Fire Ants vs. My Arm


Ahhh! Look at what a ruthless fire ant colony can
do to your arm! And I was lucky I didn’t get worse than this,
or sent to the hospital! This week, I went in to make some long-needed
renovations to the Selva de Fuego, the massive paludarium home to the Fire Nation, my pet
fire ant colony with millions of angry, aggressive, and hungry fire ants! Every time I work around these warrior ants,
I hold my breath, because each of them are armed with a hypodermic stabber capable of
injecting a potent cocktail of venom, including a burning, vile stuff called solenopsin. In today’s episode, I learned the hard way,
that beauty definitely comes with a price, as we beautify and functionally improve my
fire ants’ half river, half jungle ant kingdom, the Selva de Fuego, and AC Family, the biggest
surprise of them all happens at the end! Put on your gloves and have a front row seat,
as we dive hands first into a Fire Ant nest, here at the AntsCanada Ant Channel! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
BELL icon, welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! The Selva de Fuego is a terrarium build and
tropical world creation, that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with for over 3 years. It’s home to my pet fire ants, a colony I’ve
watched develop from just a colony of a couple hundreds to some 3+ yrs later, a giant megacolony
of millions ants! If you’re thinking, well, it doesn’t look
like millions of ants, well, just wait. You’ll see in a bit, when I get them all to
come out to say hello for us! But first, I wanted to show you guys what
their territory looks like at the moment. Overall, the Selva de Fuego, is still design-wise
quite impressive and functionally, a great home for the fire ants. It’s time we take a long-needed walk through
the territories, AC Family, to show you what’s new. Let’s start here, at a place called the Eye
of Solis. Some ants frollick down the mountain side,
passing tuffs of white hair, remnants of when they completely decimated a dead mouse I fed
them a few months back. The ants are heading to a special place that
I’ve recently discovered they love, and you guys will find pretty amazing! This here is Fire Mountain, and as I looked
down at their great waterfall which fed clean, filtered water into the colony’s river, I
discovered something completely incredible that the ants had established entirely on
their own. Have a look! Welcome, AC Family, to the Fire Nation’s sacred
watering hole, at the foot of their waterfall. Check out how crazy this is! I only discovered this secret drinking station
they’ve set up in a shadowy location at the edge of their waterfall this week, but look! Here they’ve created a raft using their bodies
all linked up in order to access the freshest and cleanest of waters, spewing forth from
their waterfall spring, and man, are they serious about their water collection! Look! Forget mountain climbing, the fire ants are
literally water climbing, using their bodies as a flotation blanket so everyone can have
a drink comfortably without being swept away by the currents! Isn’t it just amazing? Colony members all drinking together, helping
each other fill up their social stomachs like water porters, to carry back to the nest and
distribute the this clean collected water to the rest of the colony underground. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it! Now speaking of the river, before we get back
to the ants on land, I wanted to go for a little swim. Put on your wet suits, guys, and let’s dive
below the surface of these crystal waters. Down here we find incredible life! We have a perpetuating colony of shrimp, grazing
the moss, like an aquatic herd of wild goats, that are always busy eating up organic edible
bits from every surface possible, including the underwater mountains. This busy one uses its highly specialized
appendages to gather up food from the rock surface. Now check out how amazingly this system works! Any dirt, debris, or garbage the ants might
dump into the water gets carried by the river’s current through these massive balls of moss
and algae that act like giant nets, filtering the water of organic bits that the shrimp,
routinely seek out and devour. It seems over time, the shrimp have developed
a routine way of life within the rivers of the Selva de Fuego. Water makes its way further down stream, where
it finally ends up at the end of the river, where floating duck weed and water lettuce,
and Saggitaria below the surface do some final filtering and absorption of harmful nitrates
from waste, before being sucked up into the filter’s intake tube, down to a canister filter
for further filtration, eventually making its way back into the heart of the Fire Mountain
to feed the waterfall that continues the cycle over and over again. It turns out giving the Fire Nation a paludarium,
meaning a terrarium that is part land-part water was an excellent choice, because water
is at the center of their fire ant lifestyle. They travel masterfully across the wetlands
by way of floating plants, and driftwood bridges, but AC Family, now that we’ve had a look at
how excellent the water portion has contributed to life in the Selva de Fuego, let’s now look
at the land territories. Have a look at this area here! Do you know what this is? This is the Fire Nation’s graveyard! Millions of fire ant body parts all piling
up, waiting to biodegrade into the soil, to nourish the plant life. And speaking of plant life, the Selva de Fuego
