STARTING A NEW FIRE ANT COLONY | REBIRTH OF THE FIRE ANTS

STARTING A NEW FIRE ANT COLONY | REBIRTH OF THE FIRE ANTS


Last week, we said goodbye to one of the OG
ant colonies of this channel. It was with great sadness that we discovered
that the Fire Nation, my five year old fire ant colony, had died out. But with great endings come new beginnings,
and I can’t wait to introduce to you the heirs to the Fire Nation’s throne. AC Family, today we meet our brand new fire
ant queen and her first pioneering generation of fire ant workers. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
BELL ICON. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! Behold! The great successors of the Fire Nation. What you’re seeing here is a new fire ant
queen with her first generation of worker ants. These ants are about to receive something
truly special, so do keep on watching until the end to witness something magical this
colony is about to receive. Now in this test tube setup, we have the queen,
so gorgeous. We also have the first set of workers, which
are known as nanitics. You can also see eggs, larvae, and pupae. Check out that light coloured worker ant which
recently eclosed from its pupal stage. In a few days, it will be moving around like
the other workers, and its exoskeleton properly hardened. I find this fledgling fire ant colony to be
so cute, and I feel they’ll quickly rise in numbers to take their place as the mighty
fire ant colony of our Antiverse. Now, I was thinking. What should we name this colony? Should we call them Fire Nation 2.0 or the
Neo Fire Nation, or perhaps the Phoenix Nation, as was popularly suggested in last week’s
video. Let me know what you think we should name
this great fire ant colony in the making in this ipoll here. Thank you, AC Council for your input. You’ll notice the queen lays super still. She’s actually resting and preserving her
energy, and for good reason. She’s currently not in her best form at
the moment. You see, the queen hasn’t eaten a real,
full meal in weeks and has gone through quite a lot over the past month. So get this, after a queen mates during her
nuptial flight, she breaks off her wings, and goes off to seal herself within a chamber
in the soil, known as a claustral cell. In this claustral cell, the queen does not
eat and subsists entirely off energy stores in her back muscles which previously powered
her wings for flight. She lays eggs and once these eggs hatch into
larvae, she feeds the larvae a self-made nutritious soup, again created from her back muscle stores,
which she regurgitates up for the larvae to eat. The larvae grow, develop into pupae, then
eclose into adult worker ants. So, this queen here is starving. She literally raised these workers and larvae
off her own body tissues this whole time. Sound pretty crazy but it what she’s built
to do. It’s important she doesn’t move around
too much, though. She must preserve her energy at all costs
if she wants to survive to perpetuate the colony. The success of the entire colony now lies
in the hands of the nanitics. The most important first task of these workers
is to wander out into the world, and bring back some food so the queen can finally eat
after all these weeks of fasting, and AC Family, guess what: We’re about to make that moment
happen now. Let’s feed them! AC Family, I can’t wait for us to see this! Using a toothpick I placed a tiny drop of
honey into their test tube setup. Now let’s watch! Instantly a couple ants discovered the honey. Then a third came along to drink. Then a fourth… a fifth… and a sixth came
to drink. A seventh ant came along and an eighth. It was awesome to see that the honey was such
a hit! You also have to remember that these ants
have only known the self-made regurgitated soup from their mother, the queen. I imagine, as great as that must taste, this
honey must truly be blowing their minds right now! Wouldn’t you think? The queen began showing signs of excitement. I think she had been informed that her nanitics
had found something tasty just beyond. A few minutes later, workers with full social
stomachs came back to regurgitate the goods. At first, I saw the workers were feeding other
workers. This process of regurgitation and mouth to
mouth feeding is called trophallaxis, something all eusocial insects like bees and termites
do to distribute food among members of a colony. Then I noticed a worker feeding a larva. I bet that larvae was loving the honey. When the worker was done feeding it, you could
actually see the honey in the larva’s stomach through its semi-transparent body. How neat right? And then finally, a worker moved in to give
their starving queen mother her very first meal in weeks. Just awesome! More and more workers continued to feed their
queen via trophallaxis. She accepted their offerings graciously. For me, watching a queen and nanitics of a
starting ant colony receive their very first meal is truly one of the most beautiful things
to witness in the hobby, one of those ant keeping joys. Over the next few days, I will continue to
offer our fledgling fire ant colony here various small meals, like a cricket leg or a mealworm
head. The days of fasting and subsisting on the
queen’s own body tissues are now over, as the workers will be the ones feeding the queen
and brood from now on. With the queen properly nourished and a growing
army of worker ants caring for her and her future brood, she no longer needs to do anything
else but perform her primary duty of laying eggs. I think it’s super cool for us to be able
to start this awesome new journey with this new fire ant colony of ours. I think it’s extra cool because it’s been
years since we’ve been able to start an ant colony from scratch like this on the channel,
and I think it would be great for us to watch how a massive fire ant colony of the likes
of our late Fire Nation, emerges from such humble beginnings. Given ample food and resources, this species
literally explodes in population, so I anticipate that this colony will need to move out of
here in a week or two. I plan on moving them first into a Hybrid
Nest, and then once they outgrow that, move them into a terrarium perhaps. But here’s the thing about moving them into
the Selva de Fuego, the old home of our Fire Nation. A lot of you spotted that the supermajor in
last week’s episode had a blood sucking mite on it! It freaked me out because it meant that mites
could have been responsible for wiping out the Fire Nation, and not old age of the queen. But, it could also be possible that the blood
sucking mites came after the queen had died and the population started to dwindle and
weaken. Whatever the case, I’m not going to take
risks, and I have decided that I am going to have to ditch the Selva de Fuego and create
an entirely new vivarium from scratch. I still have a few months to plan before this
colony will be big enough to move in a terrarium anyway. Though the past few weeks have been quite
rough, this new fire ant colony brings me new hope. Though they don’t seem like it yet, this
cute ant colony will soon rise to become the savage, aggressive, and powerful fire ant
kingdom we once knew in the Fire Nation, and until then I’ll continue to nurture them
and film their evolution, every step of the way. Thank you for watching. It’s ant love forever. AC Family, are you as excited as I am about
this new fire ant colony? I look forward to building new memories together
with them and learning about them. I wonder if they have a different personality
than the Fire Nation. So much is in store ahead so if you haven’t
yet, SMASH that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now and hit ALL so you get notified at
every upload, because I believe notifications seem to be broken but the Youtube support
team is on it. Also don’t forget to hit the LIKE button
every single time including now. It would really mean a lot to me. Thank you, guys! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would like to watch some extended play footage of our new young fire
ant colony. And now it’s time for the AC Question of
the Week. Last week, we asked: Which was your favourite memory of the Fire
Nation? Congratulations to Patrick Tierney who answered: My favorite moment in the Fire Nation’s
history was when they were escaping their enclosures. Congratulations Patrick, you just won a free
Ultimate Ant Keeping handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week we
ask: What is the name of the process of mouth-to-mouth
food transfer in eusocial insects? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you could subscribe to our 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!

Ranger Nick: Why So Many Ant Mounds Right Now?

Ranger Nick: Why So Many Ant Mounds Right Now?


