We are often asked - “I want to have ants, how can I catch the uterus?”
Of course, you can immediately buy formicaria and ants, but often you want to test your strength, or get some specific species that can be found in the nearest forest. And for this we wrote this article.
And before starting, I want to immediately warn all beginning peacekeepers:
DO NOT TAKE THE MATTER FROM ANT ANTIPS!
Your chances of finding a uterus in a natural anthill are extremely small, but irreparable damage will be caused by your actions to the anthill. In addition, if you take the only uterus from the anthill, then doom the rest of the anthill to slow death.
You need to catch the queens after the mating season - when they are looking for a place for themselves to establish the future anthill. Usually this happens - after mating, the uterus lands and breaks off the wings, and begins to look for a secluded place. When they find some kind of shelter, they begin to dig a small mink in which they will look after the first eggs, which they themselves will lay. Larvae hatch from the eggs, and the larvae, gradually growing, pupate and already turn into a real ant. Our task is to “intercept” the uterus at the time of finding a place for the anthill, and place it in our incubator.
Before you go out hunting for uterus, you need to find out how they generally look and learn to distinguish the uterus from workers. We even wrote a special article for this, we recommend that you familiarize yourself. But in short, the uterus differs from workers in larger sizes, the presence of wings (or the place where they were attached), and a large back in which the flying muscles are located.
Learning to distinguish the uterus from workers
The next stage of preparation is the manufacture of incubators. You need to learn how to prepare apartments for the ant queen. This is done quite simply, you need to take a test tube or syringe with a sealed nose, pour boiled water there, about one third. After that, you need to make a lump of cotton wool and push it into a test tube so that it is almost completely immersed in water. Turn the incubator upside down, make sure that water does not leak. If you did everything correctly, then in this incubator the uterus will be able to live and give rise to a new colony.
This is what an ordinary ant incubator looks like
Now you are ready to go hunting for the uterus! But there is one problem - each species of ants flies only at certain times of the year, some species - 2 times a year. How to understand when the species of interest to us flies? For this we can use the flight table. It shows at what time this or that species flies. You need to understand that the deadlines are indicated in the table, and this does not mean that your view will fly at this particular time.
Massive flight at Acromyrmex versicolor
We have chosen the species of ants that interests us (for example, let it be Serviformica cunicularia). According to the flight table, it turns out that this species most likely flies in mid-summer - all of July in the table is painted in raspberry color. But this is too long a period, isn't it? That's right, because every year the timing of the flight depends on many factors - for example, how soon the cocoons of the uterus will mature, how soon there will be suitable conditions for departure, and so on. How do we be?
Firstly, if you know where the anthill of the species you want is located, you can watch it. A couple of days before the flight, single males and females will appear at the entrance, as if going out for reconnaissance. But if the nearest anthill is very far away, then you have no choice but to monitor the weather. Over the years of studying ants, some features have been clarified, for example, in our middle zone, ants almost always fly after heavy rain, or in high humidity. From personal experience, queens can be found at the most unfortunate times, and just when you do not expect it. For example, standing at a bus stop, waiting for your bus. In such a case, it is worth carrying a small container with which you can bring the uterus to the house without damaging it.
The uterus is ready to fly
If you are sure that the flight has begun, then it is worthwhile to purposefully look for the queens, who should run in search of suitable shelter for the base of the anthill. It is best to walk along wide roads with a light coating not far from the area from which the uterus could fly - for example, a traveling uterus is very visible on country roads covered with sand. The principle is clear - you need to cross as far as possible, examining the ground, in those places where the uterus could run after it drops its wings.
Suppose you are lucky and you see a creeping uterus on the ground. If she has not yet dropped her wings - it is better to leave her alone, she may not yet be fertilized. We only need the uterus, which has already thrown off its wings - they will definitely be somewhere nearby. If you see this, then you can put it in an incubator.
