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02-05-2019 - Lisberg's Camponotus Barbaricus

camponotus barbaricus camponotus barbaricus

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#1 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 12 2019 - 1:40 PM

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Lisberg's Wonder Ants

 

 

So today, i received my new ants from "skocko76". The trip from Croatia to Denmark took about 4 days, and no ants were lost in transit.

I've been waiting for an opportunity as Camponotus Barbaricus for a long time - and the small colony i received is beautiful.

 

 

But before i show them off, i want to show you how i went about, making a formicarium:

 

First of all, i wanted give my ants the most natural setup.. this means in time, i want to move them to an aquarium and let them live their lives there. To start with a man-made home should be sufficient.

 

So step 1; Material.

 

I went out to buy a Bauroc stone, the price is fairly low at roughly 4$. Its make of a type of concrete that is bio-friendly, non-toxic and non-acidic. Also is possible to dig out with powerless tools, but not so soft that the ants can dig in it.

 

P 20190409 122848

 

 

I was searching for data and research-papers on the why their nest in nature looks, but failed, so,... i made my best effort to make it life-like until their move into the aqaurium.

After a few hours the Bauroc looked like this;

 

P 20190412 134531

 


Edited by Lisberg, May 2 2019 - 10:39 AM.

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#2 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 12 2019 - 3:00 PM

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Is this available in the U.S.?

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Ants I've found (in TN) : Aphaenogaster rudis, Aphaenogaster tenneseenis, Brahcyponera chinesis, Camponotus subbarbatus, Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus snellingi, Crematogaster ashmeadi, Crematogaster lineolata, Crematogaster cerasi, all Temnothorax spp., Solenopsis invicta, Solenopsis xyloni, Stigmatomma pallipes, all Strumigenys spp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#3 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 13 2019 - 12:20 AM

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Is this available in the U.S.?

I'm afraid not, as far as i know, the building techniques in the US and northern Europe is very different. These blocks are normally used to make the supporting part of walls inside the house. 

You might be able to find something like it, in cold parts of the US, where German or Scandinavian minorities build houses like in Europe. 

It's kinda heavy, so importing it from Europe might be a rather expensive mission, but if you buy a container and sell them in the US, you might break even. 
They cost 4$ a piece in Denmark, and that's retail, when you buy in bulk, the price is more like 1$. The size of a block is 10x40x60 cm.


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#4 Offline Rstheant - Posted April 13 2019 - 11:02 AM

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Kind of like Y-tong, am I right?

#5 Offline Serafine - Posted April 13 2019 - 12:10 PM

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Unless your colony is already huge you will not need the nest any time soon. This was my colony after a full year (around a week or so before they moved into their first nest):

I had changed their tube just once to a 30x200mm tube as the tiny one they came in ran dry. (They actually have quite a few pupae more than you can see on the pic, most of them are in the plastic straw.)

 

These ants have a slow initial growth and should be kept in a test tube until they have at least 40-50 workers, otherwise they will immediately start filling the nest with garbage you can't really dispose of unless you remove the entire colony from the nest.

But don't worry, they will really pick up development speed later on, you are definitely going to need all your nests, just don't rush it.


Edited by Serafine, April 13 2019 - 12:12 PM.

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#6 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 13 2019 - 12:53 PM

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Kind of like Y-tong, am I right?

 

Yes, the big difference its ability to hold water, and its harder than Y-tong :)

 

 

 

Unless your colony is already huge you will not need the nest any time soon. This was my colony after a full year (around a week or so before they moved into their first nest):

I had changed their tube just once to a 30x200mm tube as the tiny one they came in ran dry. (They actually have quite a few pupae more than you can see on the pic, most of them are in the plastic straw.)

 

These ants have a slow initial growth and should be kept in a test tube until they have at least 40-50 workers, otherwise they will immediately start filling the nest with garbage you can't really dispose of unless you remove the entire colony from the nest.

But don't worry, they will really pick up development speed later on, you are definitely going to need all your nests, just don't rush it.

