A Rainbow Ant (Iridomyrmex sp.). If you look closely you can see her laying
an egg. To this day, I’m still actively keeping
ants, and constantly learning new things about them. Which is one of the reasons I just love keeping
them. There’s just so much new to discover. It’s one of those things where the more
you know, the more know, you don’t know. So the winner of the contest is…Lisa Male,
who answered “I’ve only just become interested in the intricacies of ant keeping and would
love to set up a formicarium in my classroom. So much so, I’ve begun my first DIY hebel
nest today. By trying to secure the next generation’s
interest in all things nature, if I can get just one child a year to love nature as I
do, I’ll be happy.” Sounds like a great initiative Lisa! Congratulations, you’ve just won one of our
small sized outworlds. To enter our next video’s contest, simply
answer the following, “Which of the ant colonies featured here on my channel is your
favourite? And why?”. Is it these Giants? My Big-headed Ants? Or maybe the Trap-jaws? Or something else? Post your answer in the comment section below. I’ll pick out a single comment and announce
them as the winner in my next video. And a special thanks to my very first supporters
over on patreon. Shout out to my top-tier patrons. John Overton and Nickolas Atkins Thanks so much guys. It really means a lot. As always, thanks for watching this video
and I hope you enjoyed.

100 thoughts on “Ant Room Tour | Giant Bull Ants”

  1. My favourite colony is definitely the meat ants. I just find them so fascinating. I tend to watch them in the wild. But I love how quickly their colony can grow.

  2. Huh, we have a similar species just up the road from me. Myrmecia Desertorum. . . we call em bulldog ants here in Perth (as they are big, ugly and wont let go once they latch on. . . although i think theyre gorgeous, from an evolutionary stand point). They have the same body shape (related old world species) as your ones except mandibles are a yellowish beige and a maroon exoskeleton. . . and considerably larger aswell (their nuptial flights are fucking terrifying lol. . . although fertile queens are worth $150 a pop, so worth risking). Workers are 2.5cm+, and if my memory serves me correctly, second heaviest species on the planet, second only to Madagascar dinosaur ants. . . fellow myrmecological hobbyist here if you couldn't already tell 😀

    oh, and they can jump like jumping jacks. . . not the full 2ft, but still a good 10-15cm. . . i learnt that the 'fun' way as a kid (goddamn they hurt, pain doesn't last longer than an hour, but it is INTENSE). They are diurnal but seem to prefer day time (so excellent for ant watching/filming). Next nuptial flight is in roughly 6-7 months time, so if you want a queen i could get you a couple without much issue. . . they prefer soil with a high clay and iron content (something with very little sodium, they like aggregated soil peds, them being freaking enormous and not being able to pick up individual sand grains with their mandibles). you will need a deeper formicarium though. Not longer, just deeper (or maybe not. . . i know they dig deep for escaping heat, so im wondering if that temperature change can be counteracted in an enclosed environment. . . hmm, food for thought).

    But yeh, awesome to find a channel about my favourite form of fauna on the planet, dedicated to the country i live in, with the largest and coolest types of ant on the planet 😀

    you absolutely get a subscription from me

  3. i have a colony of 11 workers and the queen of compontus i just fead them a faily big blob of honey and they all rushed over and its made me realised why i truely love keeping them

  4. NIce set up man, real nice. I can't wait to get my own Bull ant colony going. What else is even worth doing in this world?! lol

  5. To the video creator, have you ever put a cane toad in with bull ants or jumping jacks? I feel like those 2 ants will be able to kill cane toads easily. Im sure Army ants are what keeps them under plague proportions in their native South America.
    You might even be able to get a grant from government to develop a way to keep the toads down.
    I Love your work!

  6. I live in SA and now and then I get visited by one of these giants at night whilst I am on my computer. I am a Bee keeper and after seeing this im tempted to offer these individuals a bit of raw honey.
    Is that a good Idea or will it go and tell its mates.
    Also, I have become interested in Formicaria…especially these Bull Ants….something that's easy to see, slower moving and they live here anyway.
    Any advice on the "Tell my mates" thing?
    P.S. Love your channel Bro, keep educating.

  7. I don’t understand why no one builds a larger flat bottom so you can see the nest and have attached to a large out world

  8. It makes you really wonder how these different species evolved, and when you see bull ants with small colonies and a not-very-distinct queen, to the highly polymorphic leafcutter ants you can sort of see a progression of how their societies developed 🙂

  9. Ive always been amazed at these ants. To me they seem quite blind. Believe it or not they visit my bedroom nightly.

  10. Hey jordan, quick question, after catching a queen bull ant should i give her immediate access to an outworld or should i leave her in the test tube until she has started to lay eggs?

  11. I was trying to help a queen she was dying and was stung by her. It didnt hurt that much, less than a bee sting. But i believe their bite is much more painful. My neighbour has a nest and ive always wondered why they get in my bedroom at night. Now i know ,they are nocturnal. I have a great respect for them which is obvious if i dont kill them when they come for a midnight visit?

  12. Genuine question. Why are there so many Ants "country" channels? Are your guys channels connected somehow or just a fun say of naming different channels?

  13. Not very impressed at the fact you haven’t replied to my email I sent you.rather annoying!if you want support it’s helpful to talk to you’re fan base.