[Upbeat Music]
[Dr. Nick Fuhrman/UGA Professor, “Ranger Nick”] Well as we start this new year off, maybe
the holidays have you driving around maybe across the interstate looking out across some
farm pastures and seeing what look like little mounds of soil, maybe fire ant mounds, and
it had you wondering, “Why am I seeing more of them right now? What is the deal with that?” I thought I’d explore that with you this month
and introduce you to somebody who knows quite a bit about this, and that’s Dr. Will Hudson. Dr. Hudson, so nice to meet you. [Dr. Hudson]
Good to see you Nick [Ranger Nick]
I appreciate you spending some time with us today. I want to talk about fire ants, and I want
to talk specifically about a particular mound that we’re standing in front of today. I often see that maybe after a rain at night
or after the temperatures have been maybe a little cooler, I’ll walk out in my yard
and find fire ant mounds that were not there a day or two ago, and I think that maybe I’m
just seeing things. What is the deal with that? Why are we seeing more of those like this
one after a rain at night, after a cooler night? Why is that? [Dr. Will Hudson/UGA Professor of Entomology]
Well, particularly if the conditions have been real hot and dry before that, the rain
provides the ants with the perfect conditions to rebuild their mound. The colony’s always been there, well not always,
but it was there before. [Ranger Nick]
Oh, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
The dirt that you see suddenly pop up is just the dirt that they moved out of the tunnels
and the chambers that are underground where they live, and that’s why suddenly they have
a mound built that wasn’t apparent to you before. The colony itself has been there for months. [Ranger Nick]
Under the soil. [Dr. Hudson]
Under the soil. [Ranger Nick]
I can’t see them, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
They had a mound, but then either they got rained on, or it got stepped on, or it got
so dry that the soil wouldn’t hold its structure, and as soon as the soil conditions are right
they can build that mound back up. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. And sometimes in South Georgia or the southeast
where there’s more sandy soils, maybe those mounds aren’t as high I guess because the
clumping ability of that soil is not there. [Dr. Hudson]
Right, you can pile clay up higher than you can pile sand. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
That’s the bottom line on that. [Ranger Nick]
Now let’s look at, if you don’t mind, let’s look at this one together. And I just happen to have my son’s little
shovel with me today. Here’s this mound. I’m noticing in this mound all of these little
particles of sand and clay are the same size. You’re saying, thinking to us, that they are
pushing these particles up out of the ground after it rains. They’re cleaning out what has washed down. Is that what you’re saying? [Dr. Hudson]
Right, and they’re not pushing, they’re carrying them one at a time in their jaws. They’ve got no other, they’ve got no pockets,
so they’re carrying them one at a time up there. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah and this, and I can kind of see some holes in there, and I just kind of want to
dig in and see what … and look at this, look at what we’re able to see with these
smaller holes and these tunnels. Now these guys must be down low because it’s
been cooler at night, and they’re down low getting warm. Is that what you’re saying? [Dr. Hudson]
Right, they’ll be up at the top of the mound. If it were a bright, sunny day today they
would probably be up there basking not on the outside but just inside. You can see the tunnels, all of these right
in here are places where they can come up. As the sun warms the soil, they warm up too
because they’re cold blooded. They’re trying to get to a place where the
temperature is most comfortable for them. [Ranger Nick]
Which that’s so interesting, and that dynamic of those ants under the ground, that’s what
I want to talk with you about next is going and looking at the culture of these ants. And I promise I won’t put my hand in there,
but I do want to kind of move some things around with you and see some of those areas
of work. So let’s go there next. [Ranger Nick]
Okay, so we’ve had a cooler night. We’ve had a rainy night. The mound is now showing up outside of the
ground, and I’m looking at this. And Dr. Hudson, we’re looking at this together,
I’m going to just kind of dig into this a little. Before I disturb it too much … Oh my gosh,
and the beautiful caverns. First of all, these little guys with wings,
are they ants? I’ve never seen an ant with wings. [Dr. Hudson]
Well yes. They are ants. Those are the ones that are the, what we call
reproductives. That’s the males and females that will mate. Then the new queens will start the next colony. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, so and they’re mating, but they have to fly to mate? I mean, that’s why they have the wings? [Dr. Hudson]
They fly up into the air. If you see it, it’s usually late in the afternoon,
it looks like a little plume of smoke coming up. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
And they mate in the air, and they fall back to the ground. Males die. [Ranger Nick]
Okay [Dr. Hudson]
The females lose their wings and go into the ground and create a small chamber, start laying
eggs, and that becomes the next colony. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
That why I say if you’re talking about fire ants, you need to think of it as a colony
not as individual ants. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. So now okay, so I’m looking at this, and I
know we’re looking up close on the camera too. So we’ve got the ones with wings which we
now know are reproductive ants, but there’s other ones that are bigger, and I see one
moving a little granule of soil. Bigger ones and then there’s smaller ones. Is that an age difference, or do they have
different hierarchy in their family there, their colony? [Dr. Hudson]
Ants as all insects, once they become adults they don’t grow anymore. Their skeleton is on the outside so they can’t
grow anymore, so. [Ranger Nick]
I’ve got to do this. Sorry, I just have to look in here. I have to see what’s going on. [Dr. Hudson]
No, that’s fine. [Ranger Nick]
Look at this. Look at that. [Dr. Hudson]
There are different sizes of individuals. Some of that is related to the jobs that they
do in the colony, and some of it is just variation in size just as people are different sizes. [Nick]
Okay [Dr. Hudson]
So you get some variation that way. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. Now I would have loved to have talked to some
of these ants today, Dr. Hudson, to find out their perspective on what they think of us
humans disturbing their mounds and everything, but I’ve got to tell you. With a little boy at home and a little girl
at home as well that will soon be walking, we go out in the yard, and we have a thing
of that ant spray that we buy from the local hardware store. Miles and I spray that stuff all over the
mound, and we say, “We have killed the ants.” Then a couple of days later we see them again. What are we doing wrong? [Dr. Hudson]
Well, you saw the structure of the mound. It goes a long way down into the dirt, and
if all you do is spray the surface you’re not beginning to get down to the area where
the money is. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah, yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
Which is you’ve got to kill the queen. If you don’t affect the queen, you can’t control
the colony. So you’ve got to put that insecticide, if
you’re going to treat an individual mound, you have to put it in enough water that it
carries the insecticide all the way down to the bottom of the mound where the queen is. [Ranger Nick]
And how much water are we talking? [Dr. Hudson]
At least a gallon of water per average size mound. [Ranger Nick]
Wow, okay. [Dr. Hudson]
Because there’s a lot of volume of soil in there, and you’ve got to get all the way down
through it. [Ranger Nick]
Okay. Now what if I’ve got a bigger area of land
I’m going to tackle? Maybe the bucket isn’t going to be enough. What do you do then? [Dr. Hudson]
If you’re up to, if you’re over an acre, for sure over an acre, then you need to be using
a bait. If you put it out twice a year … There used
to be a guarantee on some brands that you would have no mounds. [Ranger Nick]
Okay. [Dr. Hudson]
Right? That’s pretty good. [Ranger Nick]
All right, yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
If you’re in smaller than an acre then if you’re treating mounds individually, that’s
a thing for retired people. [Ranger Nick]
Okay….”Laughing” [Dr. Hudson]
Because you’re going to be doing that constantly, and you never win that. [Ranger Nick]
Yeah. [Dr. Hudson]
So you need to treat the whole area. [Ranger Nick]
Excellent. [Dr. Hudson]
And if you treat the whole area with a broadcast spray or spread granules out you can suppress
ants, and suppress is all you’re going to do with that sort of treatment for anywhere
from a few weeks to a couple of months. [Ranger Nick]
Interesting. [Dr. Hudson]
And that’s it. [Ranger Nick]
Well I got to tell you, I don’t know about the folks at home, I have learned so much
about what I’m doing wrong. I’ve learned so much about the culture of
the ant colony. Dr. Hudson, thanks so much for today. I so appreciate it. Such an interesting topic. I can’t wait for the folks at home to see
it. You all know what to do. When you’re at home checking things out online
maybe about fire ants in your area, hop on over to the Farm Monitor Facebook page and
check that out. While you’re on Facebook, check out the Ranger
Nick Facebook page and see what I’ve got going on in my world. Until next time, as I always say Dr. Hudson,
for the Farm Monitor I’m Ranger Nick reminding you that enthusiasm is contagious. So pass it on. You all, thanks so much for watching. We’ll see you right back here again next month. See you. [Fast paced music]

