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Various Methods and Setups used for Founding Queens

test tube founding queen care setup set up methods

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#1 Offline Crystals - Posted March 31 2015 - 5:11 PM

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Various Methods and Setups used for Founding Queens.

Caring for a queen can be a bit different than caring for a mature colony.   Different techniques are used for the different types of queens.  Some queens can be trickier than others or have special nesting requirements, food requirements, or something else. 

Please keep in mind that there are 3 different categories of queens:  fully-claustral, semi-claustral, and socially parasitic.  Fully Claustral will not need to forage, where Semi-Claustral will need to forage, and the Social Parasites benefit from being fed until the pupae eclose.  (For more details, please see the "Starting Your Own Colony" section in the Ant Guide for Beginner's - http://www.formicult...-for-beginners/ )

 

Some setups will work for all 3 types, while others will only work for one of the queen categories.

 

In general, a founding queen needs moisture, food (if semi-claustral or parasitic), and as few disturbances as possible.  If you feed her, ensure it is easy to clean up - either with a foraging area, or using something like a tin foil plate.

 

Basically, any container that is humid and gives the queen the ability to get a drink should work.  Just ensure it isn't too large or the queen or nanitics might get lost or store garbage in the nest.

 

There is even a record somewhere where someone had put a Camponotus queen in a plastic cup with a damp paper towel, and she was able to successfully raise her first workers in that setup.

 

 

Test tube:

These have been used a lot for all types of queens.  They work well for some species, but not so well for others.  Click here to see a Video on how to set up a test tube.

 

Water fills the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 and uses a cotton ball to hold the water back.  Usually made of glass, plastic, or acrylic.  Can be substituted with vinyl tubing, prescription pill bottles, syringe tube, or any long narrow object.

Some people use food grade agar agar in 1/3 of the test tube for queens that like to dig.  (http://www.formicult...?hl=+agar +agar)
 

 

Placing test tubes in a foraging area will allow semi-clastral queens, or small colonies, to forage.

 

35959937565_66af1d9a71_b.jpg

 

 

 

Or you can attach the test tube to the foraging area with tubing:

 

35078501953_ee1d7443f4_b.jpg

 

 

 

Small formicarium:

This can be done in so many different ways.  Any ant nest that has 1-3 chambers will work as long as it is moist enough.  They can be made out of many different types of materials (http://www.formicult...ium/#entry11018).

 

Grout formicarium with outworld – 2 chamber nest combined with a foraging area:

 

35048138244_9021ff9b27_b.jpg

 

 

32 ounce deli container with grout and a water chamber below.  No tunnels, ants all stay on top.

 

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2 chamber nest sitting in a foraging area:

 

35078427923_289a20a9a7_b.jpg

 

 

Firebrick formicarium - attached to a foraging area with a very short section of vinyl tubing:

 

35828229276_f30673206e_b.jpg

 

 

 

Dirt setup:

This is more natural, but if your queen runs into any problems, it is nearly impossible to help her.  Or even see her.  Can be tough to move the colony once they need a bigger nest.  Tunnel collapses and mold can be problematic.

 

A flat horizontal nest removes some of the tunnel collapse problems:

 

35028995014_7980ff99d1_b.jpg

 

 

These are dspdrew's:

 

 

 

 

There are many unique ways to provide water to a queen.  Here are some others:

 

Coasters and clay.  2 glass coasters, with a wall of clay and a soaked cotton ball.

 

35827989631_4437b96b53_b.jpg

 

 

Foraging area, with a piece of vinyl connected to a waterer:

 

35078430513_efc5bc6b80_b.jpg

 

 

 

Wood with glass on top in foraging area:

This works well for Myrmica, Leptothorax, and other small semi-claustral species.  Provides a moist environment with the ability to forage.  Has to be watered regularly.

Pictures from zielona.mrufka

 

 

Small acrylic nests can also work (this one is a bit large for a single new queen, but it gives you an idea)  This picture is also from zielona.mrufka

 

This is a wood nest made by wook to raise a certain Camponotus species that was known to do very poorly in test tubes:

 

 

 

 

 

Buying pre-made Founding Chambers:

 

If you aren't into building your own or using test tubes, there are options to buy founding chambers from several sellers. 

Also check the Market Place.

 

 

ByFormica.com

Information coming soon.

 

 

TarHeelAnts.com sells several founding chambers:

Growth Chamber (tarheelants.com/formicaria/growth_chamber.html)

Evolution Chamber (http://tarheelants.c..._chamber_i.html)

Companion Nest (http://tarheelants.c...anion_nest.html)

Talus (http://tarheelants.c...ia/talus-1.html)

Greater Talus (http://tarheelants.c...ater_talus.html)

 

 

 

Here are pictures of some member's ant keeping areas.  You can see some different setups:

http://www.formicult...your-ant-areas/

 

There is also a thread for formicariums for larger colonies:

http://www.formicult...-and-outworlds/

 

 

Let's see pictures of your setups for Founding Queens!  :D

What were they made out of?  How well did they work?