  14. I have a bull and nest in my front yard. I like in the Perth hills. The ants have lived in my front yard for at least 25 years and probably longer. They are feisty little critters, one even threatened by car as I was paused about to dive up my driveway. They often rear up to threaten me as I go to my mail box. I like having them around, They are interesting and mostly harmless. The species is mymecia https://www.rockypest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bullant_apr07.jpg

  15. Can you help me? I have found a queen as my neighbour is trying to kill their nest in her yard. I havnt a test tube big enough to house her and not sure on who to call in S.A. to find answers on where to release her.

  16. I love the trapjaw ant colony as they have the record of the fastest bite in the animal kingdom. I also love them because of how gentle they can be and they are quite abundant in our country from the Philippines

  17. The biodiversity of bull ants australian. Are astounding but the deadliest bullets are actually the smallest which are called Jack jumpers the only known ant in Australia that can jump and sting

  18. At one of my old schools there was a tree full of these and I have been bit three times

    Does not feel nice at all (also I was seven so not a very good pain threshold)

  19. Hi, I raised a Myrmecia Nigriceps colony from new queen over 2 years, and I discovered that the queen didn't feed her newly hatched larvas through trophallaxis, instead feed them with a kind of egg like substance which secrete from her abdomen (just like laying eggs). I don't think they are eggs, cuz queen group smaller larvas before feeding and feed them straight away after. Those substances are also bigger than a egg and irregular shape. Now I suspect bull ants may not have social stomach and don't do trophallaxis at all, which I never find them do it. Just want to ask have you noticed this behaviour before, and what do you think?

  20. Much better than other channels with ant content. I'm glad i can finally look at my favorite little bugs without getting called some sort of stupid nickname by the commentator every 5 seconds 🙂

  21. The Bull ants lack of trails make alot of sense when you take into account the fact their neighbors Meat-ants & Sugar-ants are higly aggressive and would most likely follow any such trail back to the Bull-ant nests

  22. The Bible says: The Ants are a people not strong, yet prepare their meat in the summer. Proverbs 30:25-26. Interesting the Bible calls them a People !!! …(the wise ants are not sluggard, be wise like the ant, and consider her ways, no ruler but yet they prepare their meat in the summer Proverb 6:6-8

  23. 👨‍💻i found a nest these BIG ants in adelaide park secrete shh took 3 home to view & 100 meats ants 😳🐜🤷‍♂️💃🎬👍
    something you don't see their mouth they have a small row of tiny feather like teeth inside the jaws
    Want a skeleton of a roadkill take it to a meat ants nest & come back 1 week latter 👍💃🐨oz straya

  24. I don't have ants, I don't observe ants in nature, I don't study ants… I have no particular interest in ants whatsoever. Yet, I keep coming back to this channel and enjoy watching these 20+minute-videos about ants and how to keep and care for them.
    There's something about passionate people that just makes one want to keep listening to them.
    Plus, I get a bit of ant knowledge as a bonus… entertainment and education, what more is there to ask for ?

  25. Never thought ants could be so interesting, you present this very well with good narrating and nice editing. Excellent entertainment during hangovers lol

  26. Why not make a glass pack sideways as a layer in addition to all the other layers as a part of the red sand too. to see what it looks like inside?

  27. While I would love to keep a colony, it's not really possible lest I go catch a wild queen. The Food and Drug Administration in the US has put out a ban on selling native and non native ants commercially due to potential impact on the environment. If I could I would get these beauties here as they seem to be the most unique in not following the norms of most ant colonies.

  28. They do seem to have a lot of “personality.” Perhaps partly because of each worker’s independence as opposed to working in swarms and groups like many other ants.

  29. You should try getting one of the special tube cameras, that would really allow for some interesting looks into the nests of ants in the wild too.

  30. Wow! Watch them go!
    Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer;
    Proverbs 30:24&25

  31. Lovely set up and a very interesting species to keep. How does there sting compare to bullet ants? I only keep none stinging species as I have a young family.

  32. first, it was ants Canada and now ants Australia I feel like I'm about to go into an entomology rabbit hole

  33. They might be considered primitive, but there is something about bull ants that makes them special. To me, bull ants and jumping jacks are as Aussie as a bbq – just not as friendly. Sugar ants are harmless and can be safely handled. Do you have a sugar ant nest?

  34. Those bastards hurt like hell when they bite you…Laid me out for a few days when I got zapped about 5 times at once.

  35. Irl, I’m very scared of ants. I have a phobia of most insects, with ants as the most scary.

    Watching these videos?

    It’s helping me overcome my fear! 🙂 thank you!

  36. These ants are so weird! They hunt solitary and with sight, they’re massive, they have unique jaws, and I’ve never seen larvae act like that in a nest before. Usually as far as I can tell they chill out and do nothing, but the bull ant larvae actively seek out the food and crawl all over it. Something seems to have gone wrong in evolution here.

  37. The "semi arid" theme you had at the begging, to the somewhat orange jungle floor it is now, shows just how important ants are to an environment

  38. My favourite are these bullants. The reason being, I used to catch them as a kid and watch them in my mum's kitchen containers. They have always been my favourite ants but also my least favourite, because they sting so badly.

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