MY GREATEST ANT COLONY DIED | RIP FIRE NATION

MY GREATEST ANT COLONY DIED | RIP FIRE NATION


Last week, during our full ant room tour update
video, we fed my biggest ant colony in the Ant Room, our OG fire ant colony, we call
the Fire Nation, some sweet jelly and an entire cockroach. This was actually the first time I offered
them food on this open rock platform in quite awhile, just so we could see them for filming. Ordinarily, I’d drop their food directly
into the thick vegetation around their mothernest where the ants would finish off their meals
in private. But this feeding would be different, and it
wasn’t long before I noticed something quite strange. This was what the feeding site looked like
several hours later. Usually, the fire ants would be swarming all
over this food, but here as you can see, there were only a few ants. Where did all my fire ants go? And what I saw a few hours after that, brought
a sick feeling to the pit of my stomach. There! Did you see it? Wild feral black crazy ants and ghost ants
were inside the Fire Nation’s territory. This never happens! The territorial pheromones of the fire ants
were enough to scare all feral ants in my home from coming anywhere near this tank. Now, they were seen inside! Something was terribly wrong. What happened to the Fire Nation? Where was my most beloved and biggest pet
ant colony of my entire collection? There was only one way to find out. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
BELL ICON. Welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Ghost ants and black crazy ants entering the
Selva de Fuego, the Fire Nation’s massive paludarium kingdom. I even spotted one black crazy ant making
away with a dead fire ant worker! What had happened here? Well, I got to the bottom of it all and I
explain what I believe happened so keep on watching until the end. I couldn’t believe that just a few months
ago the colony looked like this. Millions of ants, swarming above ground, in
celebration of their annual nuptial flight event, where reproductive males and females
hope to mate with those of other fire ant colonies. Of course, seeing as I don’t have any other
fire ant colonies in my room, all the reproductive queen hopefuls and males, ended up not mating
with anyone and dying out within the territories like they do every year at this time. It was shocking to see a colony which I’ve
had for over 4 yrs go from millions to just a few. This fire ant colony was definitely the most
popular ant colony on this channel, and I would say was responsible for taking this
channel and all of us AC Family, where we are toda y. The Fire Nation has accumulated over 153M
views collectively. Their first break out viral video My Fire
Ants Are Planning an Escape currently has over 39 million views. Shortly after, they showed us the savage side
of nature in the video Cockroach Giving Birth While Being Devoured by Fire Ants, which was
featured on Nat Geo and Discovery Channel. Together we watched as the Fire Nation devoured
Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton during US elections season, and showed us the miracle of how they
survive floods by literally creating air chambers using their bodies and by floating on water. They showed us how they amazingly could walk
a tight-rope to get to food across my room. When the channel hit 1 million subscribers,
I tested my luck by placing my honey-covered hand into their nest, at which of course they
riddled me with stings. On Christmas, we gave them a glittering cockroach
christmas tree which they devoured lovingly. Eventually they moved from their formicarium
to this enormous half land – half water simulation of the Amazon River and rainforest which they
dominated and ruled for two very epic years! We marveled at the Fire Nation’s display
of blood and flesh-lust as they tore apart a bird-eating tarantula, a chicken head, a
mouse, a monitor lizard, and even compete with an army of maggots for a decaying turkey
head! They even gave me battle scars on occasion
to remind me that they were an ant colony to be respected. A super organism and force of nature that
wasn’t playing around! We’ve also been lucky to spot, her royal
highness a few times, the Queen of the Fire Nation, whose name is Queen Solis, sole egg-layer
of the colony, birther of this ant army of millions, who once even narrated an episode. There’s no denying that this ant colony,
though the most challenging ants I’ve ever kept, always keeping me on my toes, was also
one of the most amazing collection of animals, I’ve ever had the honour of caring for. And so it was time to get to the bottom of
what had happened to the Fire Nation. It pained my heart to put on my gloves, knowing
that this could possibly be the last time, I’d be arming myself to go into the Selva
de Fuego, the kingdom I had built with my own hands just for them. My heart raced as I stared down at the location
of their mothernest. If the Fire Nation was still alive, they for
sure would be in here somewhere. My mind started to come up with possibilities. Perhaps they had eaten a lot and weren’t
so hungry. But no, that had never happened before ever! AC Family, it was time to get our answers. I went in and removed the driftwood that formed
their mothernest. I looked for fire ants which ordinarily would
be swarming right now as they did the last time I worked in here. And AC Family, what I saw next shocked me
to the core, as the entire life of the Fire Nation flashed before my eyes. Nothing. The Fire Nation was nowhere to be found in
the location of the mothernest. I could see empty chambers which once held
teams of fire ants, brood, and formed the passageways frequented by queen and male alates,
as well as Queen Solis. They were empty now and ghost tunnels. But then a movement caught my eye. It was a lone supermajor crawling around in
the soil. I also spotted a minor worker crawling around
in the empty dirt. The truth made me so sad, but I had to accept
it. AC Family, I’m sorry to say that I believe
the Fire Nation was on its final days. Our Queen Solis, the sole egg layer of the
entire colony must have died and these ants here were the last remaining ants of her final
batch of eggs. I’m so sorry, AC Family. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I ever felt
such sadness over the loss of a colony like I do now. Now that you guys know how epic the entire
four year journey was with this amazing ant colony, you can probably understand why I
cried when I realized I had lost these amazing, amazing creatures. I know, crying over ants. It sounds so weird to new ears but it’s
just one of those things where you need to be there on the whole journey with them to
understand. I felt this was the end of an era for the
entire Antiverse, the end of the most amazing ant colony in the world in my heart. I placed the driftwood piece back in its spot
and left the Selva de Fuego to allow the final workers to live out their final days in peace. The Fire Nation was about five years old,
and though I’ve been saying on this channel that though the workers only live for a couple
months and that ant queens live for up to 30 yrs, I think I failed to clarify that this
was assumed by the ant keeping community seeing as it was recorded in a German laboratory
that a Lasius niger queen lived that long, but the truth of the matter is, there are
thousands of species of ants and we haven’t kept every ant species in captivity long enough
to be able to tell and verify how long the queens of each ant species actually lives. I think the passing of the Fire Nation, assuming
they didn’t die out from some freak disease, has taught us that the queens of Solenopsis
geminata, red tropical fire ants, live for about 5 yrs before passing away. Queen Solis must have died, some time in November. In a typical fire ant queen’s life, during
those five fruitful years she lays millions of ants, spawning hundreds of generations
of workers, creating hundreds of thousands of reproductive ants during nuptial flight
season every year which go on to mate with those of other fire ant colonies and continue
on the species, to complete the circle of life. The Fire Nation’s passing was such a tough
reminder that the Circle of Life is indeed a full circle, and our once booming fire ant
colony was inevitably destined to come to an end and eventually die. Though the passing of the OG ant colony of
the channel was sad, I also realized that we had learned so much from them over the
years, and that they had not lived in vain. Some of the footage and discoveries we made
of their intriguing, secret lives in the soil and water, during the course of the four years
we’ve followed them on this channel, have not been documented by science. By providing the Fire Nation the best possible
care we could give them to live out their best lives, they rewarded us back with such
a wealth of info, discovery, and heart-stopping and adventurous moments, and that to me is
the essence of what ant keeping is all about. I have been contemplating for a long time
about what to do with the Selva de Fuego, now that it was devoid of an ant colony, other
than these feral ants which by the way we need to discourage from being here, so I was
hoping to get your opinions AC Council. Should we get rid of the Selva de Fuego and
rehome all the aquatic life, or move in another of our ant colonies in here like the Golden
Empire or the Titans? Or should I try to find a brand new fledgling
fire ant colony to start all over again from scratch, to be the Fire Nation’s successors,
a Fire Nation 2.0 of sorts. Let me know in this ipoll here. AC Family, this week, I lit a candle on our
behalf to celebrate the life and death of one of the most amazing ant colonies in the
world. Rest in peace to the Fire Nation. Goodbye, my beloved fire ant colony. I’ll miss you greatly. AC Family, it was a tough two weeks for me
when I first noticed the Fire Nation population had dwindled and then later discovered they
had died out, but I suppose it’s all part of the hobby. So much is in store ahead so if you haven’t
yet, SMASH that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now and hit ALL so you get notified at
every upload, because I believe notifications seem to be broken but the Youtube support
team is on it. Also don’t forget to hit the LIKE button
every single time including now. It would really mean a lot to me. Thank you, guys! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would like to watch some extended play footage of some of my favourite
memories of the Fire Nation. And now it’s time for the AC Question of
the Week. Last week, we asked: Which was your favourite creature featured
in today’s full pet ant tour? Congratulations to Alexander Churchill who
answered: I love Jabba the Hutt, the Surinam Horned
Frog. Congratulations Alexander, you just won a
free Ultimate Ant Keeping handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week we
ask: Which was your favourite memory of the Fire
Nation? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you could subscribe to our 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!

