Looking For Queen Ants

Looking For Queen Ants


Greetings, AC Family! One of the most common questions I get asked
is how does one get into ant keeping? How do you start? Where do I get the ants for an ant farm? Well, the answer to that is simple. You start in your own backyard or neighbourhood. In my case, I started right in the area where
I grew up, near the Humber River in Toronto, Canada. And today, I’ve come back home, from halfway
across the world, to show you how to locate the seeds of an ant farm. Today, AC Family, as I’ve done for years growing
up, we hunt for queen ants! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! Everyone has that one place that holds memories
of their childhood, that one special location we call home and love coming back to. Well, mine is right here, at my family’s home
in the suburbs of Toronto. It’s where I started ant keeping and the place
my entire journey as AntsCanada began. It was here where I housed my very first ant
colonies, where I started this Youtube channel, where I began making ant farms & ant keeping
products to sell online, and where my ant love truly began. A lot of people have asked why this channel
is called AntsCanada when I continually mention my home base and Antiverse being in Manila,
Philippines, and well, now you know why. I moved to Manila in 2011 for one of my other
career pursuits. But AC Family, today, now that I’m in Toronto,
I wanted to take you through the fun and exciting process of how I find queen ants, because
I know a lot of you are from geographically similar areas, and want to start ant keeping
yourselves, so this video will cover what I do to find queen ants to start an ant farm
every Spring and Summer in temperate North America. To begin the hunt, you need the proper hunting
equipment. Some snap cap vials. You can buy these in most dollar stores or
arts and crafts shops. Any small bottle or container will do, but
I love these because I can easily poke breathing holes at the tops so the queens can breathe,
and can easily fit into any pocket. Later you will also need some test tubes like
these to place the queen ants in for incubation, but please excuse these used dirty test tubes. They’re long overdue for a cleaning and I
never got around to cleaning them since I left 7 yrs ago! But now AC Family, it’s off to the hunting
grounds! I find the best time to look for queen ants
is right before noon around 11AM to early afternoons before 3PM. Different species have their nuptial flights
at different times of the day, but I have always found most of my queen ants within
the 11am-3pm time period. Also, looking on the right day is key! A sunny day after a rainstorm is the most
ideal time to go hunting for queen ants, because this is when most ants have their nuptial
flights. It had just rained the day before so I was
confident we’d find something! By the way, if you’re new to the world of
ants, here’s a quick crash course on ant reproduction. During a period of a few days each year, every
species has their designated week or so that they have what are called Nuptial Flights
where young queens and males who are born with wings, known as alates, fly en masse
and mate in the air. The males die after this nuptial flight and
queens fall to the ground, break off their wings, and embark on a search for a location
underground to start their own ant colonies. It is during this period after mating when
newly impregnated queens are searching for a nesting location, that we ant keepers have
to snag them for our ant farms. It is truly like catching a real life Pokemon,
and it requires a mixture of skill, knowledge, a good eye, and a bit of luck. And now AC Family, welcome to my ancestral
queen ant hunting grounds. I love coming here! The Humber River trail is a popular bike path
on the west side of Toronto, offering bike riders, joggers, and walkers an easy, yet
long route alongside a steady-flowing river and deciduous forest. The river is home to a variety of fish and
aquatic creatures and attracts a vast array of birds, animals, and of course insects,
including ants! I love searching along paths like this because
it forces creatures to come out into the open, in plain sight as they move towards and away
from the River. I find it perfect for spotting wandering,
freshly mated queen ants! Walking along the path now, the first thing
I notice are not queen ants, but rather tonnes and tonnes of caterpillars! It’s officially caterpillar season. Moths have laid their eggs, and from them
have hatched caterpillars which spin massive cottony webs in the trees. These caterpillar web nests formed when the
caterpillars were babies but are abandoned now. The caterpillars’ droppings are the only evidence
left behind of their previous inhabitation. AC Family, isn’t it just amazing to think
that not only spiders spin webs, but so do caterpillars! Look at these caterpillars hanging from their
web life lines. Sometimes caterpillars will fall out of their
trees or even jump out to evade a predator like a bird, but will hang from their lifeline
webs like these, making them seem like they are floating vertically in mid air. I had to watch out not to run into these hanging
caterpillars while walking along the path on my search for queen ants. The caterpillars are voracious herbivores,
eating up leaves like crazy! When they’ve completely eaten up the leaves
of one tree or bush, they will emmigrate to another, and with it being caterpillar season,
it seems this Humber River Trail path is a busy caterpillar crossing. Sadly, crossing this great path happens to
be a life-threatening risk for the caterpillars and other creatures crossing, for it is the
path through which giants stampede and ride. Some who are lucky enough make it across to
the other side. But as for the unlucky others, the path is
littered in their flattened carcasses. But, these flattened corpses are feasts for
certain creatures inhabiting the area, including ants. Is this huge ant a queen? No, she’s just a big supermajor worker carpenter
ant. Componotus pensylvanicus. She’s found a squashed ground beetle. Sadly, this cool and giant species of ant
had their nuptial flights last month in Toronto, and is no longer flying, but I always love
watching them! Various other Camponotus species continue