In no case do not grab the uterus with your hands! You can easily damage her legs or abdomen. She needs to be driven into an incubator, you can use improvised objects - to customize and direct the uterus with a blade of grass, or a thin twig, a piece of paper. The main thing is not to hurt! If there is no incubator with you, you can use another container to bring the uterus to the house, but you do not need to pull it, but as soon as possible transfer it to the incubator. After that, try to determine the view. If it is a social parasite, release it; if the uterus establishes a colony on its own, remove the incubator to a dark, quiet place and do not disturb. After a couple of days, take a peek carefully - most likely, she will already have an egg laying. Now it remains to wait - it is advisable not to touch the uterus for several weeks at all, each of your peeping may turn into an eaten brood, and you will have to wait from the beginning.
Uterus Serviformica cunicilaria in vitro
The beginning of a new colony
Well, 4-6 weeks have passed, you already had the first workers. Congratulations! Feast your eyes on the pale goosebumps that will darken and get stronger in a couple of days, and get ready to feed the colony! You almost certainly have the usual omnivorous species - which means the colony needs to be fed with syrup and protein feed. A syrup can be made from sugar or honey - with the latter carefully, take only from trusted beekeepers, otherwise you can get colony poisoning. Pour with pure water and mix, the proportion is from 1: 3 to 1:10, here you can experiment. Do not cook a lot at once - the syrup is suitable for feeding the first day, then it needs to be cooked again so that there are no poisonings. Syrup feeding should be done every 2-3 days. Make sure that the ants drink all the syrup, if something remains - remove the remains with a piece of fleece on tweezers or a toothpick.
Colony Serviformica cunicilaria with workers
You also need to feed the colony with protein feed. Fodder insects are best suited for this, you should get a crop or find the address of a pet store or the contacts of a breeder from whom you can get fodder insects in your city at any time of the year. If everything is bad with feed insects in your city, buy dried gammarus in a pet store, but keep in mind that the ants on it grow many times worse, and you should think - maybe you should not torture animals, and have reapers for yourself - they feed on mostly seeds. Protein feed should be given every 3-4 days for most species, and portions should be selected so that it can be carried away by an ordinary worker.
If you do everything right, your colony will grow and gain strength. Soon it will be difficult for you to feed the colony in the incubator, shoots will happen. Then you need to connect the arena. But more about that in another article ...
Appearance and features
It is not for nothing that the queen of the anthill occupies the supreme place in the hierarchy of insects of her nest. After all, it is thanks to her that the ant population is increasing. Forest black and red ants in the settlement have a single queen queen. She does not take part in obtaining food and generally does not go anywhere from the anthill, exclusively engaged in the production of offspring. But in domestic red insects, the ant uterus can live several individuals in each colony, without conflicting with each other.
As can be seen in the photo of the uterus of domestic ants, outwardly it is very different from working individuals in its size and body structure: it is 2 times their size and can reach a length of 4-4.5 mm, its chest is much wider due to the presence of flying muscles, color the body is dark brown, on the back of the round abdomen visible light red dressings.
Due to its size, the uterus is very slow and less mobile compared to working ants, it practically does not leave the nest, regularly taking food from others and replenishing egg supplies. Therefore, it is almost impossible to get it from the depths of the anthill.
Young females are initially born and grow with small wings, like the uterus of ants in the photo, which has not yet had time to drop them. After the colony was established, these details either disappear on their own, or they gnaw off and eat them, thus obtaining additional food.
Young unfertilized uterus with wings
Every year in the colony of ants, many females and males are born from pupae. After mating in the summer, each fertilized female ants begins to look for a place to found her family, flying with wings. Having settled, the uterus of red ants lays the first eggs, from them the working individuals that are engaged in the extraction of food and building materials for the anthill are hatched.
Unlike other types of ants, pharaonic females can live together several at a time without manifesting aggression, and in one colony their number sometimes reaches 200. However, natural selection gradually occurs: females that bring few eggs are destroyed by other, stronger and superfertile ones. Most females who are unable to give birth become working ants.
