So I've wandered around quite a bit now, and I figured the keeping ants section was the best forum to my judgment to post about this. Please feel free
to move this to the appropriate place, Antdude!
This journal is also in part a continuation of all my previous ant journals. I've decided to mend it all to one because there are simply too many
floating around and now my multiple manic journals entries don't have to abrasively plague people's forum page. Anyone interested on any of the ants
mentioned in this thread can visit their original journal listed here:
AntsCanada's Tetramorium caespitum Colony Journal
AntsCanada's Mature Myrmica rubra colony Journal
AntsCanada's Lasius crypticus and Lasius neoniger Journal
AntsCanada's Formica fusca and unID'd Formica sp Journal
AntsCanada's Crematogaster sp Journal
AntsCanada's Formica subsericea and Pheidole sp Journal
AntsCanada's Unidentified Lasius Parasite Possible Journal
As some of you may already know, I've decided to channel my creative and obsessive ant energy towards opening my own ants store selling some of the ant keeping materials that have done my colonies well. It was initially more for myself when I began making all these stone nests for my ants, allowing me to observe the most amazing things clearly, and take some amazing photography and videography. All of this only made me desire to make it all accessible to people anywhere else, and to create a kind of energetic and homey place for all my ant energy that I often times don't know what to do with!
It's been months of planning since the end of summer 2009, keeping everything secret even from my closest of ant friends, mobilizing an energetic team and launching the website, and I'm so pleased it's all come together so well. I'm ultimately proud of everyone who has made the project come true, and though the members of the core team were not initially ant-lovers (largely business and corporate individuals from my networks, one of whom happens to be the CEO of my entertainment company), they are now gushing over the creatures, and are elated at the products we've come up with and will be coming up with as time goes on. We don't want ant keeping to just be a novelty hobby. We want them to be seriously accepted as pets (herps even), and I'm completely confident it will one day happen. We've put some impressive strategies and ideas into motion.
The store's philosophy is to get others to discover the joys of raising ants from their region/area/state/province and help them recognize first hand the kinds of miracles existing in their immediate ecosystem, so they can truly feel and attach themselves to the idea of conservation. We offer an FAQ and I'm also writing a book on collecting ants to give others the resources to collecting colonies or queens from the wild. We do not sell live ants to anyone, but we've considered opening up selling colonies to those in Ontario/Toronto (we're awaiting word from our business attorney on the laws that exist regarding the sale of insects), just to make ants more accessible to the newbies and inquiring minds. Schools will definitely fall into such a category of those needing ants right away (just an example of some of the avenues we're working on). We also try to encourage self research, as opposed to feeding all the facts and knowledge on one site, and you can see what I mean by visiting the FAQ. The site/store is overall in development.
I also felt it important to make clear that I'm NOT posting here to solicit anyone to buy our stuff!!! Not in the least. I wanted to post on this forum just to let anyone who's interested, curious, bored, or whatever know about the store I've opened, and I figured I'd start a thread on our latest goodies. I also appreciate these forums as an avenue where I can celebrate with my "ant friends", and have a place to say "Yay!". We reference these forums (and no other) on various places of our site, because well, it's home.
I really wanted to share this as my first post in this topic... our latest innovation which I'm so very proud of, and I know will make many ants of mine and others very happy this year. It becomes available on our site within the next week or so. We've already received emails for inquiries/advance orders on our habitat nests from the UK, Mexico, and Australia.
The Habitat Ant Nest
It's what we call the Habitat Nest. It's a variation of our popular grout nest with some minor additions in the mixture to make the nest less heavy. Like the grout nest, the habitat nests are clearly mold-free and the nests are reusable and washable. Essentially, our grout nest has been great with housing my Myrmica rubras all summer last year, but not without constant watering.The issue was that the grout nests do not absorb water, which is why we now encourage their use with ants liking drier nests just to make life easier. However, what makes these habitat nests so unique is that the walls are lined with sand, bound through a cementing-type technique which uses no extra chemical or artificial products. Water instantly absorbs into the walls and spreads slowly (like Ytong) throughout the nest. The design is truly magnificent, and I intend to make a video of it very soon to showcase its capabilities.
There are also sand particles which are loose which gives the ants the opportunity to feel like they are digging (but without hiding away from you) and moving things around. They can even take the opportunity to interior design themselves and block certain tunnels off if they manage to gather enough grains of sand. A tiny hole is drilled into the glass for injection of the water.
I'm now housing a Formica fusca fledging colony (they're loving it and have chosen their favourite spot to nest) in it, and expect my Myrmicas to be making the move as soon as their grout nest dries out.
I wanted to take a photo of one of our habitat nests right after being removed from its mould and sand walls attached, before the glass was glued on so there would be no flash. Here's what the inside looks like.
And finally in frame (Ahh flash!)
Here's our size small version, that I intend on putting some of my hibernating queens in over the next little while.
Every habitat nest has two exits, which can be used to atatch it to other nests or outworlds, extra watering/food placement, etc. Also looks and works amazingly with the stand, which comes with it. We didn't want to make the nest completely vertical becuase we find the ants tend to dirty the glass of vertical nests and walk less on the glass of horizontal nests. We also find that viewing is easier and more comfortable on nests kept at around a 45 degree angle.
Expecting my Myrmica rubras to moving into this one very soon.
They've begun checking it out curiously. So cool!
A photo of the Formica fuscas we're housing in one of our small habitat nests.
Also pleased to announce that CanadianAnt will be getting one of these Habitat Nest compliments of the store, for being kind and capturing me a Camponotus colony last year (knowing how badly I wanted one) and for providing us with a great testimonial on pumice nests! Thanks, man.
PS - Sorry for all the edits. Spelling and grammar errors drive me up the wall and no matter how many times I proof read, I seem to miss some.
Anyway, overall some exciting things to come. Feel free to visit us at www.AntsCanada.com. It's kinda my home ant crib for myself and any of my ant friends.