Mating frenzies, sperm hoards, and brood raids: the life of a fire ant queen – Walter R. Tschinkel


It’s June, just after a heavy rainfall, and the sky is filling with creatures
we wouldn’t normally expect to find there. At first glance,
this might be a disturbing sight. But for the lucky males and females
of Solenopsis invicta, otherwise known as fire ants,
it’s a day of romance. This is the nuptial flight, when thousands of reproduction-capable
male and female ants, called alates,
take wing for the first and last time. But even for successful males
who manage to avoid winged predators, this mating frenzy will prove lethal. And for a successfully mated female,
her work is only beginning. Having secured a lifetime supply of sperm
from her departed mate, our new queen must now single-handedly
start an entire colony. Descending to the ground, she searches for a suitable spot
to build her nest. Ideally, she can find somewhere
with loose, easy-to-dig soil— like farmland
already disturbed by human activity. Once she finds the perfect spot,
she breaks off her wings— creating the stubs
that establish her royal status. Then, she starts digging
a descending tunnel ending in a chamber. Here the queen begins laying her eggs,
about ten per day, and the first larvae hatch within a week. Over the next three weeks, the new queen relies on a separate batch
of unfertilized eggs to nourish both herself and her brood, losing half her body weight
in the process. Thankfully, after about 20 days, these larvae grow
into the first generation of workers, ready to forage for food
and sustain their shrunken queen. Her daughters
will have to work quickly though— returning their mother
to good health is urgent. In the surrounding area, dozens of neighboring queens
are building their own ant armies. These colonies
have peacefully coexisted so far, but once workers appear, a phenomenon known as brood-raiding
begins. Workers from nests
up to several meters away begin to steal offspring
from our queen. Our colony retaliates, but new waves of raiders
from even further away overwhelm the workers. Within hours, the raiders have taken
our queen’s entire brood supply to the largest nearby nest— and the queen’s surviving daughters
abandon her. Chasing her last chance of survival, the queen follows the raiding trail
to the winning nest. She fends off other losing queens
and the defending nest’s workers, fighting her way
to the top of the brood pile. Her daughters help their mother succeed
where other queens fail— defeating the reigning monarch,
and usurping the brood pile. Eventually,
all the remaining challengers fail, until only one queen—
and one brood pile— remains. Now presiding over several hundred workers
in the neighborhood’s largest nest, our victorious queen begins
aiding her colony in its primary goal: reproduction. For the next several years,
the colony only produces sterile workers. But once their population
exceeds about 23,000, it changes course. From now on, every spring, the colony will produce
fertile alate males and females. The colony spawns these larger ants
throughout the early summer, and returns to worker production
in the fall. After heavy rainfalls,
these alates take to the skies, and spread their queen’s genes
up to a couple hundred meters downwind. But to contribute
to this annual mating frenzy, the colony must continue to thrive
as one massive super-organism. Every day, younger ants feed the queen
and tend to the brood, while older workers
forage for food and defend the nest. When intruders strike, these older warriors fend them off
using poisonous venom. After rainfalls,
the colony comes together, using the wet dirt to expand their nest. And when a disastrous flood
drowns their home, the sisters band together
into a massive living raft— carrying their queen to safety. But no matter how resilient, the life of a colony must come to an end. After about 8 years,
our queen runs out of sperm and can no longer replace dying workers. The nest’s population dwindles,
and eventually, they’re taken over
by a neighboring colony. Our queen’s reign is over,
but her genetic legacy lives on.

Life of Ants – Part 1 (How Ant Colonies Are Made)


