(Note: As I mentioned previously, I have been the “Consult-Ant” on the Leaping from the Box website. I answer questions about ants and ant farms. Karen has been graciously putting the answers on her website for some time, but now I felt it was time to relieve that burden from her. From now on I will post the answers here, and when she has time she will also post the answers on her site.
I hope you take questions from those who are not students, such as myself. (Although I think I am a "student" even though I'm 56 and not officially enrolled at a place of learning.)
I also hope that getting help from you is a free service...I believe it is. If not, please disregard this e-mail. Thanks.
One of my grandsons and I would like to have an ant farm. He's had one prevoiusly, and I had one when I was a kid. They are quite interesting! I want to get a queen ant, so that there will be more longevity to our ant farm.
We may even try to have the ants be able to go outside as well through tubing or whatever...but I'm not sure if we'll do that or not. The idea seems interesting to me. (I appreciate what I read from your writings about adopting the beekeepers method of having the exit too small for the queen to fit through.)
Do you know where we might purchase one in Oregon? It's my understanding that we can't purchase one out of state. I suppose we could go up in the woods and look in and or under fallen, rotting trees or whatever...but I don't know if it's legal to take ants from the forest or not.
First of all, I apologize for the lateness of my response.
As for your question about queen harvesting, I do not know your local Oregon regulations, but in most areas it is okay to collect insects on your own property. It is not okay, however, on many state and federal lands where wildlife is protected. If you are going to be on public lands, I would carefully check their regulations.
Often the best time to look for queens is when they are swarming. If you have one or two species in mind (I would recommend larger-sized ants that don't sting for a first ant farm), then you can look up when they are likely to swarm in your area.
Please let me know if you have any further questions, and I'll promise to answer more promptly.