I Bought a Forest to Create a Paradise for Ants

I Bought a Forest to Create a Paradise for Ants

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The ant nest of the Meranoplus bicolor ants  here was not actually found in my yard,   but just next door in the neighbouring yard. Now this neighbouring yard was vacant, and  upon exploring its more forested areas,   I was surprised to discover that it actually had  some really unique habitat and microclimates,   that were different from our current Ant House  yard of Antopia, and furthermore to my surprise,   I also noticed a tonne of different  ant species were living there   that I didn’t recognize. It was almost  like a new sister dimension of Antopia,   that was waiting with its own set of  secrets and ants for us to discover. Now it’s a big rule of thumb that ant keepers  shouldn’t be anting on private property,   and in fact biologists usually need to acquire  permits when studying or collecting ants on   private and even public property. Such laws also  apply to ant keepers like us, and though nobody  

owned this very lush land full of trees, plants,  and strange ants, it still didn’t feel right   for me to be on that vast vacant lot, filming the  Meranoplus bicolor nest, collecting a newly mated   queen if I ever found one there, or wandering  the property in search of new ant species. But getting a permit seemed like such a  hassle, so I stopped to think for a moment   and the craziest thing occurred to me. AC Family,  I think you’ll love what I have to say next. So after checking the subscriber count this week,  I realized that our next episode needed to be   big and ultimately celebratory, because we would  be hitting our big 4 million subscribers milestone   any day now, if we haven’t already by the time you  all are watching this video. Our 4M Subs episode   needed to top all our past subscriber milestone  videos, because you guys are currently the biggest   and best ant-loving community you’ve ever been,  and I felt you guys deserved something truly big. And so AC Family, after thinking  about it for a long while,   and the prospect of us possibly finding a  brand new ant species somewhere in that lush,   ant-filled forest of the new lot taunting  my imagination, a totally crazy idea   came to me that I think you guys would  truly love. This next major event on the   channel was going to be epic and truly kick  this ongoing tale of Antopia up a notch.

Please SUBSCRIBE to the channel and hit the  BELL icon. Welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! Guys, this is our biggest, most ambitious  project yet! In celebration of us hitting   the big 4 million subscribers this week, I’ve  gone ahead and purchased what is essentially   an incredible, untouched virgin forest, full  of the craziest ants, creatures, and plant life   I’ve ever seen in my life! I’ve already spotted  so many unfamiliar and incredible ant species   in this new forest of ours, which  I’ll be showing you in a little bit,   all of which give me great hope that one day, AC  Family, we’ll actually discover a brand new ant   species, never before documented by scientists,  a dream of mine for us here on the channel. But guys, I can’t wait to show you our brand  new AC Forest, especially the coolest location   I found in the very heart of our forest, which I’m  certain will blow you away. I’ll also be revealing  

my ultimate plans for this natural land, as well  as yet another bigger plot twist, a certain secret   that I’ve decided to finally share with you  on this special day we celebrate 4M subs!   All of this coming up in this episode! But  now, let’s explore our new forest, shall we? I have found that our new plot of land  here is made up of three primary regions,   each of which offers different types of habitat,  hosting its own unique set of wild life,   including ants. I’ll be touring you through each  of the three regions, as well as showing you guys   the really cool and unique ants, I  found living in them, and had sent to   the laboratory for identification, just to see  if maybe we stumbled across a new ant species. Let’s start here at the first  region, the forest edge.   Fronting the forest is an expansive yet very  lush and flat field, home to a tonne of grasses,   plants, and shrubs. This habitat here is  pretty much the same as that in Antopia,   our initial lot and yard of our Ant House  under construction, but it’s untouched.