now only houses some pothos growing hydroponically within the river, and this philodendron plant
which looks a bit distorted, because it’s been cut back so many times, as has this philodendron. In fact, over time, I watched as the Selva
de Fuego gradually got uglier and well, uglier. Left over chicken bones from whole chicken
parts littered the territories. They didn’t hurt the colony being there, but
they were an eye sore, and removing them always caused me to get bitten, so I would always
put off cleaning up these chicken bones until they were truly 100% stripped. It’s incredible to think that once the Selva
de Fuego looked like this! But was now like this! Yikes! Furthermore, it seems gravity has had a toll
on the soil levels of the lands, as the earth-line had dropped considerably below the waterline. I’m not too sure how that happened, but I’m
guessing the soil packed downward over time, plus I feel soils may have been relocated
to other parts of the Selva de Fuego. This lowered soil level wasn’t necessarily
a bad thing, but it did look a bit strange, don’t you guys find? So guys, I felt the Fire Nation’s land territories,
needed a serious beautifying and functional renovation! But the question now was, how was I going
to do it? Millions of fire ants vs. me going in to rearrange
things! AC Family, it’s time to show you just what
I was up against! I’m now going to call forth the Fire Nation
to emerge above ground! At the center of this rough and unruly landscape,
lies the central Mothernest in which we find the heart of the fire ant colony, where the
Fire Nation’s royal queen, her Highness Queen Solis, likely resides laying all the eggs. The Mothernest is discreetly hidden within
this area of the territories. AC Family, let’s get them to come out, shall
we? All we need is a little water to anger the
fire. Now let’s watch! Like a massive army of soldiers ready for
battle, the fire ants came boiling out of the Mothernest, rampaging through every square
centimeter of the grounds. This barrage of nature’s firey fury was what
I was up against! Oh man! Each of these fire ants would not think twice
about hopping on and stinging me non-stop, with a single light brush of my skin onto
any of the surfaces inside this terrarium. Working around a colony of this size and species,
required me to be fast, accurate with my movements, tactful with strategy, and most of all, vigilant
to ensure any ants crawling up my arms were brushed away ASAP! I, your Creator of Worlds, had to go in an
make these lands great again! This paludarium renovation was going to be
dangerous but oh so epic! Now before I proceed, I must warn everyone
watching, that I do not recommend trying this at home! To be honest, fire ants make easy and great
pets to keep when small, but if you ever do grow them to enormous sizes like the Fire
Nation here, they become pretty hazardous to work around. They are definitely not for the faint at heart,
and of course absolutely not for anyone allergic to insect stings. Again, do not try this at home! The first step! I needed protective hand gear! Surgical gloves were thick enough to keep
me from being stung, but were thin enough that I could feel my way around rocks, soil,
plants, and driftwood to make the necessary arrangements to the landscaping. Next, I needed baby powder, and lots of it,
so the ravaging ants would slip off my gloves as I worked around the tank. I also placed some on my arms, but I knew
my sweat would eventually render it useless. Done! I grabbed my trusty trowel. This trowel was my main tool of choice for
the job! And now, AC Family, all was set for me to
go in… Wait hold up! I know what you’re thinking! AntsCanada, millions of stinging Fire ants
and you go into battle shirtless?! Yes, I forgot to mention that the Antiverse
is always at over 30 degrees C, and even the breeziest shirt causes me to sweat buckets,
which the fire ants of course smell and makes them even more angry and aggressive! The longer it took the ants to realize a celestial
beast from the skies was going in to wreak havoc to the lands, the better it was for
me! Alright, so when I was ready, I went in and
went straight for the Mothernest! The main driftwood piece within which the
Fire Nation was nesting en masse was lifted into the air, and was my first operational
move for the renovation. I was careless, and a part of my wrist had
touched some random surface and the fire ants already began stinging me, so I dropped the
driftwood in the location I was intending to place it. AC Family, behold, the mighty Fire Nation
boiling forth from the Mothernest! Besides frightening, the sight of all of the
ants was also truly breath-taking. Fire ants boiled forth from subterranean tunnels
that were now disconnected from the relocated Mothernest! They were mad, they were prepared to kill,
but most of all they were acting out of survival, to protect the lives of the entire colony! Even at the most distant areas of the Selva
de Fuego, fire ants were being dispatched to the emergency regions in need of enforcements. Having already been badly stung right at the
get-go of this operation, I was beginning to feel that perhaps this was all more than
I had bargained for. Over the course of four long hours, I continued
to renovate, rearrange, and landscape the lands, constantly being stung and brushing
fire ants off me. I received stings to my arms. Some fire ants ended up on the floor as I
took decorations out, and ants climbed up my legs to sting my ankles, and for the very
