I managed to catch a Camponatus Novae. outside of Walmart today:
This is my 8th Queen this summer. The other seven are all Camponatus Penn. Some still have their wings and seem to be infertile or signs there of (so far all late in egg laying, the one that has laid eggs so far after 3 weeks laid them about all scattered).
The worrisome queens were the first four I caught (outside my apartment building in the local park). I caught three more within the last week 2 wingless from logs/stumps and then another one with wings on the bike path.
Then this last one.
I'll be checking up on the first 7 ants tomorrow, once they're timing is all aligned I'lk consolidate them all to the same testtube tray instead of having scattered testtubes in various drawers (Basically each ant I got after the first four I put in their test tube, and then placed the test tube in a container with bubblewrap to prevent rolling around).
I got into ant keeping this month because of binge watching AntsCanada which had infectious enthusiasm.
My understanding is campos are good "beginner" ants to keep, chill, HUGE and easily observable, not picky eaters, good in various environments, etc. Though:
-Notorious cotton pullers.
-Need to get a wine fridge October-ish to hibernate them.
My understanding is this is the "plan":
-Wait for them to lay eggs, eta 1-3 weeks from capture; my first 4 ants are taking 3-4 weeks to lay eggs atm. Probably stressed as I xfered them between different setups until I got my test tubes.
-Wait a month for the eggs to develop and hatch to see if they are female workers. Release any proven infertile queens back into the wild.
-Feed them once a week or so? Maybe in a small tub & tube setup? Until probably *next year* around the 1 year anni. mark when they have hopefully enough workers (20-50 to 50-70?) before xfering them to a formicarium & outworld.
If I have any spare campos I'll probably trade them I guess for a different local species like camponatus herc.?
I tried to kidnap a wild Myrmica Rubra colony/nest of European Fireants local to my area (albeit invasives) but no luck finding a queen and I don't even really have a good setup for them anyways. Ideally I want to start from a single queen, but I might opt for stealing a log inhabited by them and transporting them to a prepared container. Since they're apparently classified as invasive pests in my region (Canada) I'm told not to feel bad doing this.
|# ¿ Jun 29, 2019 22:30|
|# ¿ Jul 11, 2020 14:32|
The Pennsylvaticus's eggs appear to have grown in size and thickness.
My Novae has all of hers in the humid part, I was worried about her as I tried to give her honey 2 weeks ago and it freaked her out and the week after I wasn't sure if she ate any eggs, but she seems to have plenty.
I tend to feed honey to some of the eggless ants to try to like, bribe them.
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2019 14:01|
I wish I could do that but North American/Canadian carpenter ants *need* to diapause or they die.
|# ¿ Sep 4, 2019 13:23|
I've transitioned my ant colonies to mostly Ants Canada gear; their test tubes/ant portals/adaptors etc make it convenient to gradually plug in play expand my various ant realms. I have some Hybrid nests in storage but right now they're way too big for my colonies.
Right now my average colony is housed like this:
The main/original nesting tube, connected to a Ant Portal (the box, it has 4 exit ports and a lid, to serve as a pseudo outworld for nanetic colonies), which connects to an Outworld (Empire of Ants outworld as the Ants Canada outworlds are 80$ and too large, but next year I expect to order like 5).
Gradually I've plugged in fresh water tubes to be replacement nests as the old nests get moldy, but they haven't all been cooperative in moving to them. But if they complete the move I remove the old tube (usually a 20mm test tube with a 3D printer adaptor, which is a pain and I'm slowly replacing them) and either plug it up or prepare for future expansion.
It's also been interesting trying to figure out the best way of handling expansion, figuring out what can plug into what.
My Camponotus Novobarcensis colony seems to like nesting in the transit tubes, or storing brood there.
The main stumbling point to replacing this tube with a new one is while the Queen has been escorted into a new tube, half the brood pile and most of the workers have remained behind despite the proximity of the LED lamp.
I'm debating getting a heating pad or maybe a better heating lamp, I'm using low watt bulbs but I'm not sure if they're really helping.
I had caught my original ant queens myself but I went and bought Myrmica Rubra, European Fire Ants. I have named them Muspelheimr. Land of the Fire Giants.
Collectively all of my ants are Antheimr.
The Four Camponotus Pennsyvaticus colonies are Midgard, East, West, North, and South.
The red backed carpenter ants I showed earlier are Nidavellir.
I also have four other queens that are likely infertile, I've had them for a year without eggs, but 2 of them this year have started egg laying, one of almost surely infertile but the other, which my dad sent me, probably fertile, they will join Midgard, for it has been foretold.
I feed them mealworms about once every 2-4 days, I got some superworms which I've fed to them once in a while for variety, and a gaggle of crickets which once they are all gone no more crickets, they are loud and smelly, I think I'll go all in on superworms but might give hissing roaches a chance.
Ants just nonchalantly carrying off big giant chunks of insect is amusing to me. Ants honestly behave kind of weird and are interesting to observe.
If I can arrange some permits I'd love to go for some exotic tropical ants, like dinomyrmex gigas or solenopsis geminata so I have something to care for during the winter since they obviously won't hibernate.
|# ¿ May 20, 2020 23:07|