to fly in North America and Europe until around September. Camponotus species, also known as carpenter
ants, make great pet ants because they are so large so they and their brood are easy
to see with the naked eye, and are quite active. The only draw back I see with carpenter ants
is their colonies usually take two or three years to reach an impressive size. Patience is truly required when housing these
girls. If you go back to some of my first videos
on this channel, I had an amazing colony of Camponotus novaeboracensis, the New York carpenter
ant, still one of my favourite ant colonies to date. I had to release them back into the wild when
I moved to Manila 7 yrs ago, but I often wonder how they’ve been holding up today. They must be a massive ant colony by now! I truly hope to find a Camponotus novaeboracensis. Let’s see. Walking along the path, I also ran into my
very first species of ant I’ve ever kept on this channel. AC Family, behold. Myrmica ants. Here I caught them tending some plant aphids,
like ant “cows”, which they ferociously protect and milk for their sweet secretions called
honeydew. These extremely aggressive ants, though a
different genus from the popular true fire ants of the genus Solenopsis, have adapted
the name fire ants because of their stings. To be honest, I’ve been stung by these Myrmica
ants many times while keeping them, and honestly in my opinion their bites are much more painful
than those of the Fire Nation, my tropical fire ants, at home! Now if you want to keep a colony of Myrmica,
here is a hack, AC Family! I find the best way, is to collect a mature
colony, as opposed to catching a single queen ant, and I’ll explain why in a bit. The good news is, their nests are almost always
shallow, usually under some wood, leaves, or rock, so scooping them up is easy. Also, another awesome advantage is, if you
scoop as much of the colony as possible you are bound to scoop up one queen or twenty! You see Myrmica ants are polygynous meaning
their colonies usually contain dozens if not hundreds of egg-laying queens. After their nuptial flights, the newly impregnated
queen ants of this species band together, founding big colonies cooperatively, so unlike
most ants where collecting an established colony from the wild almost always leaves
you without a queen ant because the workers hide her well, collecting the majority of
the ants of a Myrmica nest almost always guarantees the capture of a queen. They also hunt during the colony founding
stage, which makes it a bit more complicated for the average beginner ant keeper, so catching
an already established Myrmica colony may be easier than collecting a bunch of queen
ants and placing them in a test tube. But if you’re going to go collecting Myrmica
ants, remember to wear gloves! Trust me. Stings from these girls are no joke! It hurts a lot! If you go back to the oldest videos of this
channel, you can follow my journey with my first Myrmica ant colony. They’re such an interesting species that love
wet nests and lots of insects and sweets! If you love watching collective ant aggression,
these are the ants for you. Alright, AC Family, I know what you’re thinking,
all this talk but still no queen ants! I know! It’s strange, but hey, sometimes this happens. Some days are dry and queen ants scarce. I resolved to come back and try another day. Day 2 of queen ant hunting, again after a
great rainstorm, and I was hopeful to find something. It wasn’t long before I spotted something
along the path that I was sure was a queen ant, but AC Family, as I took a closer look,
this is what I saw. Do you see it? Do you guys know what this is? This looks like a queen ant, with its enlargened
thorax, but actually, this is not an ant at all. It’s not even an insect. This is a spider. It’s an ant mimic! This is actually the first time I’ve seen
one here in Toronto, as I usually see them in more tropical climates. What looks like the head of the queen ant
is actually the spider’s chelicerae, its mouth parts. There are over 300 species of spiders in different
families that mimic ants. Looking like an ant is advantageous because
most predators know that ants taste gross and/or are aggressive, so a predator like
a toad for instance, might see this spider, believe it’s an ant, and decide it isn’t worth
eating. This type of mimicry where a creature mimics
a harmful or undesirable animal is called Batesian mimicry. Thanks to Batesian mimicry and ants’ notorious
reputation in this entire forest kingdom, this spider is more likely to outlive the
average ordinary-looking spider. I continued to look and search. No queens were in sight. In fact, I searched on two more days and though
there were lots and lots of caterpillars, there was no sign of a queen ant anywhere! This can be a common frustration in ant keeping. Sometimes, like I did last year, you can catch
many, and sometimes you come up empty handed, but it’s a matter of persistence and not giving
up. Sadly, by the time you watch this, I will
be on my 16 hr flight back to Manila, Philippines and regretfully, queenless. But you know what, AC Family? Even if I wasn’t lucky, many of you AC Family
members from around the world have been! Behold, your epic queen ant catches! Here is my Camponotus colony, just got my
first soldier, plenty of eggs, got some pupae in there still… Hello, my name is Guy Cougar and I’ve caught
five Tetramorium sp E and I live in Salt Lake City… These are all my ant queens. These three are called Pheidole. This one however is called Iridomyrmex… This is my queen Solenopsis xyloni and I’m
really excited for her first group of workers… Two photos of the second queen. I believe they are the same species… This is my fire ant queen, scientifically
known as Solenopsis geminata… Hello, just caught my first queen ant today. Don’t know the name of the species… The eggs are maturing… I caught this queen about two weeks ago. Anyways, bye! It’s ant love forever. Alright AC Family, did you enjoy this week’s
video? I hope it helps some of you out there looking
for queen ants of your own this year. In last year’s queen ant hunting video, I
was much more lucky. Feel free to watch it here! If you were like me and haven’t found a queen
ant yet, trust me on this, you have nothing to worry about! There is still lots of time, as the ants will