first time in my whole life, one pesky fire ant, managed to sting me… from inside my
underwear! Ahhhhh! But AC Family, when it was all done, the result
had made all the pain worth it. Behold: the new and improved Selva de Fuego! Gosh, isn’t it quite something? The new kingdom of the Fire Nation was now
more lush than it had ever been in Selva de Fuegan history. Have a look guys! I just couldn’t stop staring at the tropical
splendor that was the new dense, jungle terrain that the Fire Nation could now call home. There’s a lot to look at here so let’s start
with the Mothernest! Man, I get goosebumps from the sight of their
main lair! It was almost hypnotic watching the ants moving
everywhere, along invisible lines and pathways only they knew. This Mothernest was definitely one I never
wanted to touch or bother again! The ants were just gorgeous as they went about
their business on the nest surface. It brought me an indescribable satisfaction
to watch the fire ants moving calmly after what had been a big catastrophic and transformative
event for their kingdom. Just look at them. Don’t they all look just awesome? I knew that each entrance into the Mothernest
lead to an intricate network maze of tunnels and chambers that extended into this giant
driftwood, and deep into the soils below and beyond. Somewhere in there was Queen Solis laying
her non-stop clusters of eggs, growing the colony. And now AC Family, let’s have a look at all
the amazing plantlife that now exists in this tropical space. This medley of vegetation has got to be the
most broad array of tropical plants I’ve ever collected together in a single vivarium. It’s a lot and I’ve chosen each for colour,
shape, and preference in growing conditions. Let me show you what I’ve added here! I’ve added clumps of Selanginella, a low-laying
lesser clubmoss. I’ve scattered nerve plants, Fittonia albivenis,
here and there at various parts of the territories, even added a red variety for hot flare and
colour! Also an attractive plant, I’ve added gorgeous,
green bursts of baby Dracaena. I’ve added some ivy to create some intricate
vining through the territories, which will expand and grow more beautiful over time. To truly give the lands that tropical feel,
I’ve added some baby palm tree-like plants, and planted them towards the back of the vivarium. Here’s some Syngonium, and beautiful creeping
carpets of Aquamarine, aka Pilea glauca, which love terrarium environments like this. And finally, thick strings of Spanish moss
hanging from a driftwood limb up high in the skies of the Selva de Fuego. These awesome airplants don’t need soil to
grow, just moisture from the air. More about that, coming up! And the ensemble of plant life all together,
created an attractive, chaotic but harmonious assembly of flora. I expect this rainforest landscape to look
even greater, as the plants continue to grow into their spaces a bit more and flourish. Now there are a few functional renovations
that I’ve implemented into the design of the Fire Nation’s new ant kingdom. First, you may notice that though a lot of
the land is covered in vegetation, I have left some plots of earth bare, in case the
ants decide they need to create some ant hills. There’s also another greater section here,
with lots of room to give the ants space to build upwards, should they choose to do so. I’ve also added some sphagnum moss here to
obscure the presence of the filter’s intake tube, and there used to be a big rock here,
but I’ve removed it to give more room for water lettuce roots. I’ve also changed the background to add a
little depth and context to the lands, of cascading waterfalls, waters of which of course,
lead to the Selva de Fuego. But AC Family, remember how I mentioned at
the start of this video that there would be a big surprise? Well, I’m about to show you that surprise
now. You see with all these plants now in the territories,
more care will be needed to ensure the soils don’t dry out, that these plants continually
receive the water they need, and if you recall from a previous video, I did outfit these
lands with a rain system, but sadly the machinery failed after a few months of use and I had
to resort to manual watering. Well, turns out, I have watering all figured
out now, thanks to inspiration from another ant kingdom from a distant point of the Antiverse,
and guess what. It just so happens that a great storm is brewing
over the Selva de Fuego. Storm coming in 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1! A thick mist blew throughout lands, blanketing
every plant, driftwood, surface, and soil top with rich, purified waters. The Mothernest took a hydro-beating of water
as the misty storm blew through. Like a true rain storm, everything was drenched,
and it was truly magnificent to watch. The mist was administered by way of water
jets fixated towards the top back of the vivarium, and I just loved watching the clouds of mist
billowing about from within the Selva de Fuego. And then 1 minute later, the storm stopped,
and the great mist began to dissipate, but how were the ants doing after this torrential
down pour? Just fine. In fact, the rains and added moisture had
caused the activity at the Mothernest to increase somewhat, but if you look carefully, you’ll
notice the ants weren’t moving in a panic, like when I’d first disturbed them by pouring
water or relocating the wood, no. This here was movement of happy fire ants. It seems all of this valuable moisture that