The Life of Ants – Part 1 In cold areas, like winter in the United States, ground can be frozen for several months. It can be a tough location for some animals to live, like ants. But still, you could see some hills still erected and intact. Under the mound, there’s a space protected from the cool weather, where ants sleep. There are lots of passageways and chambers. Ants do hibernate, especially during winter. You would be surprised to know this. There are 12,000 species of ants across the globe and these insects can bring things 20 times heavier that its own body weight. When the temperature increases, these little creatures come up and dwell the standpoint. If you’ve seen a bullet ant, it’s 1.2 inches in length, making it the biggest ant species ever listed. Changes in the weather stimulate ants. And, when it’s hot out there, they come to life. In the forest, some of the ant hills are self-reliant colonies; while others are connected to a wide super colony. The ants are amazing because they can survive the cold season. They have a fascinating central warming method. How is that? The decomposing vegetation that they collected prevents them from chilling inside their nest. Here’s another concept that will marvel you. During daytime, when sun is present and it’s not cloudy. You would see numerous ants roaming around their hills back and forth. You wouldn’t notice but there’s alternation going on there. Some ants from below the surface comes up and those that are on the ground with warm body already goes inside their nest. By this method, the ant with warm body helps in heating their nest. What a brilliant idea, isn’t it? That’s what you call “cooperation”. Interestingly, the ultraviolet rays of the sun protects their body from fungi or illness. What’s indeed exceptional is that there’s a queen inside the hill. Her body is double the size among the other ants. As a queen, she’s the integral member of colony that they are protecting. In an ant colony, typically only one queen can be spotted. But, there would be some instances wherein there could be multiple queens. Each queen will produce eggs that will become the next stage of breeding ants. The only kind of ants that have wings are the males and the queens. Their wings are dedicated to help them perform an essential activity. And, it happens during mating season. On a side note, the worker ants pile up as much food as they can. During the winter, the ants stay inside the hill because the surface is covered by snow. After cold months, the Spring approaches. This season is when you’ll see the surroundings begin showing their wonderful colors. Also, during this period, the ant eggs have hatched already from six weeks of waiting. Typically, when an ant bites you, your skin gets irritated, swell and turns red. It because of the formic acid. Some ants can emit formic acid. It comes out from the tip of their abdomen. When the acid penetrates the shell of an ant it dissolves the surface, leaving the inside exposed to contaminants around. The outer layer of an ant is called exoskeleton. Stay away from ants that can squirt formic acid because when the substance reaches your eye, you will dislike and won’t forget the experience. Do you know that ants quarrel with ants of other colonies? They can detect rival ants from another family by smelling them. Once found out, they will fight with each other and defend their territory. Usually, when one detected a rival ant, it goes back to its territory to call the other ants for a defense. When an ant started emitting formic acid, the rest of the gang smells the substance and they do the same. This usually happens when you disturb their territory. When a group of ants overpowered their rival, they collaborate to end the life of their opponent. When the victim is no longer breathing, they carry the body inside their nest. It has been known that ants eat their own kind. In fact, most types of insects. Actually, if you are in the middle of ant war, you could smell the acid. Interestingly, ant war lasts for more than one week. Do you know aphids? These are tiny bugs and live in colonies as well. Reproducing rapidly, they feed the sap by sucking the plant. Moreover, ants don’t harm nor eat them. Why is that? Aphids are beneficial for ants. Instead of ants eating aphids, ants feast on the honeydew that aphids excrete. The abdomen of an ant is like a sack. They fill it with food they can find around. When their abdomen is already full, they go back to their nest and support the colony for their needs. Speaking of honeydew, it’s vital for ants. Why? According to experts, this substance can help ants to rise heat in their body. Here’s another interesting fact. When you get the chance to see what’s inside of some ant hills, you will discover that it has presence of resin bits. By the way, resin is something that comes out when you break a branch of a cone-bearing tree. The tree uses this substance to protect and cover its injured part. Experts found out that ants are not eating the resins. Instead, they use it against disease. It becomes an antibacterial once the ants mix it with their acid. They need to do it to protect the ant eggs from fungi. There’s really so many things we can learn from ants. When the eggs of ants hatch, the larvae emerge. When they reach adult stage, they create silk cocoons. They are like butterflies that undergo metamorphosis. Now, let’s talk about the males and queen ants. When they become adult, their wings become developed and they will be able to fly and roam outside. When it’s breeding period, both males and queens fly and gather around to do one thing. That is for the males to mate and fertilize the queen ants. Here’s what happens. Queen ants stay on plants and release a substance, called pheromones, that when the male ant smells, they go crazy and become excited to mate. Sad to say, but, when the activity is done, the male ant dies after few hours due to tiredness. Moreover, after the activity and the queen ants get fertilized, they do their best to remove their wings, since it’s no longer needed for the next chapter of their life. They go back inside the chamber and soon they will lay thousands of eggs that will become future worker, male, and queen ants. Please like and subscribe. Thanks.

Life of Ants – Part 1


The Life of Ants – Part 1 In cold areas, like winter in the United States, ground can be frozen for several months. It can be a tough location for some animals to live, like ants. But still, you could see some hills still erected and intact. Under the mound, there’s a space protected from the cool weather, where ants sleep. There are lots of passageways and chambers. Ants do hibernate, especially during winter. You would be surprised to know this. There are 12,000 species of ants across the globe and these insects can bring things 20 times heavier that its own body weight. When the temperature increases, these little creatures come up and dwell the standpoint. If you’ve seen a bullet ant, it’s 1.2 inches in length, making it the biggest ant species ever listed. Changes in the weather stimulate ants. And, when it’s hot out there, they come to life. In the forest, some of the ant hills are self-reliant colonies; while others are connected to a wide super colony. The ants are amazing because they can survive the cold season. They have a fascinating central warming method. How is that? The decomposing vegetation that they collected prevents them from chilling inside their nest. Here’s another concept that will marvel you. During daytime, when sun is present and it’s not cloudy. You would see numerous ants roaming around their hills back and forth. You wouldn’t notice but there’s alternation going on there. Some ants from below the surface comes up and those that are on the ground with warm body already goes inside their nest. By this method, the ant with warm body helps in heating their nest. What a brilliant idea, isn’t it? That’s what you call “cooperation”. Interestingly, the ultraviolet rays of the sun protects their body from fungi or illness. What’s indeed exceptional is that there’s a queen inside the hill. Her body is double the size among the other ants. As a queen, she’s the integral member of colony that they are protecting. In an ant colony, typically only one queen can be spotted. But, there would be some instances wherein there could be multiple queens. Each queen will produce eggs that will become the next stage of breeding ants. The only kind of ants that have wings are the males and the queens. Their wings are dedicated to help them perform an essential activity. And, it happens during mating season. On a side note, the worker ants pile up as much food as they can. During the winter, the ants stay inside the hill because the surface is covered by snow. After cold months, the Spring approaches. This season is when you’ll see the surroundings begin showing their wonderful colors. Also, during this period, the ant eggs have hatched already from six weeks of waiting. Typically, when an ant bites you, your skin gets irritated, swell and turns red. It because of the formic acid. Some ants can emit formic acid. It comes out from the tip of their abdomen. When the acid penetrates the shell of an ant it dissolves the surface, leaving the inside exposed to contaminants around. The outer layer of an ant is called exoskeleton. Stay away from ants that can squirt formic acid because when the substance reaches your eye, you will dislike and won’t forget the experience. Do you know that ants quarrel with ants of other colonies? They can detect rival ants from another family by smelling them. Once found out, they will fight with each other and defend their territory. Usually, when one detected a rival ant, it goes back to its territory to call the other ants for a defense. When an ant started emitting formic acid, the rest of the gang smells the substance and they do the same. This usually happens when you disturb their territory. When a group of ants overpowered their rival, they collaborate to end the life of their opponent. When the victim is no longer breathing, they carry the body inside their nest. It has been known that ants eat their own kind. In fact, most types of insects. Actually, if you are in the middle of ant war, you could smell the acid. Interestingly, ant war lasts for more than one week. Do you know aphids? These are tiny bugs and live in colonies as well. Reproducing rapidly, they feed the sap by sucking the plant. Moreover, ants don’t harm nor eat them. Why is that? Aphids are beneficial for ants. Instead of ants eating aphids, ants feast on the honeydew that aphids excrete. The abdomen of an ant is like a sack. They fill it with food they can find around. When their abdomen is already full, they go back to their nest and support the colony for their needs. Speaking of honeydew, it’s vital for ants. Why? According to experts, this substance can help ants to rise heat in their body. Here’s another interesting fact. When you get the chance to see what’s inside of some ant hills, you will discover that it has presence of resin bits. By the way, resin is something that comes out when you break a branch of a cone-bearing tree. The tree uses this substance to protect and cover its injured part. Experts found out that ants are not eating the resins. Instead, they use it against disease. It becomes an antibacterial once the ants mix it with their acid. They need to do it to protect the ant eggs from fungi. There’s really so many things we can learn from ants. When the eggs of ants hatch, the larvae emerge. When they reach adult stage, they create silk cocoons. They are like butterflies that undergo metamorphosis. Now, let’s talk about the males and queen ants. When they become adult, their wings become developed and they will be able to fly and roam outside. When it’s breeding period, both males and queens fly and gather around to do one thing. That is for the males to mate and fertilize the queen ants. Here’s what happens. Queen ants stay on plants and release a substance, called pheromones, that when the male ant smells, they go crazy and become excited to mate. Sad to say, but, when the activity is done, the male ant dies after few hours due to tiredness. Moreover, after the activity and the queen ants get fertilized, they do their best to remove their wings, since it’s no longer needed for the next chapter of their life. They go back inside the chamber and soon they will lay thousands of eggs that will become future worker, male, and queen ants. Please like and subscribe. Thanks.