continue to have nuptial flights all summer long well into Fall. Good luck and keep looking! I guarantee you will surely find the queen
ant of your dreams, and when you do treasure and care for her with all your heart! AC Family, on my flight back home I will not
be able to stop thinking about the Black Dragons and their disappearance two weeks ago while
I have been away. I will finally be able to get to the bottom
of it! So be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE button and
bell icon now so you don’t miss out on the update, and hit the LIKE button every single
time, including now. Also, if you’re new to the channel and want
to catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, I’ve put together a complete story line playlist
so you can watch how all of the ant colonies you love on this channel, came to be, all
their challenges and hardships, all their successes and life events, their entire story
lines can now be watched from the very start so you can better appreciate the journey these
ants, as well as us watching them, have been embarking on. It’s incredible how epic the lives of ants
are! Also, just a quick reminder to all those wanting
to get into ant keeping, we offer a tonne of cutting edge, easy-to-use ant keeping gear
and pro ant farms at our shop at AntsCanada.com for when you do catch your queen ants this
year. We ship worldwide, and offer full email customer
support if you need it. AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would just like to watch extended play footage of the creatures seen
along this nature trail. Before we continue with the AC Question of
the Week, I would like to plug my daily vlogging channel, daily vlogs of my travels around
the world which often includes a lot of nature stuff. Feel free to watch and subscribe while you’re
there! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week. Last week we asked: What was your favourite creature
spotted in this rainforest and why? Congratulations to El Reino De Las Hormigas
who answered: My favourite creature of this video
was “Odontomachus”, because they remind me of the Jawbreakers. Congratulations El Reino De Las Hormigas you
just won a free e-book handbook from our shop. In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: Why is a path like that in this video
a great location to find queen ants? 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, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Fire Ants vs. Water

Fire Ants vs. Water


The Fire Nation came pouring out of the tube
and onto the wooden limb. It wasn’t long before it was clear that the
ants have claimed the Selva de Fuego home. But then I noticed something. There were some ants that had fallen into
the water. A lot of ants, actually. More than I was comfortable seeing, and it
didn’t look like they were dealing too well either. The gang of guppies swarmed ominously beneath
them, seeming very interested in these isolated and helpless ants floating at the mercy of
the river’s currents. Suddenly, I grew fearful and began to question
my choices. It looked to me as though these fire ants
weren’t as apt to deal with this river as proficiently as I had anticipated. It had only been a few minutes and there were
already tonnes of ants fallen helplessly into the river, which to me meant many, many more
would soon join them the more time went on. The ants were now shipping in the brood. Things were getting serious! I even thought I caught the guppies taking
test bites at the fallen ants. Suddenly the worst case scenario came to me
and hit me like a knife to the heart! What if the queen were to lose her footing
here and also fall into the water and be eaten! That would be the permanent demise of the
Fire Nation. My heart raced. I had to think fast! I began to panic, as the impending feeling
of having made a big miscalculation grew within me. AC Family, I can’t help but feel like I screwed
this time! I think creating this Amazon River world was
one huge mistake! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! As the fire ants rushed about, I had to remain
calm so I could think about this logically and tackle each problem separately. First, I had to address all the ants falling
into the water. Many of you guys said it, just move the tube
to the ground. How silly of me! Of course. I carefully moved the bridge tube away from
the water so the ants could have direct access to the soils. Done. Now to address the ants that seemed to be
drowning in the River. They needed a life saver of some kind, and
it just so happened that we had the perfect rafts for them to climb on. I pushed over some of the frog bit so these
fallen ants could climb aboard and dry off. Suddenly, things didn’t seem as dire anymore. What a relief! I think the thing that worried me most about
all of this was the fact that in a previous video, these fire ants showed perfect mastery
on a thin tight rope we made them walk to get to food. Remember that video? This is why it shocked me to see so many ants
falling off this much thicker and seemingly easily grippable branch. But then again, on the tight rope the ants
were much more calm and traveling in generally a single file, unlike the huge mad column
here, which now understandably could lead to some ants slipping off amidst all that
hustle and bustle. But in addition to that, I think the fact
that I wasn’t seeing the ants forming their triumphant body rafts right away, also scared
me a bit. Should I now expect helpless drowned ants
to be a common sight in the Selva de Fuego? If so, I wasn’t prepared for that, and I didn’t
plan for our River to be able to sustain masses of drowned ants long term. Anyway, after these minor changes to our master
fire ant emmigration plan, it did seem things got better. The ants didn’t hesitate to begin digging
out their subterranean super base in the virgin soils of the Selva de Fuego. The fish were seemingly unphased by the ants
that could be seen in full view to their side. But I did notice the Ram Cichlids seeming
particularly curious and loving just watching the ants. It appears we aren’t the only ones, AC Family,
who love ant watching. Speaking of the Rams, if our newly betrothed
breeding pair were awkward at first, that was now all done, because the two were completely
