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Ant reproduction

  1. Jan 16, 2016 #1
    Dear PF Forum,
    Can ants reproduce without their ant queen?
    Supposed I trap some ants, perhaps tens to 1 hundred. And I keep them in a box, ventilated with some food - candy; chocolate; Will they reproduce, considering in 1 hundred ants, not all of them will be all males or all females. Or they need the ant queen?

    Thank you very much.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2016 #2

    DaveC426913

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    While there are ways that ant colonies can recover from the loss of a queen, that's not what you've got here. You've extracted some workers and isolated them. They won't have developing pupae or eggs, they won't have males (unless you were sure to capture some of them), they don't have a colony.
     
  4. Jan 16, 2016 #3

    phinds

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    Stephanus, you clearly have too much spare time on your hands :oldlaugh:
     
  5. Jan 16, 2016 #4
    Come on. I'm trying to put some ants in my composter bin, see if they can multiply and eat all the organic material there to speed up the process.
     
  6. Jan 16, 2016 #5
    No, that won't work. Even if I capture the ant queen. I just convert the organic waste to ants, and there will be more ants.
     
  7. Jan 16, 2016 #6

    DaveC426913

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    That depends on your end-goal.

    If what you are trying to accomplish is reduce/eliminate bulk, then no, you will have just as much.
    If what you are trying to accomplish is produce compost for your garden while diverting it from a landfill, then you may be on to something.
     
  8. Jan 16, 2016 #7

    phinds

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    Ha. Great idea. Then you will be overrun with ants. :smile:
     
  9. Jan 16, 2016 #8
    Read this Phinds!
     
  10. Jan 16, 2016 #9

    davenn

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    Ants are pretty inefficient compared to other critters eg worms
     
  11. Jan 16, 2016 #10
    Oh. Thank you very much davenn. Good tips
     
  12. Jan 19, 2016 #11

    jim mcnamara

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    Composting.
    Cellulose and lignin are complex carbohydrates that make up the conductive tissue in plants - fibers, vessel elements, and so on. Wood is made largely of these - so are plant stems, nut husks, etc.
    Animals - unless they have gut symbionts like termites and horse and cows do - are not good at breaking down woody tissues. Bacteria and fungi are good. Ants are animals, not so good.

    If you want to speed up composting you change the rate at which cellulose "eaters" do their job:
    1. add nitrogenous wastes(garbage and spoiled foods) or even fertilizer to compost.
    A new all sawdust pile when composted goes faster with water, fertilizer, and a handful of compost from another active older pile.
    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaf_mold
    2. keep it warm
    3. keep it from drying out and add water once in a while, it needs to be very damp.
    4. if you continually add new "fodder" then periodically churn up the compost to break up layers.
    5. up to a point chopping the new material into small pieces speeds things up - more surface area.
    - what I guess you hoped the ant addition would provide. Pogonomyrax (Harvester) ants will whack plants but they drag off the plant pieces to the colony.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  13. Jan 19, 2016 #12

    DaveC426913

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    Pill bugs / sow bugs / cannonball bugs are very good at decomposing wood.
    (Did you know that, being Crustaceans, they are more closely related to shrimp than they are to millipedes?)
     
  14. Jan 19, 2016 #13
    Thanks for the suggestions gentlemen. I'm learning composting now. I join gardener forum to learn "how to do" the composting.
    And I use PhyicsForum for the science behind it :smile:
    Thank you so much.
     
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