fell from the skies, was exactly what the Fire Nation needed to help support further
nest construction, and the Fire Ants were clearly eager to start building, wasting no
time! Just look at how happy the Fire Nation was,
marching to and from the Mothernest, going about various newly assumed projects after
the rainstorm! It filled my heart with such joy to know we
were helping the ants live out their best lives! Even the ants at ground level were already
beginning construction of future ant hills. Below the water’s surface, they had no idea
what was going on above ground this whole time. The baby elephant snails had no way of knowing
that just above them, the lands were now more rich, more lush, more beautiful, and overall
a better Selva de Fuego for all the inhabitants on land. Now for those of you who might be worried
that the water system may over-water the territories and cause flooding, don’t worry, as the misting
system only expels a single cup of water, which was a little more than the amount I
used to add into the Selva de Fuego daily. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on moisture levels
over time and tweak the amount of rain given daily during these mist storms, accordingly. As for now, with all areas of the Selva de
Fuego wonderfully moistened and hydrated, the Fire Nation was clearly having a party,
rejoicing at their newly improved kingdom, fit for a majestic and respect-demanding colony
of fire ants, that has brought us all wonder, shock, and awe over the years. Now at the beginning of this video, I mentioned
that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Fire Nation, and yes it’s true. I took some serious battle scars from this
process, and even considered going to the hospital, but in the end, watching the ants
going about their lives innocently and happily within a world we created for them, was the
greatest feeling ever, and filled my heart with only ant love. I have since been staring and watching the
Fire Nation for hours each day, at the Mothernest, watching them swarm above ground to devour
their insects, and celebrate in the rain each evening. It was almost therapeutic to watch! The amazing thing is that these ants will
also help fertilize and nourish the plants around them, by way of their poop, garbage,
and graveyard. Their tunnels will also help aerate the roots. It was a complete interdependent system of
life contained in single kingdom we proudly call the Selva de Fuego. And knowing that I could gaze into this beautiful
chunk of nature we’ve set up, any time I wanted, made the burning stings I suffered all worth
while. This entire restoration and revitalization
project of the Fire Nation’s kingdom, made me realize that we each have a responsibility
to protect the sanctity of the planet we live in, our Earth Nation, which we share with
fellow life, because in the end, the resulting world would be beautiful and perfect, and
perhaps if there was a big Creator of Worlds out there, gazing at us from beyond the expanse,
I’m sure He or She would be as joyful as I was. So as I sat back and gazed lovingly at the
Selva De Fuego from afar, one last time before bed, that’s when I got my second underwear
sting! Ahhhh! AC Family, did you enjoy today’s episode? I love how the Selva de Fuego turned out,
but do you guys like it? Let me know in the comments! Next week, we give you an update on an ant
colony we haven’t heard from in awhile that a lot of you have been asking about, so guys,
you know what to do! Smash that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON
for notifications now, so you don’t miss out on these epic stories of the Antiverse! And don’t forget to hit the LIKE button every
single time, including now! It would really help a lot! Speaking of ants, it’s officially nuptial
flight season in the Northern Hemisphere, and a lot of you are catching queen ants now,
and in case you didn’t know, we’ve got all the top of the line ant keeping gear for you
ant keepers at all levels from beginner to advanced, as well as a tonne of new and exciting
products for the ant keeping community not available anywhere else, so head on over to
AntsCanada.com, and browse through our shop. We ship worldwide, and offer full email support
if you need us. We also have ant colonies with a queen available
in most regions, so go check us out and pick up your ant farm kit and ant gear today! If you’re new to the channel, and want to
catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, feel free to binge watch this complete story line
playlist here, which traces the origins of all the ant colonies of the ant room, so you
can follow their stories and better appreciate how these ant kingdoms came to be, and why
we love them so much! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you’d like to see extended play footage of the Fire Nation living in
the new Selva de Fuego. It’s all super satisfying to watch, especially
every time the rainstorm blows through the lands! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: Which was your favourite species
of ant at Antstore? Congratulations to David DeBacker who correctly
answered: My favorite species has to be the
Camponotus. That tri color is amazing! Congratulations, David, you just won a free
e-book handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: Name one substance found in Fire Ant venom? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

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