bonded now, and inseparably in love. How nice! But it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy in our river
world, as I watched our gang of guppies completely chastising the ants that were taking refuge
on the frog bit. These guppies are such bullies! One of the things that really impressed me
though, was how the fire ants of the Fire Nation seemed to be learning how to manage
life on these life-saving, floating islands of frog bit. Watch this, AC Family. Check out these incredible frog bit-stranded
ants collectively swimming their frog bit to a nearby branch. The currents moved the frog bit around, but
you could clearly see that all the ants had one common goal in mind – to get to the wood. A few of the ants are unlucky enough to lose
their grip and get carried away by the swirling river currents. Come on ladies, you can do it! The currents help move the frog bit along. Ahhhh so close, yet so far. By night, the situation in the Selva de Fuego
definitely seemed a lot more stable. I did notice the guppies, who initially appeared
to threaten the fire ants, had finally grown bored of terrorizing them. And as for the ants, it was amazing to observe
them now impressively proficient at finding various ways to make it to dry land. Any ants stranded on frog bit islands were
now very effective at synchronized paddling to nearby wood. The ants even cooperatively formed bridges
on the water’s surface using their own bodies to gain access to other frog bit islands. From there, ants found neat stair cases to
dry land, like these natural ropes of Spanish moss. Even though the ant colony had been moving
in for almost 12 hours now, there was still a lot of the colony left to move out. The Fire Nation was truly a massive kingdom! I didn’t even know if the queen had moved
in yet. She usually doesn’t move out until a certain
percentage of the ant colony is moved out, perhaps because she needs to be absolutely
sure the new home is secure and safe, complete with her necessary royal interior preparations. She is after all a VIP and needs to have all
her diva requirements met before her grand entrance! And also perhaps because she needs the majority
of the ant colony to be around her at all times. It’s unclear whether she decides when it’s
OK for her to move out or when the colony decides for her. I guess that’s something we’ll never know. Meanwhile, at ground level, the construction
of nests were well under way. I was amazed to see the ants building ant
hills right up to the edge. They towered high like great forts situated
at the water’s edge. How they even managed to pull off attaching
sections of soil vertically to the glass was beyond me! Talk about incredible architects wouldn’t
you say? What’s amazing about all this, is that had
this been humans, it would have been a huge architectural operation, with several teams
over-looking different aspects of the construction following a master blueprint. But with these fire ants, there are no job-specific
teams, no master blue print, but just one huge colony all working together following
some collective intelligence, which will ultimately result in a massive, complex underground sanctuary. Can you believe it? The Fire Nation just astounds me! I wonder where they’re going to choose to
setup their garbage site. Let’s hope not in the water! I was relieved to note that our barrier of
fluon was working at keeping the ants inside the setup. Thank goodness I didn’t have to worry about
the ants escaping, for now anyway. The Fire Nation was at this point busy transporting
the brood, these young fire ants were the lucky ones to emerge from their pupae as the
future first generation of Selva de Fuegans. It was so satisfying to see that this entire
emmigration operation seemed to be under control and running smoothly now. And then I saw this. AC Family, this kind of caught me off guard. Huge larvae! Oh boy, the alates are coming. I completely forgot it was the season. So the reason this was an area of concern,
was because the Fire Nation was now starting to produce the young queens and males with
wings for this year’s nuptial flights, and I didn’t exactly have a plan for dealing with
that yet, but I think we have some time to formulate a contigency plan of some kind. By morning, our fish were waking up to greet
the new day. Peeking into the Hybrid Nests, I was happy
to discover that almost all of the colony had moved out overnight and most certainly
so did the Fire Nation queen. And so AC Family, later that night after disconnecting
their evacuated old home, I could officially announce that the Fire Nation had completely
moved in to their new territories – this massive jungle river paludarium known as the Selva
de Fuego, a replication of the fire ant motherland, we know as the Amazon River Jungle. The day before, I was worried this jungle
river habitat was unsuitable for the Fire Nation, that the River would end up killing
the colony, but now 36 hrs later, I was surprised to note that the surface of our river was
crystal clear and free of ants, and our river floor, also fire ant body-free! This to me meant, the fire ants had learned
over this short period of time, how to live around this moving body of water. I knew they would figure it out! I loved watching the ants living in the Selva
de Fuego. They began establishing clear trails, busy
ant highways across the soils to other entrances nearby. It was amazing to see that the Fire Nation
had claimed these territory theirs! And so did the fish! I caught the Ram Cichlids fully defending
the best section of the river with clear view of the ants. It seems the cichlids were unwilling to share
this prime area for ant watching! So now, AC Family, are you ready for this? A final surprise that I think you guys might
like a lot! So, we had the plants, we had the river, we
had the aquatic animals, and we had the ants, but there was one final touch that I had planned
to make this a true Amazon Rain Forest, and oh, AC Family, sit back. It’s time! At every 7 o clock, right on the dot, something
amazing starts to happen over head in the Selva de Fuego. Something great and life-giving. Rain. Using some tubing and an automatic timer,
I figured out a way to recreate a mini rain shower for one minute within the Selva de
Fuego every morning and night. It took a lot of testing and adjusting, but