 

PTAntFan's acrylic tower (http://www.formicult...wer/#entry32719)


Edited by Crystals, July 16 2017 - 7:14 AM.

  • dermy, Miles, Jonathan21700 and 3 others like this

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 31 2015 - 6:26 PM

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This is a nice post.


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#3 Offline Ants4fun - Posted March 31 2015 - 6:35 PM

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Very helpful post! Deserves to be pinned!


Edited by Ants4fun, March 31 2015 - 6:37 PM.


#4 Offline kellakk - Posted March 31 2015 - 9:45 PM

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Great post, there's some pictures in here I've never seen before.  You may have answered this somewhere else, but where do you get those small narrow boxes for mini outworlds?


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#5 Offline antmaniac - Posted April 1 2015 - 12:58 AM

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Nice setups!

My founding setup is very simple. Any cleaned sushi soy sauce container, a wet paper plus a straw with honey. Put in some random insects once a while. Clean and change new paper when it get mouldy. It is working so far.

#6 Offline Crystals - Posted April 1 2015 - 7:47 AM

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Very helpful post! Deserves to be pinned!

I have it listed in the List of Handy Links - which is pinned in the General Section.

 

 

Great post, there's some pictures in here I've never seen before.  You may have answered this somewhere else, but where do you get those small narrow boxes for mini outworlds?

I bought those from a store online, they were meant for holding fancy chocolates.  They no longer make them.  I do have some for sale in the Market Place.


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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#7 Offline Chromerust - Posted April 1 2015 - 8:35 AM

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Great post, thanks for sharing!

#8 Offline kellakk - Posted April 1 2015 - 10:41 AM

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I bought those from a store online, they were meant for holding fancy chocolates.  They no longer make them.  I do have some for sale in the Market Place.

Thanks for the info.


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#9 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted April 1 2015 - 11:56 AM

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Nice post! Now I am trying a founding chamber for a Myrmica sp. queen. It's a Tic Tac box filled half way with grout with a small chamber and tunnel. The chamber is coated with dirt.


Edited by Jonathan21700, April 1 2015 - 11:59 AM.


#10 Offline Foogoo - Posted April 1 2015 - 12:54 PM

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Nice post! Now I am trying a founding chamber for a Myrmica sp. queen. It's a Tic Tac box filled half way with grout with a small chamber and tunnel. The chamber is coated with dirt.

Agreed, excellent post.

 

I'm going to experiment with something similar. The traditional test tube is great since it offers hydration and humidity but many ants seem uncomfortable with no substrate and nowhere to hide. 


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#11 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted April 1 2015 - 1:34 PM

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My founding setup for my Myrmecocystus testaceus queen. It seems successful, as she has a large ball of eggs.


Edited by Gregory2455, April 1 2015 - 1:34 PM.


#12 Offline Crystals - Posted April 1 2015 - 1:50 PM

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Is that a bit of hydrostone wtih some sand on top?  Looks interesting.  I bet Lasius would like that setup.


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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#13 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted April 1 2015 - 11:14 PM

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Is that a bit of hydrostone wtih some sand on top?  Looks interesting.  I bet Lasius would like that setup.

Exactly. This was the setup Ray Mendez was explaining in a video that MrILoveTheAnts posted here a while back.



#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 2 2015 - 4:26 AM

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My founding setup for my Myrmecocystus testaceus queen. It seems successful, as she has a large ball of eggs.

 

What is that container? How did you keep the Hydrostone from cracking it? How do you hydrate it?



#15 Offline Foogoo - Posted April 2 2015 - 8:05 AM

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My founding setup for my Myrmecocystus testaceus queen. It seems successful, as she has a large ball of eggs.

 

Quick and simple, I love it. One of my remaining Dorymyrmex queens have been hating life in her tube, hating the cotton and hating her eggs so I moved her to a small Talus. She's been spending all her time outside of the nest insisting on trying to dig by yanking grains of sand up. I might make a setup like this for her if she's still not changing her tune.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#16 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted April 2 2015 - 11:58 AM

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Yeah, this setup is cool and I want to try it.



#17 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted April 2 2015 - 12:22 PM

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Here's my setup.

20150402 230233
20150402 230714

Edited by Jonathan21700, April 2 2015 - 12:23 PM.


#18 Offline Foogoo - Posted April 3 2015 - 10:03 PM

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My founding setup for my Myrmecocystus testaceus queen. It seems successful, as she has a large ball of eggs.

 

How do you feed the queen, if you do?


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#19 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted April 3 2015 - 11:22 PM

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My founding setup for my Myrmecocystus testaceus queen. It seems successful, as she has a large ball of eggs.

 

How do you feed the queen, if you do?

 

She is fully clausteral. No need until she gets workers, in which case she needs to be moved from the setup anyways.



#20 Offline MajorPheidole - Posted April 9 2015 - 1:21 AM

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Wow. Love all the creativity in this thread!Love how natural the "Wood with glass on top" looks.
Think I'm gonna have to try that with my next queen.

Edited by MajorPheidole, April 9 2015 - 3:11 AM.






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