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Jan 16, 2019

So I keep ants. They are super cool and fun to watch. To prove this point I will share some progress of my Camponotus queen. She was caught on 11 November 2018 running around on the ground while we were having a braai (a braai is like a BBQ, except better - prove me wrong)

It took a few days before she settled in laid her first few eggs. Here you can see her with her brood:

Whenever there were some vibrations on the table where she was being kept - she would pick her brood up and run around. (She was being stressed out and did not feel safe) and whenever she relaxed, she would groom herself.

Here she can be seen about a month in with her brood:

I am by no means an ant expert, and there is every possibility that I even misidentified her species. Ant queens are generally claustral or semi-claustral. If a queen is claustral it means once she finds a founding chamber and lays her eggs she does not need to go hunt for food, she will wait for her workers to be born so they can hunt for her and feed her. Semi-claustral queens still forage for food after laying their eggs.

At around new years, her first worker was "born"
Here you can see her with her first batch of workers taking care of the larvae and pupae: (edit: she was cropped out of the image)

Fun fact, if you were an ant, you would only poop once from egg>larvae>pupae - You can see the little brown dots on the cocoons. Yup - that's larvae poop.

Here she is today:

It's still a little soon for her to be moved to a formicary - or for those illiterate brutes amongst us - an ant farm. The colony is very healthy. My only regret is that I did not make it easier to hydrate them. The second queen I caught, a Myrmecaria queen was much easier. My second mistake was that the container where she is being kept is "too big" and I believe this led to a great deal of extra stress for the young queen.

Are there any other goonie ant keepers around?


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