eventually, I managed to get the drops to fall perfectly and evenly like rain. Now I didn’t have to worry about watering
the jungle, as it had its own storm system. As the life-giving rain drops fell hitting
the plants and soils, it seemed as though it was a celebratory heavenly sign for all
the inhabitants of the rainforest that they had been blessed with a new, perfectly self-functioning
home to call their own. After the rains, as is our AC tradition, I
offered the Fire Nation a house warming gift. I gave them on behalf of we the AC Family,
a mighty cockroach feast on a stick for our beloved ants to enjoy, who were now super
hungry from the great move. They came swarming to the feast. Watching the ants come pouring out of their
underground castles was amazing! It’s moments like these, that ant keepers
live for! I cherished the sight, triumphant and awe-inspiring! The one thing I learned from this whole experience
was that, one cannot completely predict how nature will unfold, no matter how thoroughly
you think you have all bases covered, and all blue prints drawn up. I discovered on this day that with nature,
there was no perfect contingency plan, as it clearly has a mind of its own. One can only guide life in a certain direction,
like physically cutting out a river, but life will always inevitably flow freely like water,
undominated as it so chooses along the path of least resistance. AC Family, I was happy to say this Selva de
Fuego project was an utter success… That was until, I noticed the next morning,
the fire ants had been busy cutting out their own path of resistance. The fluon barriers I had placed to ensure
the ants remained secure inside the Selva de Fuego had weak spots. Over night, the ants had figured out that
the corners were easier to cling on to despite the fluon barrier. Oh no! So far, it looked like they hadn’t yet figured
a way to cross the upside down lip. But that’s not all! What I spotted next, caused me great concern. The rains overnight had naturally cued some
guests to emerge from the nests, and there seen on one of the frog bit islands were full
grown male and female alates. We didn’t have the time I thought we had to
prepare. The fire ants were now starting to have mating
flights! What was going to do keep all these fire ants
inside? It was then that a tiny movement in the corner
caught my eye. A tiny spider was lassoing some of the ants
that managed to get too close. At first, I asked myself, how on Earth did
a spider get in here? It must have come in with the plants. But what was more important, was that it was
at that very moment, that a crazy idea came to me, which would offer a great solution
to both my fire ant escape problems. Oh boy, this was about to get interesting. AC Family, just when I thought things were
all settled, it seems the adventure has just begun! Tune in next week, when we add a team of special
guests to the Selva de Fuego to deal with escaping ants and flying alates! Trust me on this guys, you won’t want to miss
next week’s crazy, action-packed episode, so hit that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON
now so you don’t miss out on this mind-blowing ant story! Also, do remember to hit the LIKE button every
single time, including now! AC Inner Colony I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, to watch full footage of the Fire Nation enjoying and devouring our great
house warming gift. You won’t want to miss out on what’s there! Also, I wanted to quickly address our completely
failed attempt at live streaming the Hacienda Del Dorado this week. For those who don’t know, I had scheduled
an interactive live stream where you could feed the ants yourselves with Superchats. I was completely surprised to see how many
of you came to support by sending in Superchats to feed the ants. In the short time we live streamed, over 60
of you sent in your Superchats which was completely unexpected and those with Superchats of over
$30 got their names on personalized flags which skewered giant roaches. The full list of SUPER CHAT supporters is
in the description box! Thank you guys so much! Needless to say, the Golden Empire had a complete
and utter feast and loved it, but the only thing was, due to slow internet connection
in my part of the world, the live stream continually kept cutting off and every time I tried to
reconnect to the stream, all of you received Live notifications to your devices, emails,
and home feeds, and when I learned this, I cringed! I sincerely apologize to all those who not
only were looking forward to the live stream, but also to the hundreds of thousands, possibly
even over a million people out there who received a barrage of notifications from me every time
I reconnected to the LIVE. Someone mentioned it was around 9 notifications! It seemed we lost some subscribers due to
the annoying notifications, but I promise, it won’t happen again. I have contacted the Youtube support team
who will hopefully help us avoid future complications like this. The great thing, though is that now I know
that an interactive live stream like this is possible, and I have already begun brainstorming
an automatic feeding system so you guys at home can feed the ants yourselves from the
comfort of your own home or mobile device, during an ant live stream! Isn’t 2018 technology just amazing? Alright and before proceeding to the AC Question
of the week, I just wanted to plug my new daily vlogging channel, for those of you curious
about what I do between these weekly ant videos. I upload daily life vlogs of my travels around
the world, and it also includes a lot of biology stuff. Alright and now it’s time for the AC Question
of the Week! Last week, we asked: What did all the plants and animals living
in the Selva de Fuego have in common? Congratulations to Aaronn Carrington who correctly
answered: All plants in water and
on land are native to the South American Amazon. Congratulations Aaronn you just won a free
e-book handbook from our shop. In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: Why does the Fire Nation queen take her time
when moving out of an old nest and into a new one? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free ant t-shirt from 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!