Antopia, by the way, if you’re new, real quick,  is the name we gave to the yard of our future Ant   House, a home we’re building to house the various  current and future pet ant colonies, arachnids,   reptiles, and amphibians on the channel.  It’s an upgrade from the current Ant Room,   in which I’ve been keeping our ants for years,  as the new Ant Room 2.0 at the Ant House will   be nearly 20 times larger space wise, hi-tech,  and climate controlled. For those asking for an  

update on the Ant House, they’re now working on  the third floor/roof deck, as well as the second   floor of the Ant Room, and we’re scheduled to  finally move into the Ant House later this year.   How I actually plan on moving the massive ant  tanks with the millions of ants living inside them   is still something I need to figure out, and I  know it’s not going to be easy, but anyway be   sure to SUBSCRIBE to the channel if you aren’t  already, to be part of that whole adventure! So this forest edge region happens to be home  to our beautiful newly geographically discovered   ants, Meranoplus bicolor, which we already covered  in last week’s episode, so I won’t spend too much   time here, but before we move on, I’ve been  meaning to give this forest edge region a name.   Let me know your name suggestions in the comments,  and I’ll choose my top 5 favourites for us to vote   on in a future video. Alright AC Family, let’s  wander deeper, into the next region of our forest! Guys, welcome to the forest ravine! Now what  an amazing habitat this is. Have a look! Here the land slopes downward offering some  amazing topography for a tonne of life to   flourish. The air in this region is different  from that of the forest edge. Here less wind  

penetrates through, so the air is more still. Due  to the thicker vegetation, it’s much cooler here,   and a bit more shadowy. Because of this very prime  habitat, the plant life here in the forest ravine   is incredible! Trees, shrubs, and vines  grow in thick walls throughout the region,   and it’s here where I found some  pretty amazing ants! Check them out! First, I happened to stumble  across these gorgeous black   and silverish ants crawling  through the trees and along plants.   I was familiar with the genus. These were  Polyrhachis ants, an arboreal species that create   nests out of mud. Now there are approximately  500 or so described species of Polyrhachis,   so I wasn’t familiar with what exact species this  was, but I did make sure to collect a specimen to   send to my ant taxonomist friend and biologist  Dr. General. He ended up identifying this ant  

as Polyrhachis saevissima, so not an undiscovered  species nor a new geographic record like our   Meranoplus bicolor, but still super cool knowing  they were living in this part of our forest. Also, living in this forest ravine was another ant  I’d never seen before. Have a look at these ants. They were really small black ants, crawling  along vines and sticks of the ravine,   and I noticed them slipping in and out of very  inconspicuous holes in the twigs. At each hole,  

were guards keeping watch at every opening,  which marked the entrances to their nests   within the wood. I think I even saw the ants had  little bits of plant material or wood dust in   their mandibles. What an interesting species,  whatever it was. Dr. General identified them   in a video I sent him as ants belonging to the  genus Crematogaster, which made sense, as their   heart-shaped gasters which they could hold over  their heads is very characteristic of the genus,   but he said he needed to examine specimens further  to determine the exact species, so I collected a   few ants to send to his lab. Could this ant be an  undiscovered species of Crematogaster, which we  

could call Crematogaster acfamilius, or perhaps a  first geographical record again? The prospect made   me excited, of course, and I’ll be sure to let you  know what Dr. General says, but it just comes to   show you just how abundant and uniquely biodiverse  this awesome region of our forest is. So,   guys what should we name this part of our forest?  Leave your names suggestions for our forest ravine   in the comments, and I’ll choose my top 5  favourites for us to vote on in a future video.

Alright, now AC Family, let’s move on  further to what has to be the coolest   and in my opinion the most  magical part of our new forest. AC Family, behold this amazing passage  cutting right through the heart of our forest.   This habitat was by far my favourite to  discover, as it looked right out of a scene   from Lord of the Rings! It’s essentially a natural  pathway, cut out by a seasonal shallow creek.  

