Discuss keeping ants in here. Including what to feed them, hydration, development, disease and everything in between.
New members should post your questions in here.
I appreciate this is a quiet time for most ant keepers but hopefully someone can help me. I am researching and preparing over the winter ready for my first colony in the spring/summer. Likely it will either be a messor sp or campotonus sp

I am looking at formicarium options, both commercial and DIY and have a few questions.

1) I have read from a few sources that formicarium size is important when you have a new colony, in that you don't want it to be too big; otherwise you risk the ants leaving their waste pile inside the formicarium. But rather than start with a small formicarium and bolt on or move the ants can you use a larger one and simply fill most of the chambers with substrate to discourage the ants from using them, or will they simply excavate and still create a waste pile inside? I like this idea if it will work because it means the ants should excavate has they need new chambers which means its one less thing I need to be concerned with.

2) I am considering making my own formicarium out of AAC, but would like to include heating. How do you typically heat a AAC nest? I am thinking of maybe running a PVC or MDPE tube across the back wall of the nest interior to create a sealed tunnel only accessible from the outside but which runs across one end of the nest; through which a heating cable can be threaded.

3) how to you monitor humidity inside the nest? I was thinking of drilling a whole in the AAC nest wall and pressure fitting a hygrometer/thermometer probe, is this a viable option?

4) Is a thermostat necessary when using a heating cable (assuming you provide sufficient space for a thermal gradient)? again where do you fit it normally. If I was going to use one I would probably use an STC 1000, since they are cheaper and more reliable than reptile stats (IME)

Thanks for the help :-)

Hi welcome to the forum,

We produce some Ytong Nests in the UK here: http://www.lcants.com

You can fill a nest with substrate and allow the ants to excavate extra chambers as needed.

Ytong nests can be heated using a heat mat, incubator, heat cable and pretty much any other heating method.

Humidity can be monitored by placing a humidity probe inside the nest.

I would always recommend a thermostat, to prevent overheating which could have serious impacts on your colony.
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