Ants vs. Termites

Ants vs. Termites


Now on to a neighbouring ant kingdom, that
I’ve been dying to update you all on. They’ve truly been pioneering hardcore, and
I feel are well on their way to becoming a successful ant kingdom. I have some key updates on our huge, aggressive,
and queenless Diacamma ant colony, whom I call the Bullet Ants of Asia, living quietly
in the Shire, and AC Family, I can’t wait to show you how they’ve been. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
bell icon! Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! The Shire has had a couple months now to develop
and blossom into a land of its own, with lush nerve plants growing in thickened adolescent
soils, and arms of solid driftwood twisting through the kingdom of our young Diacamma
ant colony. The territories might look abandoned and unoccupied
right now, but don’t be fooled by the stillness for any moment now, the colony is set to emerge. It’s hunting time! Surfacing from an opening in the nest moves
a mighty ant warrior, to greet the misty morning air, waving her long antennae! She smells food. Fellow ants emerge from a number of openings
in the nest to begin foraging the premise for the day’s meal. AC Family, you will see in this video just
how crazy these ants are at stalking and hunting their prey, but man, what I managed to capture
will totally blow your mind! Stay tuned for the grand arrival of some uninvited
but welcomed guests! If you’re new here, and you’re wondering what
is keeping these aggressive stinging ant warriors inside the kingdom, a band of fluon which
is super slippery for the ants, keeps these girls inside and my mind at complete ease. But before we go ahead and feed these ants,
which I’ve since been referring to as the Bullet Ants of Asia, this warrior Diacamma
colony needs an official name. Please take moment to leave your vote here,
for your favourite from my top 5 picks from name suggestions from you the AC Family. Thank you AC Council for your input. So on today’s menu: a roach nymph. I love watching the colony find food and take
it back to the nest. The degree of cooperation is just amazing! Have a look at them! Since our last update on this colony, it seems
the nest has expanded from its original layout, now with multiple entrances and exits. Each exit is inconspicuous, likely for security
purposes. After all, you wouldn’t want to advertise
for a predator where your nest entrance is. Speaking of which AC Family, let’s peek into
nest, shall we? Alright. Moving this rock rampart to the side, and
wow! We see ants in there and they’re busy eating. It’s hard to tell how many are in the colony
now because we can only see into two and a half chambers. The colony has decided to completely block
out all other rooms from our view by piling soil against the glass. No worries. These ants want their privacy, too. It also does seem that the colony has extended
their nest into the surrounding soil around this main nesting area. But because they’ve cut off most of our access
to viewership inside the nest, I actually have a bit of a problem now, and it’s this:
I don’t know if the gamergate is alive. If you haven’t seen our last video on this
colony, and don’t know what a gamergate is, in short, these Diacamma ants are super unique
in the ant world because their colonies are queenless! Yes, you heard correct. This colony here is composed of all workers,
however, the way they reproduce is by a gamergate. A gamergate is one dominant worker ant who
takes on the important task of egg-laying, giving birth to new workers. It’s a highly coveted rank in the colony,
but this gamergate defends her egg-laying throne by wrestling with young worker ants
that dare to challenge her, and even more crazy, by physically plucking off special
body parts known as gemmae, which keep the ants of this species fertile and capable of
bearing young! In other words, as soon as adult ants emerge
from their cocoons the gamergate is there along with helpful workers to castrate the
new ant so it doesn’t become a future gamergate challenger. Isn’t that totally Game of Thrones-ish and
super cut-throat?! It’s all part of the normal Diacamma social
system. So far, I have never personally seen the almighty
gamergate, but I know she was in here back when they first moved into the Shire, because
there was a tonne of brood in one of the rooms. Now, I see no brood at all, so I don’t know
if the gamergate has passed away and new potential gamergate candidates are waiting for a male
to come along to mate with so the colony can continue growing, or if the gamergate and
her brood pile are still around, but just hidden away somewhere in one of the many concealed
chambers of the nest. The only thing I can do now is, try to find
a male Diacamma alate every now and then, and release him into the nest, so he can locate
any gamergate-to-be if the initial gamergate died. We’ll just have to see. I’ve gotten to know more about these ants
over the time they’ve been under our care. First, I find these ants love their home damp
and humid at all times. In fact, I find the ants will not emerge from
their nest if the territories are too dry. I’ve also added more soils to help maintain
this desired wet environment. They also like their nest constantly humidified. These clumps of moss are awesome because they
turn brown when they dry up, so when I do see them browning out, I simply water them. They’re like natural moisture indicators reminding
me when it’s time to water the nest. The nest itself is made of a highly absorbent
brick material called ytong, used for building human homes, but commonly used as nests by
some ant keepers. These ants are actually quite meticulous with
their home. I always see workers going over all areas
of the nest making sure all is perfectly maintained. These ants seem to pride themselves at nest
grooming. Look at how they survey the nest exterior
making sure everything is perfectly in place. And AC Family check this out, they’re even
picky with the particular clump of dirt used to set around the nest, and they travel to
other areas of the territories to get the perfect piece! Careful where you’re putting that. They’re even fussy about where they place
their dead! This particular ant here has started searching
before sunrise for the best place to lay her deceased sister. Several hours later… still searching… and Still looking… Still looking! and looking still… …finally, it wasn’t until afternoon that
she decided… here! In the corner. But this isn’t to say this will be her final
decision. She may change her mind again for the nth
time. You know, I often wonder if ants feel sorrow
when their family members die. After all, ants like humans are extremely
social animals and must experience some kind of bond with one another, even if on a simplistic
