A few weeks ago towards the beginning of March I had received three colonies from a friend of mine who has been keeping ants for several years. I had always wanted to do so and he had some spare test tube colonies he was encouraging me to try my hands out on. A tetramorium species, a Lasius Neoniger, and a Formica species. The Lasius Neoniger and Formica species had a few nanitic workers and a small section of eggs. The Tetramorium species on the other hand had about 20-30 workers and quite a bit of brood. I'll be starting seperate journals for the lasius and formica species as they develop
Obviously being new there are many mistakes I have already made and probably plenty I will make. The purpose of this journal is to document them as well as possibly receive feedback to help better my care for my ants.
I had kept the tetramorium colony in the test tube for about a week before I began feeling like they should be fed. There was sand in the testtube that my friend had put in to make it a little more comfortable for the ants. I had tried to apply honey to the side and with a combination of likely too much honey and the honey combining with the sand it became a sticky mess. I have no idea to what degree the ants were eating from the honey but later the testtube would become cloudy and after posting on the antkeeper's facebook page it was recommended I move them out of the testtube due to it being likely moldy.
I had bought a small formicarium set up via formica-antfarms for when they got big enough but feeling danger regarding the health of my ants and the mold I decided to move them in about a week ago. I hooked up the testtube to the formicarium and using my office light set them up overnight to move. Turns out it took longer than I had anticipated. It was recommended that I slowly move the light closer to the testtube every few hours. After a few days they moved in. I quickly got rid of the old testtube and set up the formicarium to a small outworld and water setup.
the ants rarely ventured out in the beginning and still don't seem very interested in venturing out. Certain activities I have witnessed included: 1 account of a single worker investigating the water testtube setup and several accounts of ants investigating the outworld set up. I decided to feed them with various protein sources as an experiment. Bloodworm soup was recommended and boiled chicken. Out of the two boiled chicken seems to be their favorite. I am currently experimenting with boiled egg which I have witnessed a few ants going towards but it doesn't seem to be as effective as chicken.
It could also be that I am just straight up overfeeding my ants and it may be hard to accurate readings on what they like.
I had a negative encounter with honey with a couple of workers drowning in it. Through the recommendations of folks on the Antkeeping discord channel I decided to make sugar water at 1:3 sugar to water ratio and soak it in a cotton ball and leave it accessable in the outworld. I have yet to witness ants interacting with it
one particular thing to notice is that most activity involved my ants collecting bits of pebbles from the outworld and blocking up the entrance to the formicarium. this made me quite nervous but from what I've been told this is to help control humidity within the nest and make the ants feel safer so I have nothing to worry about for the mean time.
current population stands near 20-30 workers, a large amount of brood and eggs, limited eating.