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Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


OneTwentySix posted:

How is your colony, Kharnifex; still doing okay?

It's going well, and getting bigger, I will need to transfer them into a redone box with compartments that are glued into place with silicon, and wash the older one.

I will update with Pics at some stage.

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Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


As previously mentioned, it needs a good cleanup and new test tubes.

Inside the main chamber - small trashpiles the ants build.



Two areas they keep eggs/larva, one at the rear and one inside the tube with the Queen.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


So my queen has 9 little larvae, and my first worker just popped out of nowhere. At least it looks like a worker, it's just a shriveled up not-moving white ant babby. It's possible that it could be just spinning its cocoon.

Would it be alright for the queens and larvae's health to be out in the open in my bedrooms lights during the day? I've been keeping a dark cloth on her test tube but I can't stop looking at her. It's exciting, I want to see the colony come to life!

OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




Awesome! Glad your guys are doing well, that looks really great!

It sounds like you have a pupa there; most ants don't have cocoons, so they just pupate as a white ant-looking thing that doesn't really move at all.

Light is only really a problem for wild colonies that grew up in the dark. You might want to ease them into it a bit, if you've had a cloth over them, but if you never had darkness, they'll do just fine in the open.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


It wasn't even pupa. It was just 3 dried up shriveled dead eggs tangled in a bundle of dirty cotton. I thought the cotton tendrils were its body parts or something.

On a brighter note though, she layed 3 eggs last night. Her first new bundle in 2 weeks.

blarzgh
Apr 14, 2009

SNITCHIN' RANDY


Grimey Drawer

OneTwentySix posted:

I caught the smaller queen at a gas station. I looked down and saw her moving on the pavement. Since I keep a small container in my glove box just for that kind of thing, I was able to collect her and bring her home.

This is why I like goons.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


Why do I have both the 'fuzzy white cocoon thing with dot on one end' pupa and the 'tiny white shriveled-up ant' pupa? I guess I should expect this, but I don't really know the life process of the brood that well.. Just cleaning and keeping a colony alive.

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


Old farm,



New farm, quite larger.



It's a crap shot, but I have placed the original nesting tube into the new farm.

I am hoping they move the nest into one of the new test tubes inside one of the two new nesting chambers as it will be warmer.

One of them has a larger access hole on the side for a queen to go into, and then I will ditch their original dirty tube.

I am a bit worried the silicon I used to stabilize everything has not cured 100% and the fumes might nuke everything.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


Finally just got my first worker today. Two or three more should be coming within the next week as well.

When should I begin thinking about migrating the test tube into a larger terrarium? Also, when should I begin feeding the colony and with what? I've read that honey works well, but my test tube really isn't much of a test tube, it's some plastic toothbrush container, so cleaning it and feeding the ants might be more difficult for me.

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


I moved them into a larger container, within a larger container once there was 6 workers.
I use a separate container with a hole in it, to feed them, it has raw sugar sprinkled in one end, and hikari crab pellets in the other.
Once there was 6 workers, I unplugged the cotton that kept them in the tube.

You may need to re-work what I did to make sure you don't get escapee's when you inspect/clean.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


Fed my queen and her worker a grape, which is also their first fed meal. holy poo poo they're digging into it. Their gasters are so full they look like they're gonna pop.

edit: There goes worker #2 appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Imapanda fucked around with this message at 07:39 on Aug 6, 2013

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


-woops double post-

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


This colony has survived since Jan 2013 by following the steps in the OP, I'm impressed.

One of the test tubes has been drained of it's water supply but is also the main queen chamber, continuing to feed the colony with raw sugar crystals, Tetra colour tropical granules, and some Christmas beetle pupae.

Photos can be difficult to take due to the speedy response time.



OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




That's really cool! Glad to hear your colony is doing great!

Right now, I have two going, though the smaller one isn't doing the best and she's down to two workers. I'll see if I can take some pictures tomorrow, maybe.

Ants are really neat, though!

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


I have two colonies going right now as well.

I have the one I found in June, she only has 3 workers and about 15 larvae. There was another worker but I guess that worker felt like he wanted to tunnel into the wet side of the test tube and drown herself. The larvae seemed to have stopped growing, is that just them beginning to experience hibernation until spring? They've been basically the same size for like a month now, which wasn't the case for the nanitics.