 

The Colony is one i've bought with around 70 workers so it's a fine size.
for now, i'll let them live in their temporary outworld and tubes. In my next update, i'll show you, how the nest is going to end out, and should reduce the risk of a landfill in the nest-brick :)



#7 Offline Serafine - Posted April 13 2019 - 2:10 PM

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Yes, 70 ants should be fine (y)
 
Looking forward to see them in this nest. Don't forget to wash it after carving out the chambers :)
 
 

I was searching for data and research-papers on the why their nest in nature looks, but failed, so,... i made my best effort to make it life-like until their move into the aqaurium.

Camponotus often carve nest into wood, most of the time their nests seem to consist of long interconnected tube-like chambers (this allows for a super efficient Ytong nest design).
I guess their underground nests look kinda similar but probably with a bit thicker walls for added stability.






Edited by Serafine, April 13 2019 - 2:13 PM.

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#8 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 13 2019 - 11:49 PM

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Thanks Serafine, and thanks for the knowledge about the Camponotus nest - in the future, i think i'll build a nest in slate :)

After carving out the nestrooms, i made a reservoir. There is a slope from the "road" and into the square reservoir. The reservoir will be packed with cotton, so that it can hold onto the water, and let some of it travel through the Bauroc.

P 20190412 132405
 
I've installed a fosset lock, so that the ants IF they breach the cotton barrier, then they are denied the entrance to what is my outworld ;)
It also gives me a easy way to inject water without disturbing the nest.
P 20190412 132412
 
 
When the reservoir was done, and the fossetlock, was secured, i proceeded to fill the rooms with sand/gravel. It is normally used in a aquarium where i keep Channa-fish. It is washed and free of everything that isn't natural. 
P 20190412 204003
 
 
I chose to leave one room unfilled, to hopefully give them an "easy" choice for their new home :)
P 20190412 204739
 
 
I appreciate the response  to my journal :) also all advises are welcome ! 

Edited by Lisberg, April 13 2019 - 11:50 PM.

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#9 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 19 2019 - 1:43 PM

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After reading a lot, and watching some of the videos on youtube i decided that the Bautec stone habitat, would be better suited for my messor capitatus, so i went a different way..

 

 

First of all, for the last 15 years i've been a fishkeeper, and i've kept al kinds of fish, mostly Chameleon-fish and Snakeheadfish, so ants is a rather new but interesting thing. I took one of my old aquariums, and cleaned it. 

Gone was the algae, calcium and the gravel. In came the earth from my garden. (i am aware that this could pose a danger to my ants, do to deceases and so on, but i think they will overcome it, as they would in nature).

 

After adding a heating mat, to one side of the aquarium, i made sure to give the soil some moisture, and then adding some old wood and some stones.

 

On the left side, the earth slopes and is covering the heating mat stuck to the glass.

P 20190419 120611
 
Then it was time for my colony to see their new home, nest and outworld in one.
P 20190419 120851

 

I hoped they would go down the hole i'd made for them, so that the nest would be as far to one side as possible, so that the aquarium would feel bigger. This looked like it was going to work for a long time. The smallest workers dug down and two majors stood guard.

 

P 20190419 123628

 

 

 

One thing i did notice, was after reading a lot, most people find these ants careful, and nocturnal... Mine are active during the day, but if look at them during nighttime, they are not on the surface...

The queen was one of the first to leave the test tubes, and look around for her new castle. -  she went to the digging site, and apparently didn't like it. So she found a hole in some of the wood, and 20 seconds after she vanish in there, the entire colony found her an brought her the eggs and brood. isn't she beautiful.

 

P 20190419 123426
 
 


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#10 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:30 AM

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My worst nightmare has become true... This morning i saw that 1 of Formica Rufa that i brought home yesterday, had escaped the testtube, and had entered my Camponotus Barbaricus tank....

