Starting your own colony
You can start a new colony in 2 main ways:
Starting a colony from an existing one:
- Buying a colony-So far I do not know a place where you can buy ants in Bulgaria. There is a German online-shop I have heard many good things about - www,antstore.de.
- Digging a colony-This is a very crude, evil and vandal but though efficient way (this is how I have started my colony). You should not do it unless you know exactly what you are doing. You should do it in the begining of spring (the best moment is afternoon of the first sunny day - that is when the queen is close to the surface to get warm). I implore all visitors of the site not to dig big anthills (especially of red forest ants Formica rufa) and colonies that have only one queen. You should best find a colony under a stone or a plate. You pick up the stone and look for a queen. I implore you again to look for another colony if there is only one queen. If there are 2 or more, you catch one of them and put it in a jar (there should be many holes in its lid so that the ants can breathe). Than you can catch some workers (20-50). You can gather some eggs, larvae and pupae, but better do not do it, so that the colony can recover after your interference. You should carry your ants as quick as possible to their new home. You must not leave them in sun!!! You can put a piece of cotton soaked with water in the jar. You can transfer the ants to the antfarm by letting them on the arena. If they like your antfarm, they will get in it themselves.
- Starting a colony from a lonely queen:You can find a lonely queen during the summer (that is when nuptial flights take place). You can distinguish a fertilized from unfertilized princess by the broken or missing wings. You can distinguish it from the males by the behaviour (while males fly around aimlessly, females do not use their wings (if they have them at all) and are trying to hide) and by the appereance (males have small heads and mandibles and you can see their genitals with unaided eye). You can catch a queen in the morning when there is dew on the cars - their wings stick on the water and they can not fly away. If you look around on the ground around afternoon, you have a big chance to find a queen (this is how I have found many queens). You should put your queen in a restricter. You should offer her food. After some time (ranges from 1-2 days to the next year) the queen lays her first eggs. Until the first workers hatch (they are smaller than normal for the species), the queen takes care of the brood.