I've only been feeding my ants grapes and apples, which they absolutely devour. I've looked up some additional info on that antfarm yuku forums though and it seems like it would be a good idea to feed them other insects as well? I tried doing this earlier in the fall with a ladybug and they were freaking the hell out, doing the opposite of eating it by either lunging at it or running from it (I wade sure it was dead too). I'm afraid if I introduce them to another bug to eat they'll just freak out and the queen will get stressed out. I live in Minnesota so finding insects other than indoor spiders during the winter months could be tough.

Ants are tight, and it's fun to just gawp at them and watch their behavior. I've noticed that my biggest worker guards the eggs and sticks by the queen, the smallest one gathers the fruitjuices to puke into her moms mouth, and the middle-child kind of does her own thing running around and occasionally feeding the queen too.

As for the other queen, I caught her last week, she's smaller than the other queen and laid 2 tiny specks of eggs so far. But she's coping with her new home much easier than my first queen did.

Imapanda fucked around with this message at 08:31 on Oct 13, 2013

OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




Yeah, the ants need protein, and you can get that from insects. People usually recommend freezing the food, though, or otherwise culturing it yourself, because you risk introducing mites or pathogens. The issue with the ladybug is that they're carnivorous (don't eat ants, but might be able to hurt them), heavily armored, and they're also poisonous. Ants that herd aphids also have to drive off a lot of ladybugs. Find something more soft-bodied if you can.

the yeti
Mar 29, 2008

memento disco





This stuff is really interesting, and although I can't add anything from personal experience, if any of you goons are in Cincinnati, OH, you should visit the zoo- their insect house (besides being really rad in general, lots of cool species) has a couple enormous formicaria, one being a leafcutter colony that was really cool to examine up close.

bollig
Apr 7, 2006

Never Forget.


I'm thinking about getting a Lasius Niger and some workers and I've been waffling about where to put them. Would putting them in a South-facing window be prudent? It never gets direct light, but it would allow some circadian rhythms to take over. It's also on my desk in an area where my wife never goes, which ups its value.

OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




I don't think that light is terribly important; most of the ants will spend the majority of their life completely underground. The main issue is just that they get some light, so they're born to it and don't go running like crazy when there's light. You might want to be careful with the window, though, in case they'd get too hot.

bollig
Apr 7, 2006

Never Forget.


OneTwentySix posted:

I don't think that light is terribly important; most of the ants will spend the majority of their life completely underground. The main issue is just that they get some light, so they're born to it and don't go running like crazy when there's light. You might want to be careful with the window, though, in case they'd get too hot.

It really doesn't get too hot. That corner is easily the most temperature regulated one in the apartment.

I was reading that one way of moving ants around. For example to get them from test tube A to test tube B, you wrap test tube B with foil and just shine a light on the both of them. Will they get too desensitized?

Followup question: I'm assuming the Lasius hibernates. Is it 'okay' to purchase them in that state? For the record I live in Central Europe so Winter starts a bit earlier for us.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


I'm pretty sure exporting ants from the US is illegal in some way. I remember there's a website hosted somewhere in europe that ships ant queens though.

If you don't have a queen now it'd be best to wait until spring comes around so you could catch your own queens. You'll always find fertilized queens running along the sidewalks in suburban areas. Or you could check out that antfarm yuku forums to see if there's an enthusiast in your area who has spare queens, it's not uncommon for the people on that website to own over a dozen queens.

bollig
Apr 7, 2006

Never Forget.


I ordered some up. There's a guy up in Zurich who has an awesome website. Lasius Niger queen with ~4 workers.

Looking forward to it. I'm like Calvin in that series where he orders up that beanie and then just sits and waits for it to arrive.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


Winter time hibernation sucks. I want these larvae to grow, damnit. I just know my queen and her 3 workers are going to get tired of all the fruit I'm feeding them one of these months and gobble up all the sleeping young. Should I even have to worry about feeding them as much during hibernation? I sort of get paranoid about them starving every time a chunk of fruit I feed them dries up.

bollig
Apr 7, 2006

Never Forget.


Sweet. Lasius Niger Queen and some of her workers arrived.

I've been poking around the internet, but is there just a good general guide to raising that species? From what I've gathered they're pretty hard to gently caress up, but I just want to have all the facts going in.

Hey baby want to see my formicarium?

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


Apologies in advance for the crappy pictures, the swarm is getting very large now.

I had to clean out the separate foodbox as some food had gotten mouldy due to excess moisture build up.

