An ant colony mainly consists of three important members: queen, workers and males. In most cases queens are the largest in size followed by males and workers. For starting a personal ant farm the most important member required is queen since she is responsible in maintaining the population of the farm. Without her, the survival of other members is always at stake. Since the shipment of insects is banned, as per the US Department of Agriculture, it is better to catch your own ant queen from your surroundings.
The best time for catching a queen is after her mating flight. At a certain time of the year usually during spring or summer months the queen and the males go on a mating flight. After mating the male wanders off and dies, while the queen descends to the ground and tears off her wings. This is usually the right time to capture a queen since she begins her search for a nesting site.
If the queen has not torn her wings, it just means that she is not fertilized yet so it is better not to catch her with wings.
The queen can be identified easily because it is twice the size of common ants and has a big abdomen. The queen can be explored under decaying wood or close to old tree trunks. The queen can also be caught by digging up the nest and taking her out of it. Apart from digging another method used is by placing a jar of honey near an anthill. Once the ants conquer the jar the queen should be observed when the ants are returning to their hill. The size of queen will be double the size of other ants. The queen can also be spotted under large rocks or by peeling the back of the bark. It will reveal an egg shaped chamber which is the colony of ants. The queen can be extracted by using a long knife.
When the queen is caught it should be kept in a container filled with moist soil and it should be kept away from sunlight. After catching the queen, it should be fed properly to ensure large brood. As soon as the queen is fed it should be shifted to its permanent home. When she is comfortable with the nesting site she seals the chamber and starts laying eggs. During this period she does not require any food as she lives on her body fat.
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eHow: The Easiest Way to Catch a Queen Ant