Two nights ago, at about 10 p.m., I went out into my yard with a flashlight to bring my lizard cage in for the night. A brown shiny insect caught my eye. It was a camponotus vicinus (?) queen. I picked her up and ran to find a container. I put her in a small critter keeper with some pine shavings. I took a medium critter keeper lined with pine shavings and embarked upon a search for more queens. I scanned the ground with my 4.7 watt l.e.d. flashlight. I saw two queens running away near the garage. My count was up to 3. I kept going, circling my house, front yard, back yard-anywhere I could go without bothering the neighbor. I stopped counting at six. I found two climbing a cedar tree. I found another inside my garage. I couldn't believe my good fortune at finding so many queens.
The next day, I went to Michael's craft store and bought a dozen clear plastic boxes. I drilled vent holes in the lids. I placed a queen in each box. Now reality sets in. Sure, it was exciting to find so many queens, but now what do I do? I have kept queens twice before, but only one at a time and the new colony met an unfortunate end both times. Now, I have 12 queens. If I allow myself to look outside, I'll probably find more. I carved a nesting chamber out of wood for one queen that fits perfectly into the plastic box. I may do the same for the rest of the queens. I was thinking of making them out of clay instead, but that might be too messy.
12 queens from the area just above Arcadia/Sierra Madre California. I would hate to let them go. I may have to if I can't care for them properly. There is no California Ant Store where I can take them. I don't know what is legal and what isn't legal to do regarding sharing my ants with others. Do you have any bright ideas?