Bee Beard GONE WRONG!


– [Coyote] I am
getting nervous now. – [Chris] No turning
back now buddy. – [Cameraman] You alright? – I’m getting stung a lot. Alright, gotta get ’em off. – [Chris] Go ahead
and just jump. Real hard. – They’re all on my face. My eyes! – [Narrator] From high in
the sky, the Sonoran Desert looks like an endless
expanse of rocky terrain that is speckled with cacti. Hidden amongst this
unforgiving environment exists a world of animals, many of which can be
difficult to spot. However, today is going
to be a little different, as instead of looking
for the animals, they’re literally going to be
placed right in front of us. Or in my case,
directly on my skin. – That’s a lot of bees. – [Narrator] With the goal
to prove that honey bees are not just out to sting
you, or so I thought. The crew and I headed out
to Life’s Sweet Honey Farms where I will be
working alongside bee specialist, Chris Britton. Chris and his team
specialize in safely removing bee swarms from
residential areas, honey farming, and per my
special request, bee beards. – [Chris] This
the craziest thing you’ve done this
morning, Coyote? – [Coyote] Sure is. Other
than shave off my fur beard. – [Narrator] Ah yes, the beard. I’m sure you were wondering, Coyote, what in the world
happened to your fur beard? Well, the answer
to that question is that I shaved
it off to make room for the nearly 3,000
European honey bees that will soon be
swarming all over my face. Get ready for the newest trend in facial hair
fashion, the bee beard. The following scene was
filmed on private property and under the supervision
of bee specialists. A single sting has the
potential to be fatal. Never approach a bee
hive in the wild. – Okay well, we’re gonna
start the preparation here. Chris is actually going
to apply Vaseline, you said to my nose, and
my ears, and near my eyes, so that the bees don’t go into these holes
in my face, right? – Well, you’re either gonna
look homeless with a beard or we’re gonna look like
a nice manicured beard. So this is a pseudo-queen. This is basically a
queen pheromone lure. So this is what’s going
to push those bees to actually gather somewhere because they’re actually looking
for that queen pheromone. They’ve been
separated for a while, so this is what’s gonna
actually hold them on your face. Okay, so we’re gonna put
this underneath your chin. – [Cameraman] So this is
gonna be the attractant. – This is the attractant. – Alright guys. Well I think we have reached
the final moment here. It’s either back out
or get covered by bees, and I don’t think there’s any
backing out at this point. I have the pheromone
attached to my chin. Got a GoPro here,
GoPro on my shoulder, both of your cameras going. Now wait, wait, wait, wait. Before we go through with this,
how do I get the bees off? What if something goes wrong? What do I do? – Good luck, man. I’m just gonna drive away. (Coyote laughs) Nothing’s gonna go wrong when
it comes down to the bees. If they get to the point where they are
stinging excessively, you can just shake
off real quick. – Put these in your pocket. – Epinephrine pens. Just in case this
really goes wrong. I am getting nervous now. Now I’m getting nervous. I’m Coyote Peterson and
I’m about to take on the bee beard challenge. Are you ready? – [Chris] Yep. – Okay, let’s do this. – [Chris] No turning
back now buddy. Come on girls. Come on girls, up you go. – [Cameraman] How you
feeling now Coyote? – It’s a lot of bees. It’s tough to talk. – [Cameraman] There’s a
bee right on your nose. – I feel it. – [Cameraman] That’s
a lot of bees. Are you feeling nervous? Have you been stung yet? – No stings yet. – [Cameraman] That’s good. That
means you’re remaining calm. – My leg is shaking. Stung on the lip. – [Cameraman] It’s stuck on you. You alright? Be brave. – My neck is consumed. – [Cameraman] I’m gonna
take a couple steps back. I just got stung. Right in my hand. I didn’t realize we were getting swarmed by bees this morning. – There a lot of bees on me? – You got it. You got this. – Getting stung a lot. I’ve gotten stung
about six times. Ow, my neck is
getting stung again. – This is what we
start with right here. We just get more for the
bees to start on him. Then what they’re gonna do is they’re gonna
emit a pheromone, and it’s a location pheromone, and those bees are just gonna
start basically migrating. So now I can actually just
basically hold this right here and they’re gonna all
start marching up, watch. – Are all the bees out? – [Chris] No. – My lip is swelling up. – [Chris] You’re alright. – [Cameraman] You definitely
have a full neck of bees. – I can feel them all. – [Cameraman] Are you
still getting stung? – No, not right now. – [Cameraman] So what is Coyote- – It stung the lip again! Same spot. It’s really starting to hurt. – [Cameraman] Wow, Coyote there. You are just
covered in bees man. – It’s actually turning
out pretty well. – Lip! Alright, I think I
need to get them off. – Are you okay or
you want them off? – It’s a lot of pain. – [Cameraman] But
you’ve almost got it. You’re so close. – Go ahead. – [Cameraman] You
got it, you got it. Power through, you got this. You already got
stung, you can do it. – My eyes. I’m getting stung a lot. Alright, gotta get ’em off. – [Chris] Go ahead
and just jump. Real hard. You
just knock ’em off. – They’re all on my face. My eyes! – [Cameraman] You alright? – Smoke me, I’m
getting stung a lot. – [Chris] You got
stung quite a bit. – There’s one on my hand. – [Cameraman] Oh yeah. I guess
he just stung you big time. – [Chris] You got
stung a bunch bud. – Can I walk away? Oh man, my face hurts. – [Cameraman] You
should see the sting you have in your neck. – Oh my gosh. – [Cameraman] Are you okay? – Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. – [Cameraman] Is your
tongue swelling up? The tongue is the indicator. – No, not yet, but
my face is on fire. – [Cameraman] Oh man, okay. I think we’re good now. It’s only a couple bees
and they’re just following the pheromone on your face. Hold on, you still got
stingers all in your ears. Oh my gosh. Let me see if I
can get them out. – Dude, I got stung
like so many times. All of a sudden, all at once
they started stinging my face. And on my ears. – [Cameraman] I wanna get
the stinger out of your ear. – [Chris] You okay bud? – Sorry, I was just
getting a lot of stings. – No, it’s fine buddy. You got ’em through your
shirt and everything. For some odd reason,
all of the sudden, they started just absolutely
going to town on you. You can see, look
at that right there. That actually literally… – [Cameraman] It drew blood. – [Chris] Yeah, it got
blood to the surface. You just got stung like 40
times in the face by honey bees. – [Cameraman] 40! I don’t think that was
supposed to happen Chris. – [Chris] I don’t know why. I wasn’t getting all blasted up. I mean, I got stung
like once or twice but he was literally
just getting beat up. – Oh my gosh. Dude, my face is in so
much pain right now. – [Cameraman] You alright? How’s the tongue? – Really, really painful. My tongue is not
swollen but my entire, my lips, I can’t feel my lips. – [Cameraman] Where’s Mario at? – [Chris] He’s
over there filming. – [Cameraman] Hey, tell
him to come over here. – [Chris] Hey Mario. – [Cameraman] Mario! – [Chris] He’s probably
covered up by bee sounds still. – [Cameraman] Come over here. Was it worth it? – Oh man, I can see
my lip in the lens. – [Cameraman] You don’t wanna
look at yourself right now. You don’t wanna look
in a mirror right now. – Well, I guess I better
give you some sort of outro of where I can’t talk
’cause I find that my lips are not working
properly at the moment. – [Cameraman] Alright,
I’m gonna try to be calm. Alright, go for it. – I’m gonna be calm. I think based on
the look on my face, the bee beard is not
the new fashion trend. I lasted for about
a minute and a half with my face covered
in around 3,000 bees. Once they started stinging my
lips, it got really painful. They were swarming
around my eyes. I was getting stung on my hands, on my arms, on my
forehead, on my ears, but it was definitely the lips as you can see from how
swollen they are right now that were the worst. I’d definitely say
that the bee beard was an experience
worth experiencing. So far I haven’t had any major
adverse allergic reactions other than just this
localized swelling on my hands and on my face. – [Cameraman] (laughing)
You can hardly tell. – You think this looks okay? – [Cameraman] You
can hardly tell. – I can tell you guys are
having a real hard time not laughing while we’re
trying to get this outro. We counted around two dozen
stings on my body at this point. My lips are swelling up. My eyes swelling up. As you see, the drool’s
coming out of my mouth. But I’m Coyote Peterson,
and that was the bee beard. Be brave. Stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. Oh, that’s painful. – [Narrator] When it
was all said and done, we counted a total of 32 stings that spanned my face,
lips, ears, neck, and arms. The neurotoxin of the
European honey bee is very specialized
and is notorious for causing extreme
localized swelling. For me, this began immediately, and despite the
disfigured, lumpy, baked potato look of my face, I actually handled the
venom very positively, and within 48 hours, was
completely back to normal. – Now the guys have
their bee suits on and they’re gonna put the
bees back into their hives. So far, about 30
minutes have gone by. No anaphylactic shock
so I should be just fine other than the fact that my face looks like the face
of the elephant man. Now I can see in the
reflection of your glasses, it is not pretty. It is not pretty. – [Narrator] If you were
wondering how this compared to the single sting
from a bullet ant, I can honestly say it was worse. As compared to the warrior wasp, I guess we will just
have to wait and see. If you thought wearing a beard of European honey
bees was intense, wait until you see what happens when we go up against a
swarm of 30,000 killer bees to extract some wild honey. Don’t forget, subscribe so
you can join me and the crew on this season of
Breaking Trail.