I am yet to see the very large soldier caste ants be born yet that are common with this species. *edit 1st Soldier is up and running about!



Kharnifex fucked around with this message at 22:24 on Nov 15, 2013

catamar
May 23, 2008


Is the soldier between the V and B in that second picture?

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


I'm pretty sure that's the queen. Soldiers generally look like larger worker ants but with an abnormally large head.

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


Imapanda posted:

I'm pretty sure that's the queen. Soldiers generally look like larger worker ants but with an abnormally large head.

Hi guys,

Yeap thats the Queen, and the Soldier has hatched in the box behind her, and the entrance/exit hole is too small for it to get out.

I need to change that...

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


As I filled up my car at the service station, Ant queens fell onto the roof of my car, queue me scooping them up into a container.

A few new species I haven't ID'd and some of the same.





OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




Kharnifex posted:

As I filled up my car at the service station, Ant queens fell onto the roof of my car, queue me scooping them up into a container.

A few new species I haven't ID'd and some of the same.


That's pretty cool! I like to keep containers in my car for the same reason; you never know when you'll need them.



This one looks like a male, though, with his tiny little head.

Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


OneTwentySix posted:

That's pretty cool! I like to keep containers in my car for the same reason; you never know when you'll need them.



This one looks like a male, though, with his tiny little head.

Sure was! I am unsure which group he belonged to, but he passed away predictably.

Pile of Kittens
Apr 23, 2005

Why does everything STILL smell like pussy?



OneTwentySix posted:

That's pretty cool! I like to keep containers in my car for the same reason; you never know when you'll need them.


You need a hobby. A different one, I mean. Man, formicologists are weird.

OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




Pfft, I'm a herpetologist. I just keep ants on the weekends.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


An enormous colony came out of nowhere recently in my kitchen but I have no idea why a queen would suddenly begin popping out dozens of new workers in the middle of winter in Minnesota of all places. They're coming from under the refrigerator and I sort of want to move it out of the way to see if I can find a queen or at least eliminate them from potentially getting into our foods.

Could more food/protein or more heat potentially shorten their hibernation?

I'm so excited for spring. I found my queen late in the fall so she didn't really have too much of an opportunity to make many nanitics, there's only 3 workers and I'm finding myself checking up on them so much that I've even given them names and can tell which one is which. (the runt is missing one of her antennas, so she's always this confused little rascal )

Imapanda fucked around with this message at 23:52 on Jan 14, 2014

OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




I think heat might do it; larvae develop faster at higher temps, and they might not go into hibernation at all if it's warm, depending on species (could be wrong on this).

Is it a native species, that you know? I'd guess that Argentine or other exotic ants wouldn't hibernate really, too.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


I believe my queen is a Camponotus Noveboracensis.

This is a picture I took shortly after I caught her last June.


I lover her species. They're so big and I'm glad I managed to run into her.

Is feeding my ants harvestmen spiders safe? They're the only other insect that I can really hunt for in bulk right now.

Imapanda fucked around with this message at 06:04 on Jan 20, 2014

Pile of Kittens
Apr 23, 2005

Why does everything STILL smell like pussy?



You mean grandaddy longlegs? Seems dangerous to put an omnivore in with them. Is there another way you can give them spare protein, like cut up mealworms?

OneTwentySix
Nov 5, 2007

fun
FUN
FUN




Harvestmen are pretty notorious for carrying mites, though they're not always parasitic. I wouldn't really risk it, though. They could potentially attack the ants if fed live. Freezing would eliminate most of the risk, though. You could also culture or buy fruit flies or something, too.

Imapanda
Sep 12, 2008

Majoris Felidae Peditum


I meant dead harvestman spiders.

I fed my ants a mixture of honey, orange juice, and protein powder the other day and now they wont stop pissing (or is that vomit) all over their test tube.

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Kharnifex
Sep 11, 2001


Update time,

I kept the queen who laid the most, and seemed the biggest and the strongest. The others had their test tube nests buried in different locations with the sealing cotton removed, should be interesting to see if they make established nest sites.



Went bush, in the rain I stumbled upon an interesting ant, that left a raised area in my palm which hurt for 30 minutes. The stinger was an impressive size and the ant really looked for soft areas to dig its stinger into, like under my fingernails. I don't think it was nearly as painful as myrmecia though. No ants harmed taking these.







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