During the rainiest months, a shallow creek  runs through here, but for the rest of the year,   it’s a dried up bridle-path with a cobblestone  floor of natural river stones and even a gorgeous   carpet of the coolest leaves that resemble  blue-green maple leaves! How cool is that?   Was this a sign from the forest sprites that  this forest was meant for us? I’d say so. The habitat was truly mystical here, with the  most exotic of flowers, plants, and fungi.   Vines formed gorgeous archways overhead. Here  in this part of our forest, streams of light   beamed through the trees towering above,  making for a very interesting habitat:   not too hot or breezy like at the forest edge, but  not quite as cool and still as the ravine. It also  

was the most humid part of our forest, and home to  one of the strangest-looking ants, I’ve ever seen. AC Family, check this out!  While searching along the path,   crawling along one of the trees at the  edge of the path was this ant. Look! These strange ants kinda reminded me of fire ants,  only they were bigger, bumpier, hairier, and had   this strange knuckle-looking waist segment that  caused their gaster to sort of point downwards.   I couldn’t even identify the genus, I had never  seen an ant so odd. It didn’t look too friendly,   and I had no idea if they could sting me, so  I was careful when collecting a specimen for   identifying in the lab. Can any of you ant  experts out there pin a genus for this ant? Anyway, I will also be sending this truly  exotic ant to Dr. General to identify,  

again crossing my fingers and hoping we discovered  something new. Anyway, what do you guys think of   this part of our forest? AC Family, what should  we name this awesome season creek pathway habitat?   Make it a good one and leave your  name suggestions in the comments,   and again I’ll choose my top 5 favourite  for us to vote on in a future video. Pretty neat right how our new land  has three very different profiles   habitat-wise. I think we’ve barely even  scratched the surface regarding all the   secrets Mother Nature has hiding for us to  discover in all parts of our new forest. And now, AC Family, to reveal  my plans for this truly,   amazing chunk of nature and all its  life, ants, and creatures within it.

So guys, today marks the start of a  multi-year journey to create the very first   Ant Nature Reserve, essentially  a 'Paradise for Ants'.   Basically, I want to further forest  this land by planting more trees,   shrubs, etc to further support these three  main regions of prime ant real estate. Normally, this plot of virgin land would have been  sold to someone with the intentions of building a   house and garden onto it. But now that this land  was ours, instead of having to clear cut all the   trees, shrubs, and rich habitat valuable to the  ant colonies living on it, I wanted to instead   allow everything to continue growing, and  to plant more plants and trees in the area,   to encourage the native ant population to  move in and treat our forest as their refuge   and safe haven. I won’t be using pesticides  here, and if I ever need to clear anything away,   it will be to create easier access through  our forest here, because I don’t want to be   wandering waist deep in vegetation either, as  I have spitting cobras and reticulated pythons   living in my area, and I don’t want  to have to run into them by surprise.  

I kind of value my eyesight and my life, so  I’m sure that would be a good compromise. I realize this Ant Reserve and Conservation area,  would be a long term project for me, but as long   as I have all of you joining along for the ride,  learning with me, helping me make decisions along   the way, and supporting the ants from afar,  I’m certain only good can come out of this very   ambitious mission. According to some accounts,  around half of the world's original forests   have disappeared, and they are still being removed  at a rate 10x higher than any possible level of   regrowth. As tropical forests contain at least  half the Earth's species, the clearance of some 17  

million hectares each year is a truly dramatic and  heart-breaking loss. In light of all the amazing   things we’ve already discovered in just our  little 4.3 thousand square meter plot of forest   that makes up our new Antopia, can you imagine the  abundance and richness of life that exists in the   world’s forests? All the undiscovered species of  not only ants but plants, trees, flowers, fungi,   birds, reptiles, and other insects, all hidden  within the various natural paradises of the world.   Later this month, the United Nations has declared  the 21st to be the International Day of Forests,   and by creating our new Ant  Reserve, our Paradise for Ants here,   we will be helping by doing our part at  saving the world’s forests and forest life.