Why The World Hates Fire Ants


I feel most people either find ants gross
or even fear them, while others don’t even notice them, and some even hate them, especially
fire ants! But let me tell you, as ant keeper of many
years now, every single day, I am reminded of how epic and mind-blowing ants really are,
and most especially fire ants. So today I wanted to take you on a journey,
for a more intimate and deeper look into my tiny city of fire ants, whom you guys have
voted to be called The Fire Nation, and show you just how miraculous ant life truly is,
by using fire ants, perhaps the most hated ants of all as our subjects. We’ll even get to meet the most important
member of the ant colony who has been there since the genesis of this now massive ant
colony – the queen. You won’t want to miss this incredible ant
tour so keep on watching until the end. AC Family, let’s gather round my ant room
for another epic session of ant watching, and see what the world doesn’t know about
the secret lives of these creatures called fire ants, why they are hated globally, and
what it is truly like to live as an ant within the colony, along with our royal highness,
in this info-packed episode of the AntsCanada Ant Channel. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Get ready to be mind-blown! Who needs nature shows. Just watch this channel. Enjoy! People ask me why I am so crazy about ants. After all, they’re pests, especially these
fire ants, which most of the world loathes. Well, I see things a little differently. First of all, not all ants are household pests,
but for this video, let’s focus in on fire ants. I get why people hate them. They appear in huge numbers, eat our food,
leave us with painful stings, cause short circuits in our equipment, and during floods,
they even survive by forming massive rafts to float on water. Not even water, can kill fire ants! These fire ants that you see here, like most
fire ants are a very invasive species, and many countries including the US and quite
recently countries like Japan have put such fire ants on their “biohazard list of pest
species to quarantine”. The Fire Nation here is a species known in
the scientific world as Solenopsis geminata, and let me tell you, it is super famous, or
should I say infamous, because it has successfully invaded pretty much all of the world’s tropical
and subtropical countries. It’s hard to find a tropical place in the
world that hasn’t been conquered by these ladies. In the USA, these girls, as well as the more
prolific species, their cousins Solenopsis invicta have invaded and become the source
of many problems in human populated areas. Now when I say “invaded” it means these ants
somehow were introduced to a given area and spread like wildfire (no pun intended) colonizing
and establishing themselves in that place. Now the reason why this process of invading
can be a bad thing for an area, is because like most animal and plant invaders, what
happens is the invading species becomes a competitor to native species and can displace
them, destroy them, and/or even overconsume resources like food. Essentially, when you have an invasive species
of any animal or plant move into a new place, it affects the entire ecosystem of that area. In the case of the Philippines, where I live,
where the queen of this colony was collected, these fire ants invaded many years ago and
today mostly occupy cities, and luckily have not wiped out the native ants which now generally
tend to stay outside of the cities, at least for now. Locals here are used to seeing fire ants in
homes and know to stay clear of them because they sting. But in places like the US, fire ants have
become a major agricultural pest, killing native ants and contibuting to the destruction
of important crops due to their tendancy to tend plant-destroying aphids as a food source,
aside from their nuissance as stinging house pests. But what makes fire ants such destructive
forces of nature throughout the world? To better understand fire ants, you have to
look at where they came from. The dangerous fire ant species the world hates,
originated from South America. Let’s go there! It’s amazing to think that the jungles of
South America helped create through evolution these highly adaptive, prolific, and destructive
ant machines known as Fire Ants! The terrain there is very diverse and hostile,
a habitat full of predators, extreme climate, lots and lots of rain, and just full of many
other ants, insects, and creatures competing for the same resources. In the jungles of South America, survival
of the fittest certainly applies! So it’s no wonder that evolution and natural
selection helped give rise to the ever impactiful fire ant. No wonder they produce so quickly, in such
huge numbers, have the power to destroy ecosystems, deliver such painful stings, and even are
capable of floating on water during floods. Their native place of origin made them that
way! In fact, a lot of the world’s problematic
and invasive species of ant originated in South America, like argentine ants and rasberry
crazy ants. But the next question is, how then did they
get around and migrate to other parts of the world? Did they develop airlines, too? Well, believe it or not. That’s not too far from the truth. We humans flew them, sailed them, drove them,
and cargoed them around the world. The export of plants from South America in
the plant trade, as well as any cargo for that matter, including produce, all contributed
to the worldwide spread of Fire Ants. They actually migrated to other parts of the
world via trojan horses and are still doing it to this day. There really is no way of stopping them. Governments now try inspection and some even
spraying of all items entering a country. During a recent trip to Borneo, I was surprised
to learn Malaysian government requires all planes to be sprayed with pesticide prior
to landing, and they asked all of us to simply cover our noses while flight staff fumigated
the entire cabin. But even then, after all the precautions,
all it takes is one single pregnant queen ant hiding somewhere to start an entire massive
and growing ant colony in a new place. And speaking of a single pregnant queen ant,
back to my ant room. Let’s meet our Royal Highness, shall we? Here lies the entrance of what you guys have
called the Blaze Maze, a recently installed AC Hybrid Nest 2.0, our newest flagship formicarium
available at AntsCanada.com, and the Fire Nation here has made it their new lair. Opening it up, right at the heart of the Blaze
Maze is a mass grouping of worker ants, and if you look closely you will see deep inside
the mass of worker ants is the queen. She is bigger, and wow check out her completely
bloated gaster, just full of eggs. The technical term for this condition of gaster
bloating due to eggs is “physogastrism”. Now in a previous video, we mentioned that
this queen lays many eggs every few minutes, and one of you guys wrote to me asking how
this was possible seeing as, if she was constantly laying eggs every couple of minutes, that
would be some pretty fast egg development inside her. Well, what I failed to mention in that video
was that she isn’t always laying eggs. In many species of ants, the queen has egg-laying
seasons, periods where she will be popping eggs out like crazy, as seen here. This queen of ours is in her egg-laying period. But there are also times when she is not laying
eggs, and is simply producing more eggs within her. It seems in our video from a few weeks ago,
you guys spotted the queen dashing away from our camera, but if you look closely at her,
her gaster was not as physogastric, not as large as it is now. So at that time, our queen was in her egg-laying
break period. She also didn’t have as many ants completely
clamouring all around her at that time like we see here. For those of you who keep ants in North America,
