From Ant Keeping Wiki
While looking for ants you always want to have the proper tools to make your life easier: forceps, vials/containers, aspirator (useful for collecting a lot of ants), knife, and cotton swabs or toothpicks are useful for picking up small brood piles of inception colonies. It all comes down to what you are looking for, queens are easy to find, you just have to go out and look for them. Open areas are the best places, like fields, tennis courts, or empty parking lots. It's very easy to find them just by walking on the sidewalk in your neighborhood. At night you can find queens under porch lights or large spot lights, like the ones in parking lots or tennis courts. Another great place to look for queens is in dead rotten trees, just peel the bark back with your knife and have a vial in your other hand ready to collect. If you are trying to look for a colony or queen of a specific species, you need to do some research and figure out where that species lives and when they usually have nuptial flights. When you want to find as many species as you can, remember, ants nest in every possible place you could think of, so you want to look everywhere. Flip over rocks or large logs, break open twigs, branches, acorns. Peeling the bark off of dead trees can uncover lots of different species, even taking a small layer of bark off of living trees can uncover a lot of ants.
You can also keep a queen log, this is helpful to remember where/when you caught certain species and what the weather was like. You can also do this for colonies or workers.
|Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen||try and be specific about location so you can remember. 11/22/19. 3:13PM||Temp: 64
|Rained two days before.|