How do i know that?.. Well, they have set camp in a piece of wood, and normally there is very busy near the entrance, but today there where no ants.. So i took my little flashlight, and look through the opening and saw this  :sore:

 

 

 

I tried to reach it with a tweezers, but the vision is too bad, and can't really reach.... It look very aggressive, and that is understandable, since i stole it from its home and queen....

This is my first ant colony, is there any chance that they can overcome this ant by themselves ??...  :facepalm:


Edited by Lisberg, April 21 2019 - 4:35 AM.


#11 Offline Serafine - Posted April 21 2019 - 5:17 AM

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Um... that Camponotus barbaricus media (or maybe small major) just obliterated that Formica rufa (or whatever it was, it looks like an ant but I can't see enough of it to confirm any ID), there's nothing to worry about (a 70 worker Camponotus colony should have zero issues dealing with a single F. rufa queen, they shouldn't even have an issue dealing with an amount of workers similar to their own colony size). It's just more food for the colony.
(Also this vid might explain why C. barbaricus often produces medium-sized workers with large heads early on - they're obviously much better at dealing with intruders than the small-headed minors)

Btw, don't you have a lid?

 

 

 

p.s.


Edited by Serafine, April 21 2019 - 5:35 AM.

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#12 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 21 2019 - 5:34 AM

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Um... that Camponotus barbaricus media (or maybe small major) just obliterated that Formica rufa (or whatever it was, it looks ike an ant but I can't see enough of it to confirm any ID), there's nothing to worry about (a 70 worker Camponotus colony should have zero issues dealing with a single F. rufa queen, they shouldn't even have an issue dealing with an amount of workers similar to their own colony size). It's just more food for the colony.
(Also this vid might explain why C. barbaricus often produces medium-sized workers with large heads early on - they're obviously much better at dealing with intruders than the small-headed minors).

Btw, don't you have a lid?

 

 

The ant in the video is the Formica Rufa worker - i brought it home with some pupea for my Formica Pratensis... My C. Barbaricus has two small majors, but i havent been able to observe them go for the Rufa.. ant it has now disappeared down the C. Barbaricus nest :( ..

Nope, wild ants isn't a problem where i live, so i use a babypowder barrier (on the inside).. might put a fine layer on the outside. 

 

 

 

Edit:

 

Oooh so the one i thought was the Rufa, was a small major of C. Barbaricus, and in the beginning it made the bulldog killing thing!!! ... pheew I'm a total noob... 


Edited by Lisberg, April 21 2019 - 6:45 AM.


#13 Offline Serafine - Posted April 21 2019 - 2:53 PM

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The ant in the video is the Formica Rufa worker - i brought it home with some pupea for my Formica Pratensis... My C. Barbaricus has two small majors, but i havent been able to observe them go for the Rufa.. ant it has now disappeared down the C. Barbaricus nest :( ..

The ant in the video is clearly a Camponotus, just look at it's sloped back (Formica have two humps).

Usually Camponotus majors have little problems dealing with Formica workers unless they come in completely overwhelming numbers, so I wouldn't worry. Whatever that small major was fighting I'm pretty sure it did a very good job at murdering it (y)


Edited by Serafine, April 21 2019 - 2:55 PM.

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#14 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 21 2019 - 4:44 PM

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The ant in the video is the Formica Rufa worker - i brought it home with some pupea for my Formica Pratensis... My C. Barbaricus has two small majors, but i havent been able to observe them go for the Rufa.. ant it has now disappeared down the C. Barbaricus nest :( ..

The ant in the video is clearly a Camponotus, just look at it's sloped back (Formica have two humps).
Usually Camponotus majors have little problems dealing with Formica workers unless they come in completely overwhelming numbers, so I wouldn't worry. Whatever that small major was fighting I'm pretty sure it did a very good job at murdering it (y)

Don't worry. Like @Serafine said, Camponotus can deal with Formica really well, until an entire colony of several thousand come their way. Camponotus have strength, Formica have numbers.