insect level. Now placing a superworm inside. You would expect the colony to pounce on every
little bit of meat I place inside, but what you may find interesting is that even with
food, this ants are extremely choosy! Seems they’re not interested in superworm
meat today. Like some humans, they don’t like to eat the
same thing two days in a row. They just had a superworm yesterday so, now
they kind of gathered around it only to eventually leave it behind for the springtails. Fine! Let’s just give it to a colony that isn’t
so picky. Golden Empire, enjoy these leftovers, I mean,
untouched superworm meat. Here’s something else you might find funny. Check out this ant that is taking back what
it believes to be a prized catch, but what it doesn’t realize is that it is actually
a piece of dried up leftover discarded by one of the colony members a couple days ago. It proudly drags it up to the nest entrance,
but when it goes to check out the best way to carry it into the nest, another worker
comes by, identifies that this was the other day’s discarded leftovers, and fights in a
tug of war, in order to bring it back, far away from the nest. Haha so funny! And now AC Family, for the crazy event that
happened out of nowhere that left me shook! For the various social insects, it’s Nuptial
Flight season here in the Philippines where I live. As you saw in recent videos the Fire Nation
Nuptial Flights are in full effect every night. This fire nation alate must have died overnight
and this Diacamma worker found her. Watch as she check out this new alate. I thought she was taking her into the nest
to eat, but later found the alate being carried away to be dumped somewhere, for the mites
and springtails. Guess the ants don’t have a taste for Fire
Nation alates today. But tonight also happens to be a big night
for another type of insect, and I was about to find out that our Diacamma ants love the
taste of their flesh. It just so happens that termites in the Philippines
have chosen this very night for their annual nuptial flight! Only on a few chosen nights of the year prior
to the rainy season, on all 7,641 islands that make up the Philippines, the notorious
termites launch enormous mating flights, with alates seen in all homes and buildings nationwide
flying around the lights. These are all male and female alates, kings
and queens to found the next generation of termites. Once or twice a year, I spot them flying around
the lights of my home, and the resident wildlife of my place like cellar spiders have an absolute
feast! The ant kingdoms of the ant room are no exception! The termite alates cannot resist the allure
of the bright lights of the various ant kingdoms in the ant room, and interestingly enough,
they are even attracted to reflections of lights, which also includes on the surface
of water. The brightest, most lit kingdom of the ant
room, the Hacienda Del Dorado was the largest termite alate magnet, and so tonight our Golden
Empire shall feast! The Selva de Fuego’s river reflected enormous
amounts of light so numerous alates were doomed to be food for the Fire Nation. And, well, of course, our bullet ants of Asia
are also set for a feast, but this will be the very first time they experience such a
termite buffet! I was interested to see all the action unfold! The termite alates have incidentally already
begun to end up in the Shire, and like parachuters landing on enemy territory and disengaging
their landing gear, as soon as the alates land, they are instant at shedding off their
wings which no longer serve them a purpose, making them dealates on a race for survival. The landed termite kings and queens are on
a mission to find a mate to pair up with for life, and are exposed to tonnes of predators
during this critical search. These dealates have no idea what dangers they’re
about to face, and it put me on the edge of my seat the whole time while filming this. I watched with bated breath as some of the
dealates traveled over the nest and even crossed the nest openings. The termites are lucky at the moment, as it
is an off period for the ants and they’re not out hunting, but the bad thing is, the
termites are giving off pheromones of their own to help them find each other and pair
up, but this biochemical termite version of tinder, attracts one suspicious worker to
the surface. Something smells fishy, or rather termite-y. She knows someone’s been here and her antennae
can smell it! She instantly dives into the nest to tell
the colony. The termites’ fates are now sealed. An initial round of workers emerge to investigate
the claims. After some snooping, one definitely senses
the presence of game, and returns to call for more help to initiate the hunt. As more and more dealates and ants appeared
on the scene, the intensity level kicked up! I held my breath during nail-biting moments
when the dealates and ants came so close to each other, barely missing an altercation. I am sure at this point, the termites could
sense they were in danger but the drive to find a life mate and breed was stronger than
any fear they had. The toxic smell of termite pheromones causes
this ant to investigate the premise. She knows food has just been here and she’s
out to find it! Check her out, AC Family, she is totally in
stalking mode! The entire demeanor of these ants change when
they are stalking prey. They appear a bit more on edge, senses heightened,
and ready to pounce at any moment! She smells a termite has been here. She’s absolutely sure of it! Bang! Like lightning she caught the running termite
dealate unaware, and carried it deep into the nest to be the start of a great feast! More ants are out hunting now. This ant cleans her antennae so that her smell
is as accurate as possible. Like black panthers, the Diacamma ants quietly
stalk the termites which they can smell all around them. I couldn’t believe this! My heart was pounding! I continued to watch as workers collected
termite wings, phyiscal proof of the dealates’ presence. They won’t eat these wings, but it seems the
workers still deem them important enough to bring back to the nest, perhaps to show the
rest of the colony the evidence! This dealate snuck by quietly unnoticed, and
discreetly tried to wander off screen, but bang! Seized! A second prized catch for the feast! With the termite dealate buffet now officially
confirmed, more ants continued to emerge and patrol the premises. Perhaps the most intense scene was with this
termite. AC Family, prepare to be on the edge of your
seat! Captured?! No, it’s just wings. The ants continue on their search for the
termite they smell in the vicinity. I watched as the termite ran and headed straight
for the nest hole! Oh no! This would be the termite’s certain death
if it fell in. It held on for its life clinging at the brink
