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Posted by gcsnelling on August 19, 2002 at 13:52:48:
In Reply to: Re: What do you suggest I do? Reply posted by Dillon on August 19, 2002 at 12:29:03:
Keep in mind that any answers you receive here are because people VOLUNTEER to take the time. Neither of us have the time to search out all your old messages to reread. Lester and I both have tried to answer your questions in the manner we felt best suited the situation. Raising ants for horned lizards no matter how you cut it is an iffy proposition. Unless you have huge amounts of space and time to devote to numerous colonies it wont work. The few species which reproduce in huge numbers are species which are not going to be prime food for HLs. genera such as Solenopsis can produce huge colonies but are not good food candidates since they sting badly.. (Fire Ants). If you are in an area where Pogonomyrmex (Red Harvester Ants)or Messor (Black Harvestor Ants) occur there is no reason you can not collect them in large numbers, esp. Pogonomyrmex during the day. Messor at night. The methods you can use to collect are limited only by your imagination and inventiveness. I believe those that collect in huge numbers for ant farms use special modified dustbuster vacumn cleaners. Queens can be obtained after mating flights, but there is no guarantee they will be fertile or be successful even if they are, and to start from queens if successful can take a very long time. Your lizards would starve to death long before it was producing enough ants to sustain them. If lucky enough to capture a colony with queen, giving your lizards the number of ants needed to keep them healthy would deplete the colony so far that it would die out. Unless very VERY lucky you will not likely find the queen by digging the nest open, they are usually very deep. Any winged ants you find in the nest will be unmated sexuals which will not mate in captivity. They require special stimuli to get them to mate. You will NOT be able to buy any kind of queens thru the mail as it is prohibited... period. Although some will tell you that sales or trade are legal within a state most counties do NOT permit intercounty transport.
You can go to the link I have provided and look there, they have an excellent faq sheet which covers all your questions in regards to ant queens. read the faq before posting as you will be referred to it anyway.
Releasing your HLs is still not a good option because no matter how you slice it there is a danger that they have picked up bacteria/viruses which could be transmitted to wild populations