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Crystal's Formica podzolica Journal

crystals formica podzolica journal

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#1 Offline Crystals - Posted July 23 2015 - 7:19 PM

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Well, I better make a journal for this colony.  I wasn't sure I wanted to keep it at first, but this is the most successful Formica colony I have had so far (and I have kept lots of Formica).

 

I caught a lone queen on flight in Fairmont, BC on June 24, 2014.

 

November 2014

DSC06970_zpsjv5nz0fd.jpg
DSC06971_zpsb7stycge.jpg

 

 

This colony went into hibernation shortly after the pupae in the pictures above eclosed.  They came out in February 2015.

They were beginning to outgrow the formicarium. 

A friend sent me one of the AntCanada small omni nests for free. None of the Formica I ever kept were happy with plain acrylic.  So I altered it.  :D

 

I do not trust the foam to keep the ants from digging through it.  I siliconed steel mesh on the hydration holes.

On one side I just had the mesh and a gap between the mesh and the freshly poured grout.  On the other side I had small strips of chamois cloth to seep hydration from the foam into the grout chambers on this side.  The grout on the two sides was not connected.  I will be curious to see which side the ants prefer long term.

 

DSC07529_zpsnrgzvy6v.jpg
DSC07531_zpsleavpbon.jpg
DSC07528_zpsdkrrmlgr.jpg
DSC07525_zpsxgvy9spn.jpg

 

 

Took a bit of encouragement, but they all moved after a couple of days (July 20, 2015 all were in).

DSC07777_zpsgn6wvy9e.jpg
DSC07779_zpsyywoiqz5.jpg


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

 

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#2 Offline Crystals - Posted July 30 2015 - 11:18 AM

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They are settling in nicely.

I have half of the nest blocked off until the population grows more.

 

The queen always hangs out in the chamber under the waterer where it is darkest.

 

Note to self, for next time, pour a bit of grout on the "steps" leading to the outworld.  Most of these ants do not like to walk up the acrylic.

 

I am noticing a tend, they are piling garbage against the damp chamois cloth on the left side.  They are mostly hanging out in the right chambers where it is humid, but nothing is damp.

There is a gap between the mesh and the grout, so the ants can drink water from the mesh where it touches the sponge, but the grout does not get wet from the water chamber.  So far the Formica seem to prefer this method over the chamois cloth method, although the chamois cloth method helps a lot more with humidity and keeping the grout slightly damp.

 

For now, I am leaving the chamois side drier until the colony grows enough that it removes most of the garbage. 

Then we will see which side they prefer.


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

 

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#3 Offline Crystals - Posted August 21 2015 - 6:57 PM

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Some growth, but not much.

 

Turns out they seem to like those little meat pieces from Friskies cat food.  This was the first (and thus far, only) time I offered them this.  Usually the dog cleans the cats leftovers before I get to them.

 

DSC07838_zpsmr72iqka.jpg


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

 

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#4 Offline Crystals - Posted September 25 2015 - 5:43 PM

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I am not sure what it is with the Formica from the Rocky Mountains.  They never want to hibernate - which is bizarre for Formica.

They are still going with eggs, larvae, and pupae.  I have opened up 2 more chambers for them, but a dozen or so seem to think the one corner of the foraging area is part of their nest.

The thing I dislike most about this setup is that it is very difficult to see the chambers under the outworld.  I may have to plug it one day and see if I can attach the outworld to the one end of the nest.  Other than that, they seem to really like the altered omni nest.

 

DSC07950_zpsfg47zwvo.jpg


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

 

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#5 Offline Nes187 - Posted September 26 2015 - 12:38 PM

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The podzolicas Mel got from you have seemed ready to hibernate for close to 2 months, just hanging out in 1 chamber with not much activity, even with a heat cable added they don't seem to do much, they look fat and seem healthy but no eggs or activity really, would there be any disadvantage to hibernating them now instead of waiting a bit longer?

#6 Offline Crystals - Posted September 26 2015 - 12:44 PM

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If there are no eggs, and their gasters are distended, then there is no harm in hibernating them early.  I always put a piece of paper with the date on the nest when I put them in the fridge, just in case I forget.

That species wants about 3 months of hibernation.


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

 

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#7 Offline Crystals - Posted October 22 2015 - 12:59 PM

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This colony is slowing down drastically.  Only a few large larvae and pupae left.  Getting ready for hibernation.

 

With the alterations I made to the omni nest, they do show a definate preference for the sides with the steel mesh in front of the sponges, as opposed to the chamois cloth running into the grout flooring.

 

They currently have access to all but the last 2 chambers.  I am guessing that there are close to 200 workers.  It is quite difficult to get a good count with that foraging area on top.  I will definately have to see if I can move it when I have an hour or two to fidget around with it.