In fact, I mentioned at the start of the video  that I was going to reveal a secret I’ve been   keeping from you, and that’s this. Aside from  this new forest of ours, I also went ahead and   purchased a whopping 82 more acres of unoccupied  land several miles away out in remote landscape,   far away from any city. That’s about 62 football  fields worth of rolling hills, some of which   is agricultural farmland, but the rest of  which is wild undeveloped land. I did this,  

so I could work with and empower the community of  farmers currently living off the land to help make   the conversion of their crops over to organic  farming. I’ve also been studying on the side,   over the past two years about permaculture and  sustainable farming practices, that I hope to   apply there. With the wild part of the land,  I want to do the exact same thing we are doing   right here with our new forest: further support  and forest the land, to create more wild habitat,   creating an even bigger Paradise for Ants and  nature reserve/conservation park for all things   wild living there. Anything that I find works  successfully here in our new smaller Antopian  

forest, I’ll definitely try applying on a  larger scale on our 82 acre plot of land,   which I’m sure has got to have some undocumented  ant species, just waiting to be discovered   somewhere on the land! I’ll definitely take you  guys to this 82 acre plot of land one day soon,   and I won’t stop looking until we  discover a new species, or a hundred! You know, it’s funny, I never in a million years  thought my little, nerdy hobby of ant keeping   would one day grow to become something  more. Funny how building ant terrariums,   learning about plants, and studying soil,  water and nutrient cycles in terrariums,   would be my training wheels to do what  are essentially the exact same things,   but on a more macro level with  these new conservation projects.   It’s all taught me that if you really love  something in your heart, even if it’s something   as silly as ants, it’s a sign that you've got to  follow it. It just might be your life calling. One thing’s for sure though, none of this  could have ever happened if you, the AC Family,   didn’t keep watching my ant videos,  supporting the ants store at AntsCanada.com,   and just allowing these amazing insects  into your lives over the years. It’s almost  

inconceivable to me that over 4 million  of you have chosen to give ants a chance,   and not see them as pests, but rather, in  a lot of ways, like little versions of us. Thank you, AC Family! As your Creator of Worlds,  I promise to keep showing you the magnificence   of our six-legged insect friends, whose very  presence, life on the planet has depended on   for geological eras. Thank you for watching, and  supporting the ants. It’s ant love FOUR ever! Now one scene did concern me, though. At one of the trees at the ravine, I noticed  a mob creating a commotion. It was a colony of   black crazy ants, rallying menacingly around  another ant that they were holding hostage.   The black crazy ants had seized a big-headed ant  which tried unsuccessfully to break free. This  

was an Invasive Ant species in the process  of dismembering and killing a native ant   species. It was not good. The invasive ants  had already begun to creep into our forest   to wreak havoc. AC Family, it was now time  for us to initiate Phase 1 of Operation   Ant Paradise, and help stop this encroaching  invasive ant threat to our forest. AC Family, what do you think of our new ant  plans? We officially start our plans for   Operation Ant Paradise in our next episode. So  if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?  

Come be a part of the exciting ant journey ahead,  and SMASH that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now,   and hit ALL, so you get notified at every  upload. Also don’t forget to hit the LIKE   button every single time including now. It  would really mean a lot to me, guys. Thank you!   AC Inner Colony, I have left  a hidden cookie for you here,   if you would like to watch random scenes of  the ants in our new forest! Go check them out! And guys, be sure to visit AntsCanada.com  for all your ant keeping and collecting   gear shipped to you in a special package  from our ant-loving facility in the USA,   so you can get the most out of your ant  keeping experience. We ship worldwide and   also offer full email support if you  need our help! We also have a helpful   forum and ant colony trading marketplace  on the site. Visit AntsCanada.com today.

And now it’s time for the AC Question  of the Week. Last week, we asked: Why was it assuring to see that the mystery ants were eating fire ants? Congratulations to Corey Mattox who answered: It was good to see them hunting fire ants because fire ants are invasive. Congratulations Corey, you just won a free  Ultimate Ant Keeping Handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week we ask: Which was your favourite region  of our new forest and why? Leave your answer in the comments section   and you could also win a free Ultimate  Ant Keeping Handbook from our shop! Hope you could subscribe to the  channel as we upload every Saturday   at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT,  SHARE, and SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video,   to help us keep making  more. It’s ant love forever!

2021-03-17 00:32

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