of death on the steep surface! By some miracle it managed to regain its bearings
and footing and continued on its sprint. Two ants were hot on its tail. A part of me felt bad for the termite, but
another part of me told me not to interfere and let nature play itself out. I don’t know why this termite alate insisted
on running around the nest! It made no sense! Ants droned all around it hunting it down! And suddenly, oh no! Here comes an ant! Bang! Went in for the pounce. It was dead for sure. Oh! Wow! By some miracle, it had escaped, but it squeezed
into the space leading into the nest! This termite was lucky and unlucky all in
a single moment! The ant paced about shocked that the termite
had slipped from its clutches! I looked into the nest and that smarter little
bugger! It stayed around the chambers that were blocked
up with soil. It was safe for now and carefully made its
way out the side of the nest to run off somewhere else. Another ant was hot on its tail! It was then that a movement under some moss
caught my eye. There was something hiding beneath! Looking closer, I saw what it was. It was another termite dealate! And suddenly in that moment, it all made sense! No wonder this other termite dealate kept
running around the ants’ nest! It was trying to find its mate! I wasn’t sure who was a king and who was a
queen. Perhaps the termite in the moss was the queen,
and this seeker was the king. Whatever the case, it was clear that they
were trying desperately to find each other so they could finally pair up and seek shelter
together somewhere else to get on with founding their colony. You see, unlike ants, who typically have massive
mating sessions during nuptial flight after which the males die leaving the queens to
found colonies on their own, in termites, the male is a king who actually lives on to
choose one queen to remain with ’til death do them part, no other partners, no infidelity,
nobody else, just a king and a queen bound for life to found an entire colony, and the
idea of them going to extreme lengths like this just to find each other moved me inside. As the ants began inspecting the mosses, and
the king termite dealate turned once again back towards the nest, I suddenly felt my
sympathies shift. It occurred to me how valiant it was of the
termites to be risking their lives like this, just to find one another. AC Family, it was then that I decided to do
something, I usually never do. I saved them. In a separate container, I watched as the
King and Queen termites united and began to perform a behaviour known as tandem running. It was an amazing sight to witness! This was essentially the officialization of
their life bond together forever, their termite pairing for life, a sacred mating ritual their
ancestors have performed for millions of years before them. AC Family, from here on in these two would
be inseparably bonded. Inside, I felt happy I did this. I peeked into the ant nest. I saw the colony feasting on the termite alates
they had managed to capture. It was good that the ants were receiving this
great nourishment to last them the next couple of days. But this entire scene completely opened my
eyes as to how some animals truly risk it all for the sake of love, mating, life pairing,
whatever you want to call it, for that single opportunity to found a new generation of young,
putting their very lives on the line for the continuation of their species. I find it amazing to the think that nature
has installed such a drive into termites. It was something rather moving, actually. What’s also quite beautiful is that it’s well
known to science that termites are among the most monogamous animals in the world. This means, that termite alate kings and queens
expose themselves to dangers, during that intense dash after nuptial flight, to find
their one life partner to remain with forever to build a massive kingdom, both literally
and figuratively, from the ground up. It was on this day that I realized, even the
insect world can prove humans’ long standing proverb, that true love is worth dying for. And speaking of which… wait for it… wait for it… and still looking. Alright AC Family, what do you think? Should I keep this termite breeding pair? Oh man! Termites are ants’ ultimate arch enemies,
but perhaps they can offer an extra food source for our ants? Or would that be cruel? Whatever the case, as I figure out the ethics,
let me know what you guys think I should do with these officially married termites, and
be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE button and bell icon now so you don’t miss out on this huge
ongoing epic story, and hit the LIKE button every single time, including now. Also, if you’re new to the channel and want
to catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, I’ve put together a complete story line playlist
so you can watch how all of the ant colonies you love on this channel, came to be, all
their challenges and hardships, all their successes and life events, their entire story
lines can now be watched from the very start so you can better appreciate the journey these
ants, as well as us watching them, have been embarking on. It’s incredible how epic the lives of ants
are! Also, just a quick reminder to all those wanting
to get into ant keeping, we offer a tonne of easy-to-use ant keeping gear and pro ant
farms at our shop at AntsCanada.com. We ship worldwide, and offer full email customer
support if you need it. AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would just like to watch extended play footage of the Diacamma ants
hunting termites! You might be surprised what you find! Before we continue with the AC Question of
the Week, I would like to plug my daily vlogging channel, daily vlogs of my travels around
the world which often includes a lot of nature stuff. I am actually in Toronto, Canada right now
and looking forward to meeting you guys at Dixie Mall, Mississauga. That’s tomorrow Sunday, May 27th from 2-5
PM, so if you’re in Ontario this weekend, feel free to drop by and chat with me about
ants. I would love to meet you there, AC Family! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week. Last week we asked: How does the new setup
help make the waters in the Selva de Fuego a better
home for its inhabitants? Congratulations to Dylan Griffin who correctly
answered: The new setup helps the Selva De Fuegans
stay healthy because it helps filter the water, which keeps the fish alive and happy and
keeps the ants’ drinking water clean.? Congratulations Dylan you just won a free
e-book handbook from our shop. In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: How are termites and ants different
in terms of what happens after a nuptial flight? 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, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!