 

I do like the idea of taking the lid off of a chamber (excellent for cleaning or stealing some brood for a parasitic Formica queen), but I would never put the foraging on top of the nest again.  There has to be a different way to rig it up...


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

 

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#8 Offline Crystals - Posted February 26 2016 - 6:40 PM

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This colony got pulled out of hibernation.  A dozen or so workers died, but everyone else is alive.


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

 

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#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 26 2016 - 9:26 PM

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I checked my hibernating ants the other day, and they all lost a few workers too.



#10 Offline Crystals - Posted February 27 2016 - 11:04 AM

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I find that most colonies over 1 year of age tend to loose a few during hibernation.  I have noticed that low moisture or freezing during hibernation in captivity is the biggest threat though.


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

 

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#11 Offline Crystals - Posted March 10 2016 - 11:57 AM

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I forgot how fast Formica develop.  They already have pupae, and the queen is still producing eggs.

I also have a couple of huge larvae...  I am positive that they are alate larvae.  This will be interesting...


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

 

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#12 Offline Crystals - Posted March 28 2016 - 8:09 AM

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I rearranged the omni nest.  I connected the foraging area to the moving chamber in front.  That was a bit of a pain, since this colony is large enough that some of the workers are dedicated guards and they can move pretty quick.  They did not appreciate me meddling with their nest and foraging area.   I made the renovation inside of a calcium dusted rubbermaid bin to prevent escapees from completely wandering off.

 

Now I can see the entire nest. This is a much better layout with the foraging area in front.

I gave them access to all of the chambers.  Also made a clay ramp to the tunnel in the foraging area.

 

I have about 200 workers, ~80 pupae, ~20 larvae, 3 alate cocoons, and one naked alate pupae.

Some of the workers are newly eclosed.  I didn't even notice the naked alate pupae until I was looking closely at the pictures.  I have never seen a naked Formica alate pupae before.

 

Nest Overview:
DSC08752_zpsiffs5jqi.jpg

 

Pile of Brood:
DSC08754_zpsqdwd6ptd.jpg

 

Alate cocoon beside naked alate pupae:
DSC08758_zpsp9jytfjx.jpg


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#13 Offline Crystals - Posted October 20 2016 - 5:49 PM

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This colony was sold to a good friend of mine.

The nest was half full when it left my care.


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

 

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#14 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted October 20 2016 - 5:58 PM

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Whyyyyyyy???!!! Lol
Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#15 Offline dermy - Posted October 20 2016 - 9:55 PM

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Whyyyyyyy???!!! Lol

When Colonies get really large they take a bit more effort to take care of and some people just don't have time for that many colonies so need to "thin down the collection" so to speak.



#16 Offline Shareallicu - Posted October 28 2016 - 6:54 PM

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Do you still have this colony?  How are they doing?  I have my first queen, a Formica Podzolica!   She is not laying eggs, I think she is waiting until spring maybe, I hope! 

 

I really want her to have a colony :)



#17 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted October 28 2016 - 7:04 PM

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This colony was sold to a good friend of mine.
The nest was half full when it left my care.

Read
Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#18 Offline Crystals - Posted October 29 2016 - 7:27 AM

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Do you still have this colony?  How are they doing?  I have my first queen, a Formica Podzolica!   She is not laying eggs, I think she is waiting until spring maybe, I hope! 

 

I really want her to have a colony :)

I sold this colony some time ago.

Formica podzolica are pretty hardy and easy to raise. They generally require temperatures above 22C (72F) in order to lay eggs. Most of mine lay eggs the same season they flew, although I have had colonies wait until spring.

I found that even though they are fully claustral, that feeding them sugar water and an occasional fruit fly does help the queen as she raises her first batch of brood.


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

 

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#19 Offline Shareallicu - Posted October 30 2016 - 4:12 PM

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Do you still have this colony?  How are they doing?  I have my first queen, a Formica Podzolica!   She is not laying eggs, I think she is waiting until spring maybe, I hope! 

 

I really want her to have a colony :)

I sold this colony some time ago.

Formica podzolica are pretty hardy and easy to raise. They generally require temperatures above 22C (72F) in order to lay eggs. Most of mine lay eggs the same season they flew, although I have had colonies wait until spring.

I found that even though they are fully claustral, that feeding them sugar water and an occasional fruit fly does help the queen as she raises her first batch of brood.

 

Okay, awesome thanks for the advice!  I could always use it since this is my first year taking care of a queen! 



#20 Offline Solenoqueen - Posted October 30 2016 - 9:27 PM

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Haven't heard of Formica podzolica, silly old me.

Your colony is starting pretty strong though, keep up the good ant keeping skills!


Veromessor Pergandei- 4 Queens






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