A clear hierarchy is observed in the colony: 10-15% - working insects that produce food, all the rest are engaged in servicing the uterus, preparing food for it, caring for larvae and eggs.
An interesting fact is how long the uterus of an ant lives, because among the red insects the queens are long-livers and can live 10-15 years, managing to lay up to 500 thousand eggs over the years. The average number of anthill is about 15 thousand, and the maximum recorded by scientists reached 340 thousand individuals. It is also noteworthy that the uterus spends much more time on sleep than the ants from working castes sleep.
Ant hill growth and the role of queens
According to the conclusion of biologists, it is the ant uterus that contributes to the regulation of the population of the colony. When the nest is small, it marks the laid eggs with pheromones that block sexual development, due to which only working individuals are obtained from them. However, with an increase in the number of colonies after the uterus appears, the pheromones produced by it are no longer enough, the eggs develop normally, and more females are hatched.
The anthill gradually grows and begins to divide into groups that move close by, constantly maintaining relationships with the main nest: the uterus can pass between the nests, and the ants can exchange food. Below is a photo of the queen of ants near the eggs and working individuals.
Queen and ants
Autonomous groups coexist in complete peace and understanding. Therefore, to destroy such a complex settlement, consisting of several colonies, is possible only by finding all the nests and queens in each of them, which will have to be killed.
Due to the fact that in the colony of pharaonic ants there are a large number of breeding queen bees, her inhabitants are less respectful towards the queen, they often overtake queen bees between the nests, and in a situation when one of them becomes infertile, they can kill her. Thanks to this natural selection, the reproduction efficiency of the domestic species of ants is very high, which allowed them to successfully conquer the whole world.
How to detect the uterus and nests
The small red ants that a person sees in his apartment or house are just working individuals scurrying around in search of food for the entire colony. Their destruction will practically have no positive effect, because in a short time the number of young people who have appeared will fill this gap. To completely defeat pests, you should search for their nests.
Knowing what the uterus of ants looks like, in order to completely neutralize the pests that have settled in the house, it is necessary to find and destroy all the nests and all the queens living there.
The most likely places for the pharaonic red ants to settle are warm, humid areas in the kitchen and bathroom, and darkened and hard-to-reach places are chosen: gaps between the tiles, the space near electrical outlets, channels through which electrical wiring passes, etc. Often ants arrange colonies between floors in floors. Observing the movement of insects will help to facilitate the search, because they carry prey to their "home".
Ants and uterus
How to find the uterus of ants among a large number of brothers: in the nest you should look for the largest and most solitary individuals. Young females, moreover, have wings. If access to the found anthill is free, then you can use an ordinary vacuum cleaner to destroy it.
It is very difficult to get all the queens from the anthill, so it is best to use chemical methods. It is necessary to treat the entire colony with insecticidal agents: aerosol or spray, use gels, toxic bait or folk remedies.
The answer to the question, can ants live without a uterus or not, can be answered this way: red-headed domestic species in the colony will always have young females ready for breeding and for a new role - to become the next queen. Therefore, for effective struggle, it is recommended to destroy all members of the colony without exception: both workers, and females, and queens.
How to catch?
For those who are interested in how to catch the queen of ant and make an incubator for her, we can recommend preparing a long glass flask with a cotton wool soaked in a small amount of water. The uterus can be sought purposefully, waiting for the moment when a youth takes off in an anthill in the forest, or found on the street by accident.
For an incubator, it is best to find such ant queens who have already dropped their wings, which means they are fertilized and are looking for a place for their colony. Catch it carefully, do not pick it up, and push it with a branch or blade of grass towards the bulb.
After settling the insect in the incubator, in a few days you can observe how the uterus lays eggs, and then, after a certain time, larvae and working individuals are formed. Observing the life and behavior of ants will allow you to see their division into castes. According to scientists, it is precisely such a social hierarchy in the anthill that allows them to be considered the most developed group of insects in the world, resistant to adverse natural phenomena.