Europe, Australia, and other temperate regions, you will also notice these egg-laying breaks
througout the year and throughout all of winter time. Now, AC Family, are you ready to be mind-blown? What is truly miraculous is how these fertilized
eggs are created inside the queen, and to learn about that, let’s go back to two years
ago when this queen was still a virgin. So at some point in our queen’s life, she
belonged to another nest of another mature colony somewhere here in the Philippines. She was born with wings, from another founding
queen of her birth colony. Now during mating season prior to rainy season,
she emerged from her birth nest, took off into the air along with all her fellow queen
sisters, and so too did her winged brothers. So get this, in this massive one month a year
event, called the “Nuptial Flight” all fire ant colonies’ virgin queens and males of her
species throughout all of the Philippines took to the air at the same time, and engaged
in a huge mating session. Can you believe it? Every year, completely by instinct, biological
clock, and cues from weather, the fire ants throughout the country release a specific
pheromone which floats through the air to signal all fire ant reproductives to fly in
this Nuptial Flight month, a yearly ritual that has remained unchanged for millions and
millions of years, and this is how it happens for almost every ant species in the world. Every species has their given Nuptial Flight
season in the year, and the ants fly and mate in the same way. So our queen, after having mated with several
male ants, who by the way, die after mating, dropped to the ground and broke off her wings. Can you imagine that after using her flight
equipment, she no longer needs it so it is completely discarded. Talk about body mutilation! Then she proceeded to start her own colony
somewhere else, and as she was wandering around, she was captured and cared for, and eventually
ended up in my ant room to start her own growing ant colony, which became what you guys now
know as the Fire Nation. It’s amazing to think that this massive ant
colony started with just this single queen ant? And what’s even more amazing? Just that one day of mating was enough to
allow her to produce fertilized eggs for her entire life which could span multiple decades! Yes, she has a special organ in her body called
a spermatheca which keeps all that sperm collected during Nuptial Flight viable, and she releases
each sperm cell to fertilize one egg inside her for years and years to come. Talk about the perfect ant-manufacturing machine! It just blows my mind how amazing this queen
ant is. By the way, guys, now that the Hybrid Nest
allows us to actually see her and check up on her periodically, should we give this queen
a name? AC Family, leave your name suggestions for
our Royal Highness in the comments section and I will choose my favourites for the entire
AC Family to vote on in a future video. So once an egg is laid, one of these worker
ants grabs it and proceeds to place it in an egg pile somewhere in the nest. All these eggs will be workers, except prior
to Nuptial Flight season where some of the eggs become alates, i.e. reproductive queens
and males. When the eggs hatch, the larvae are transported
to a larva room, a sort of nursery where they are fed and constantly licked clean by the
workers. The workers who are all their sisters feed
the larvae via trophallaxis, a process where they essentially regurgitate stored food within
their crop, or social stomach. Food which was put deposited there from either
a previous meal, or via trophallaxis from a fellow sister worker ant. Tropallaxis is a great way for ants to distribute
food to one another so that only a few ants ever have to leave the nest to physically
find and eat the food in its raw form. Everyone else just stays home and waits for
the food to be delivered. Eventually these larvae grow and become pupae
and are then placed into a pupae incubation chamber where they are allowed to develop
into adult ants. By the way, these chambers for eggs, larvae,
and pupae, are always changing in location depending on ideal environmental conditions
for each stage. Usually the most humid rooms are delegated
for eggs and larvae, while the warmest rooms are for pupae. Some species of ants will even bring their
pupae to the upper most portions of their ant hills in order to “bake” the pupae under
the sun’s heat to speed up development of the pupae into adult worker ants. The faster ants can get the young to adulthood,
the better because a larger work force means greater survival rate for the ant colony. And that AC Family, is the miracle of ant
life. Can you see why ant lovers like myself are
crazy about ants? They are just mind-blowing creatures designed
to survive and proliferate efficiently in their extensive undeground cities. Though most of the world might dislike ants,
they still are pretty amazing creatures, essential to the environment and important for our survival. They are vital predators, decomposers, pollinators,
seed-distributers, and prey items in ecosystems around the world. And now the next time you see an ant, you
know where it came from and what it took for it to get there. Thanks for watching another episode of the
AntsCanada ant channel. This is AntsCanada signing out. It’s ant love forever. Alright, AC Family, aren’t ants the coolest
creatures? Now that you know how cool they are, I hope
all of you guys get the unique opportunity to keep ants yourselves and observe them in
the comfort of your own home as pets. The ant farm set up you see in this video
is available at AntsCanada.com. I will leave a link in the description box
to a complete easy-to-use kit called the All You Need Hybrid Nest Gear Pack for you to
check out if you would like to try ant keeping, and just a note: we do ship worldwide, as
well as offer starting ant colonies with a queen for sale from ant keepers who may be
from your city through our GAN Project, an initiative to helps lessen the spread of invasive
ants while helping the ant keeping community grow, so watch more about that in this video
here. Promise, you will find ant keeping to be super
fun and educational, and for all you parents out there, it’s an awesome way to bond with
your kids while learning about nature. It would be super cool to keep ants together
with you, guys. AC Inner Colony, of course, I have also left
a hidden cookie for you here, if you would just like to watch some extended play footage
of the Fire Nation living in their setup. And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week, we asked: The fact that the fire ants chose
to keep mostly larvae in the new Hybrid Nest indicates what? Congratulations to Emerald Lion 1717 who correctly
answered: The fire ants chose to keep mostly
larvae in the new Hybrid nest because it has more humidity. Congratulations Emerald Lion 1717 you just
won a free AC Test Tube Portal from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What is the technical term for
the condition of a queen ant’s gaster that is swollen with eggs? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free ebook handbook our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

How Fire Ants Get In Your House – Texas Ant Control – Bulwark Exterminating


Here we have an example of fire ant colony moving
from the yard into the house through a weep hole weep holes are gaps in the wall that are
designed between the bricks to let moisture out the ants can detect that moist air exiting
the building and they go in. I broke the middle away so you can
see the ants marching up into the wall they build a nest up all the way too
wall to preserve the moisture of their colony they’ll even move their egg sacs and all
their entire colony back in the wall putting pressure on your kitchens and
bathrooms.