The Golden Years
Most find their way like myself into Ant keeping as a kid, i was fascinated, so curious, full of as much wonder, as i was destruction, sadly i was one of those kids, with a magnifying glass in the summer, exercising the ray of death, like an attacking UFO from independence day, but that blood lust soon changed, along with developing a conscience for my actions!
I discovered Nuptial flights, Late September, having what we call in the UK an Indian summer, Lasius Niger Queens & Drones, in the thousands!
I waited a whole year, preparing for this next invasion, collecting glass jars, this was the early 90's, before dial up internet, before the information highways, became super charged, no books in the library, just a boy and some jars of dirt.
Of course, hundreds perished, i didn't understand about bio activating the soils, waste issues causing bacteria and mold, i had a few successful colonies over this period, i started experimenting creating part wormery, part ant farm, in these jars it brought more success.
Some years later, i got given the famous uncle milton's ant farm, or as i now refer to them the mold farm! never meant for keeping colonies, i then tried a gel farm, wow... even as a kid i saw the gel and didn't think that was a great idea, having accidentally drowned a few colonies in the jar set ups in previous years, i was fearful they would drown, i dumped it out and filled it with sand and dirt, this became my most successful Ant colony, i know this journey starts horrifically, in a time before now.
Before blogs like this to educate and help people, care for their species properly, with the correct knowledge, tried and tested, by those who have succeeded before you!
For many years my journey was about as fun as stumbling through a thick forest, in the pitch dark! I grew up and stopped keeping Ants, until recently, the want to keep Ants never went away, like an itch always in the back of my mind.
Wishing i knew what i know, as an adult and could redeem all my mistakes as a child.
Becoming a father to my wonderful little girl, who is fascinated by bugs, i thought what a great idea to start keeping Ants again, so i persuaded the boss, she said OK! a decision i think she has always regretted since, i reached out online, after watching hours of Youtube popular culture video's, such as Ants Canada, Ants Australia, Amazing Ants, many other great content creators, I went in search of a Lasius Niger colony, nostalgia got the best of me, sure i was staying #TeamNative.
On this journey, i found myself getting not just, Lasius Niger but Messor Barbarus, a common species retailed in the UK but not Native, its found across the puddle in Southern Europe.
A Species widely sold within the UK, to understand this i started researching our laws, after all the videos, i was sure i had discovered some black market dealings! but no, not at all, The UK has quite relaxed laws on the keeping of exotic pets, relying on the responsibility and care of the owner to ensure the creatures are not released and will effect our eco system, learning our Native species, let alone, exotic species, struggle to survive in our ever changing and cold weather patterns, we experience in the UK.
My journey into exotic keeping thus began, knowledge is all over the internet, if you take the time to search and research! the more i did this, the more i found myself enthralled, I started researching the Laws, and found it is completely legal to keep most species of Ants in the UK, infact other than Germany, the UK is the second largest population of exotic ant keepers.
I sourced responsible and trustworthy retailers with import & export papers, where required.
I selected species that intrigued me, a personal study & fascination with their specific trait, adaptation that differs them from other of their genus.
I will go into more about the popular culture & Taboo's surrounding Exotic Ant Keeping in another post!
where or how did you start your journey into Ant keeping? like me was you a young kid stumbling through the dark, did you start later in life? share your stories with me!
For now this is The Colonialist, Signing out.
Ants & The Colonialist