"How does that work and why?" is the question that has occupied my mind ever since childhood. When at around nine years old, I found the small book Het Leven der Mieren written by prof. dr. A. Raignier in the fifties. This combined with the various ant species in our garden opened up a world of unimagined complexity and diversity of these seemingly simple creatures. Hungry for more, in 1990 I bought The Ants by Hölldobler & Wilson and the ant-fascination has stuck with me ever since.
With the rise of the Internet the antkeeping hobby has grown enormously and knowledge, materials and ants are now much more readily available. Even though I've only started keeping ants again a few years ago after a long hiatus, I've mainly focused on expanding my experience and academic insight. So now I get a lot of enjoyment out of thinking about improvements and assisting other antkeepers with tried-and-true knowledge.
However, I find the ever-present struggle with misinformation, amateurism and greed in the community unacceptable. This has led to the foundation of AntHeap. Together with other experienced, skilled and motivated ant-enthusiasts we're trying to do something about these problems. A long and arduous path for which all assistance is welcome.
I have always been fascinated with how things are made. With the whole process of how a nebulous idea can be transformed into a more solid form in reality. The exploration of this has lead me through many different hobbies and educations, eventually developing a deep respect for pure craftsmanship and nature. There is no human who makes things like Mother nature.
After making the necessary few false starts, I wound up being incorporated in my brother's development of AntHeap. Driven with the idea that I can build anything, as long I just put in the effort, I apply my skills and interests to help with design, artwork and crafting for all the fun stuff for nature’s biggest builders: the ants.
Hunger for knowledge has made me want to be good and know a lot of things about certain subjects. When I was young I loved managing things and growth combined with progress. I have always been intrigued and have a lot of respect for people that have a big amount of knowlegde and wisdom and could tell you all the in’s and outs and specific details of certain things. That’s what I eventually would strive to become.
The big diversity in the ant world never seizes to amaze me. The complexity and the many things that haven’t been discovered or haven’t been able to be explained yet is something that truely keeps my mind working. The many highlights the hobby has to offer from starting with a single queen to a colony of thousands of workers. You decide everything for them and provide them with the best care possible.
Sharing knowledge and making the antkeeping community a better place bit by bit is a goal I would like to achieve.
In my opinion the hobby has gone downhill in the past few years. (Personally starting the hobby in 2012) The range of species and accesibility has increased, but unfortunately not the quality. When you buy a colony for a low price or a high price, trying to save a half dead colony which has a big chance of dying shouldn’t be a concern for the buyer, which unfortunately is the fact in many cases. That’s why we at AntHeap try to provide optimal and healthy colonies as cheap as possible.
The most important reasons for my involvement in AntHeap are my sons Tobias and Pepijn. I'm very happy with that after so much time he has found in ants a purpose he can pour his heart and soul in. I enjoy helping him with that.
This assistance means feeding the feeder insects and the ants, preparing orders for shipment, and I preside over the inventory. With my background as an information analist and Oracle developer, in the future I'll also become more involved in the development and maintenance of the AntHeap website and database.
The photograph displays an important hobby of mine: the guitar. I also enjoy composing music, stone sculpting, reading and boardgames.
My passion for ants started at school doing a project with Lasius niger. I wanted to see what the effect of food was on the growth of the colony.
After the research, I started to keep ants for myself and I got more and more respect and interest in the differences between species. Behavior, nutrition, nesting method and so on! Endless differences.
I have recently been helping at AntHeap with the care for the colonies, and while I am still learning, I plan to never stop learning.
My interest voor ants started when I was waiting in a zoo and a row of ants came walking by which were carrying leaves on their backs. This interested me so much that I started looking on the internet and I came to know that there was a whole community around ants. And a few weeks later I had my first ant colony. After a few years in the hobby I found Antheap and now I sometimes help with caring for colonies and I get to test new functions on the site.
One day, looking for bugs in the backyard as a little kid, I stumbled across a colony of ants. What I noticed, was that these tiny workers didn't seem to just wander about like other bugs. They appeared to communicate in some way. I filled a bottle cap with honey, and placed it next to the entrance to see what would happen. First, a few ants started drinking, but soon after, a massive hoard of ants gathered around the liquid. I was intrigued!
This memory stuck with me ever since. Later, I realised there must be so many things which are hidden from even our imagination. Until one day they are discovered, either on purpose, or by accident. And I became inquisitive to learn more about the world around us. I later found out about the ant keeping hobby, and soon enough I was looking at ants again the way I did a few years earlier.
Once, a man at my grandma’s birthday told me I was the type of person who likes to solve problems. I wasn't sure about this, as I thought I was more of a person who likes making stuff. But now I know that these things fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. There still are many challenges in the ant keeping hobby, and by working together with Antheap I can do my part in solving some of those 'problems' by making stuff.