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Aphaenogaster rudis

 

Aphaenogater tenneseenis                      Ant_Dude2908's Antkeeping Supply Shop                    Tennessee Anting Thread

 

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Camponotus chromaiodes

 

Crematogaster ashmeadi

 

 

 

Ants I've found (in TN) : Aphaenogaster rudis, Aphaenogaster tenneseenis, Brahcyponera chinesis, Camponotus subbarbatus, Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus snellingi, Crematogaster ashmeadi, Crematogaster lineolata, Crematogaster cerasi, all Temnothorax spp., Solenopsis invicta, Solenopsis xyloni, Stigmatomma pallipes, all Strumigenys spp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#15 Offline Barristan - Posted April 22 2019 - 1:18 AM

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Smaller Camponotus species like Camponotus lateralis are harder to distinguish from Formica, since their profile looks similar. This is a picture of a Camponotus lateralis worker:

 

antweb1038013_p_1_high.jpg



#16 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 22 2019 - 4:00 AM

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So after yesterdays scare with the intruding F. Rufa, i went outside, to find some new inhabitants of the tank. 

The summer has shown itself in Denmark the last few days with temperatures of 20 C. This means that Aphids hatch and start to infest my apple trees 

 - So i took some of the early leafs where i found a colony of aphids, thanks to an army of ladybugs who were looking for food !

 

The ants reacted to this in a very positive way. 

 

 

I'll be looking for another plant to insert into the tank, for more aphids. 

 

Their tank as it looks today 

 

Tank 22-04-2019

 

After the Rufa entered their nest, they actually moved their queen and brood from inside the log, to under it, on the opposite site of the my view. (will turn the tank so heading back is turned towards the wall.. so i have 3 sides to look from. 

I've so far not regretted getting this species of ant - it is so Graceful, Elegant and active - the small workers looks so frail, while be bigger majors looks like brutes. 

 

And the way they build their nest, and tireless effort to improve is outstanding. 

This movie captures it all in my opinion. 

 


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#17 Offline Lisberg - Posted April 27 2019 - 12:57 PM

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For some reason, by ants like to move around.. they lived under the log for 3 days, and then decided to move into the earthen hill against the heating pad. This gave me an opportunity to count eggs, pupae etc. So far i counted the total living beings (eggs included), around the 100. 

 

One thing i was amazed about was how much energy they put into making their nest - and was a bit puzzled that they made so many entrance points to the nest.

 

InkedP 20190424 152230 LI

 

As shown on the image they made 4 entrances, two up the hill, and two down the hill.. So i thought to myself "Might this be a way of ventilating the nest?".. Still I'm not sure, because as shown in the next photo, the two entrances up the hill, are so close to each other, but seems to run opposite ways.

 

InkedP 20190424 152217 001 LI

 

They are very active during both day and night, but they don't seems to eating a lot, they won't touch sugar water, honey, and does rarely eat any mealworms. 

 

P 20190425 202414
 
Here i did catch one if the smaller workers eating a bit, but they don't really swarm the food they are presented with. Maybe they have figured out how to get the Honeydew from the Aphids in the outworld, but i haven't observed it yet. 
 
 
Ooh and i got a photo of one of the majors :)
 
P 20190424 153203

 

 


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#18 Offline Lisberg - Posted May 2 2019 - 10:38 AM

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So it has been something of a rollercoaster, the other morning, i found my queen wondering around the tank, with two small ants behind her... Being new to anting, i still found this behavior strange and spend most of an hour watching there every movement - It looked like she was searching for something or someone (I'm not sure if ants has personal relationships). 

But after 2 hours they all went back inside their underground nest.. Then 15-20 minutes later, about 7 ants walked out of the nest in line and took the exact same path as the queen, until they came to a specific rock - here they began to dig, and here 40 hours later, they are still digging. 

 

P 20190502 192108
P 20190502 192119
 
 
It looks like the queen went looking for a new place to nest, and between the log, and the rock has been picked out as the perfect spot. 
Can anyone confirm that this behavior is normal or unusual?.

 


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