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Goons Are Great
Nov 24, 2013

Please drink responsibly




drat, I was looking for a thread like that for ages and then decided to make my own as soon as my grand plan™ comes to its conclusion in the coming spring, but you beat me to it.

How long have you been into ant keeping and what other colonies did you own so far?
Your queen looks quite good, would you mind sharing your final setup for them in its full perfection? Also, do you have any idea which camponotus sp. it might be exactly?
Given that some of those ladies tend to become quite large depending on the species, I'm curious how your setup looks like, as this was quite a breaking point for me in the past.

I've been into ant keeping for quite a while now, but due to moving around and changing stuff in life I let my hobby slide for half a year now, which is why this is more or less a beyond-grave-report.
My last colony of Myrmica Rubra that lasted for several years died out quite horribly just recently, as due to a bad mite infection over the last summer (surely because I didn't take it seriously enough in the beginning) their numbers were dwindling and, since I live in the ice cold climate of Europe, they weren't in best shape when they wanted to go to winter's slumber.
I set them up for winter, all went well so far, but for some reason the last living queen that had survived the parasites couldn't get any rest despite that her entire setup was in cold temperatures. My guess is that she hadn't had the energy to prepare correctly and dried out over the cold and dry air that she had to deal with.
My final attempt to save her and her colonies' life was when I took them out of winter and warmed them back up, which turned out to be even a greater mistake, as it costed them all energy in their confused and disorganized attempts to keep the colony running. They died shortly after and I do feel very guilty about it.

Either way my setup is now antless, but not lifeless. I have an exploding colony of at least three springtail species living in Myrmica's former formicarium, alongside several small bugs and earth worms, all who don't give a crap about winter and they breed continously as if they plan to take over the world, which, from their perspective on the ants, they kinda did
As soon as spring drops by from March onwards I plan to get some new ants, most likely a healthy Lasius Niger queen that got pregnant in autumn, as she and her kids will fit very well in my new, though compact formicarium, as I wanted to downsize everything for practical and safety reasons.

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Goons Are Great
Nov 24, 2013

Please drink responsibly




Kharnifex posted:

AliExpress has some very cool ant enclosures, for very cheap

Excellent founding testubes with sand refillable weirs

I'm currently keeping Myrmecia pilosula, Myrmecia piliventris, camponotus nigricips and Rhytidoponera metallica and pseudoneoponera

I have mealworms and fruitfly cultures for live food, and some locally made ant foods, and real honey.

Alot of the ants I keep are gamergates, and take a very long time to create workers

They are semi claustral, and the larvae are like wasp larvae and need huge amounts of food

drat, you've been places. What's your setup like with such a collection of species? Also, how do you keep, feed and ultimately use the fruit flies? Was thinking about that kind of food a year ago, but didn't get into it.

Kharnifex posted:

Be careful with springtails, they can become a nuisance, and some will target protein, like ant eggs. Mites are a constant issue, and will come in on insects wild caught or even commercially sourced.
Yeah I know. When I did a microscope sweep and check on how the outworld looks like, I found that somehow mites got in after all, but that's what they do. I'm considering doing either a full clean up of the outworld to get rid of them, but I don't really want to right now, as long as it's not necessary. Might just get a second outworld and keep this one separated instead, if I find them or any of the other small things to become a problem.

I have a rather large separation between the current outworld where the springtails live and the nest the ants will get, so I hope this won't become a major issue, as so far they showed barely motivation to move anywhere at all, as they happily feed on whatever's left lying around.
However, being a very modular setup, I hope that if stuff goes downhill with the new colony, I can still fix things by separating the modules and re-arrange them after clean up.

Goons Are Great
Nov 24, 2013

Please drink responsibly




Kharnifex posted:

Mum and first bub,

two more larvae and several eggs



Myrmecia pilosula

Came home, opened my wingless fruit fly, to find millions of fruit fly with wings, some without, and some phorid flies,

room currently swirling with bugs

at least the ants have food

Now those look gorgeous. When did you get that queen mom?

Also that fly thing was something I was wondering about. As long as they're not super genetically modified I'd assume some offspring gaining wings again (or evolving new ones in super evolution speed ), however since they are still the most practicable prey insects, how will you deal with those that can fly? I assume the ants won't really have a chance catching them.

Goons Are Great
Nov 24, 2013

Please drink responsibly




lol but seriously I posted:

Find it interesting that termite queens turn into cool alien sacks but ant queens go giant but retain usual proportions. You have an handsome ant queen btw Wraiith303.

That's because Termite queens massively expand their ovaries and produce by far more eggs in a much shorter time than ants do, as their workers live a much shorter life (and usually have more enemies), they have to produce both females and males with various tasks (many termite species have specific soldiers for example, where as ants usually only have workers, even though in various sizes for various tasks including specifically defending) and they need to be re-fertilized by the termite king regularly, while ant queens get fertilized once on their life by many, many males, then store the sperm in their spermatheca for the rest of their life, continuously fertilizing the eggs inside her body with it.

Also, after months of preparing, waiting and also hoping, I finally got the start of my new colony. Meet HRH Queen Anne(t) I., of the species Lasius Niger, or Black Garden Ant.



She got pregnant very late last autumn and managed to already raise some kids before winter hit her and she went to well-earned sleep. Now that spring is hitting again, she got active and is now placed in her hopefully new nest in my Formicarium, that I kept rebuilding and expanding over the course of the past 7 months.
As far as I can see she and her kids are fine, still in shock due to the world around here being quite moving, but slowly she is calming down and showing comfort behavior. Currently she does not seem to have any eggs produced, which is no surprise as she probably got out of sleep just a few days ago and is still waking up. Her workers are also still very inactive, but regularly taking care of her, cleaning her and I hope also feeding her with a bit of the honey I offered them. Not entirely sure if every worker made it through winter, but she should at least have enough ladies to keep her save for now.
Now I need to wait and how many days, weeks or months it takes for them to get back to egg production and maybe even move out of the birth tube, hopefully accepting the nest I respectfully offered them.

Goons Are Great fucked around with this message at 12:37 on Mar 19, 2019

Goons Are Great
Nov 24, 2013

Please drink responsibly




Ah, that looks good!
How did you tackle the mites? Presumably by killing off every possibly infected fly?

Currently feeding my guys with freeze dried insects, decided to also get wingless fruit flies later on, but given that I currently have exactly 3 ants including the queen there's no real need to go big yet. Also they moved out of the Glas into their nest and placed it in a way I can barely see anything, so I don't even know if they have brood. Those fuckers.

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Goons Are Great
Nov 24, 2013

Please drink responsibly




drat, that looks like a space station! Amazing.
Do you need to separately heat this setup?

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