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Camponotus decipiens - dominatus' first species kept (Update 6/15/2019 new video)

wild camponotus homemade formicarium formicarium journal

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#1 Offline dominatus - Posted June 6 2019 - 11:36 PM

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May 23rd, 2019: I found an established colony of Camponotus decipiens in a log slated for the burn pile. I was cleaning up parts of the property that had been neglected and just lucked into seeing the queen scurry into a log I broke open by accident. I collected them to spare them from the flames!

I made some posts already since this was my first real attempt at ant keeping.

 

I made this wooden formicarium.

uc?export=download&id=1Hj-bXtoxY24OeoYsu

uc?export=download&id=1UKA_1Kmh4h_30Feqx

 

 

It was too spacious, besides it didn't look that good and I fitted it very poorly, leaving a gap between the wood and glass of the aquarium.

The ants were not impressed either. The queen and most of the colony crammed themselves into the hygrometer I had sitting in the aquarium / out world. Real funny guys, great start for my ant keeping career. 

uc?export=download&id=1-fUyhWEC2pi5Oln48

 

 

So I made a new formicarium that is a much less spacious, and this time made a plexiglass cover. I made legs for the formicarium and it simply sits horizontal in the aquarium / out world.

 

 

uc?export=download&id=103wpqIogy1N6qftg0

 

 

They liked this much better! I put sawdust in half of the formicarium so they can expand as they see fit. I have left holes to insert thermometers and water. I have placed a small under tank heating pad on the underside of the wooden formicarium. It has held one side between 80 and 86 fahrenheit (26-30 celsius) and the other about 70 fahrenheit (21 celsius). They certainly avoid the humidity when I water the holes. I do so only every week or two, just in case they need it.

uc?export=download&id=10AfpZykJ5e8QX4Nc1

 

 

Here above you can see the very first new workers that were born since they were collected!

I don't have the right macro lens or lighting for my camera. I will be trying to fix this sometime this month I hope.

 

In the meantime here is a couple of videos I got using what I have. This is a few weeks after the first new workers were born. There are now SO MANY new workers!!!

 

June 6th, 2019: Videos of colony progress. 

 

 

 

I am so excited to see this growth. I will post a better tour of their world when I get the proper lens, hopefully next week.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this view of these colorful guys.


Edited by dominatus, June 14 2019 - 10:41 PM.

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#2 Offline dominatus - Posted June 7 2019 - 12:12 AM

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Man, it took me like 5 edits to get those videos embedded. I got it figured out though... obviously.


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#3 Offline CatsnAnts - Posted June 7 2019 - 4:21 AM

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Congrats! Looks like a neat colony! :D
5 queen Temnothorax ambiguus (founding)
11 queen Temnothorax curvispinosus (founding)
1 queen Colobopsis mississippiensis (founding)
1 queen Colobopsis impressa (founding)
1 queen Lasius interjectus (with 30 host workers)
x3 1 queen Camponotus subbarbatus (founding)
1 queen Strumigebys pilinasis (colony of about 30 workers)
1 queen Ponera pennsylvanica (founding)
x2 1 queen Pheidole bicarinata (founding)
1 queen Temnothorax curvispinosus (~170 workers) ... also have 2 termite colonies.

#4 Offline dominatus - Posted June 8 2019 - 6:43 PM

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Congrats! Looks like a neat colony! :D

Thank you, they are great I thinks. I hope their numbers continue to grow. :-D Still not sure how I will brumate them in the winter. I don't have a cooler I could dedicate to them...



#5 Offline Acutus - Posted June 8 2019 - 7:54 PM

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Lookin' Good! (y)  (y)


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva


#6 Offline dominatus - Posted June 14 2019 - 10:15 PM

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Update 6/15/2019

 

I have a video of better quality to show the whole setup for my Camponotus decipeins colony. They audio has some bits that are... windy? IDK. I'll try to figure out how to make that not happen, hopefully soon. My apologies. I didn't edit it well, just threw it together. I just wanted to show the setup, nothing fancy.

 

 

So lessons learned from this first setup: Make the entrances on the sides so I can insert tubing or cotton to block them. This formicarium is pretty hard to close up if I want to move it. I think from now on formicariums will just be independent from out worlds and connected by tubing.I have glass cutting tools or I could just lay tubing in from the top and make a slick blockage like I did with the power cord for the heating pad.

 

Good stuff: Having screws for the plexiglass top will allow me to clean the formicarium when the time comes. I liked using the router to make the paths in the wood, very clean. Having the formicarium horizontal means I don't have to worry so much about the shape of the chambers. I realize now a vertical setup really needs horizontally longer or deeper chambers, "higher" chambers doesn't really make more space for the brood or storage areas.

 

I had the honey rock and a small bowl with moist cotton balls before, just today I added the test tubes of sugar water and regular water. I have yet to see them drink from either. I'll wait and see if they figure it out.

 

So yeah, I actually have a second queen. Like I said in the video, I have no idea if she had started a brood or not when I found her. If she had workers then it was no more than 3-5. I hope she makes some more! I just worry she had already started her colony and now she won't have enough stores left to start again. I never see her leave her chamber and I'm really not sure she took any of the honey or fruit flies I put at the entrance. *sigh* I really wish I would have put her in a clear container...

 

I don't know when or if I'll introduce any of the orphaned ants to see if they accept her. If I do it won't be for at least another month, maybe two, after she has her own workers. It won't be but one or two ants at a time.

 

As for the fire ant queens, I don't know. There are two in there raising a brood together. If they successfully get some nanitics I'll decide then. I just know how voracious and fast growing they are and I'm not sure I want to deal with them and their escape artist ways. Wood formicariums by themselves will not do for those guys.

 

How many ants you think are in that main colony? Eggs? Let me know what you think. The colony seems to be thriving, hopefully I don't encounter a big decline like I've read in other journals. I plan on giving them a satellite nest just in case that is something they need. Also I will brumate them, though not sure how yet. I really wish I just had a wine cooler just for my ants, lol.

 

Laters for now!


Edited by dominatus, June 14 2019 - 10:18 PM.


#7 Offline Kahldris - Posted June 15 2019 - 4:31 AM

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That's cool man, I'm no expert but I've heard people say that you could try to refrigerate one of the workers chill her a little to lessen any chance aggression and put one worker in with the queen to see if she'll except the queen.

Maybe one of the more experienced people can chime in if that's a good idea in this case or not.

#8 Offline BeginnerAntKeeper - Posted June 15 2019 - 5:29 AM

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It also helps to leave the satellite(or the colony without a queen) out for a few weeks to dissipate the colony scent. That way the ants on both sides are less likely to realize that they are of opposing colonies due to the satellite not having a distinguishable scent. It does also help to chill the ants to slow them down and test with a worker to see if they will accept the nest(like what Kahldris said)

#9 Offline dominatus - Posted June 15 2019 - 5:51 AM

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Thanks y'all. I'll wait at least another month before I try anything. I mostly just want that queen to do well is all and I worry she had already founded a colony before I came along. I'll definitely keep the progress posted. 🤞

#10 Offline dominatus - Posted June 15 2019 - 6:56 PM

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Had to share a video I just took using a new macro filter set up.... I think I can even get more zoomed in but haven't tried... yet... I think it is super cool :-P

 

 

 


Edited by dominatus, June 15 2019 - 7:24 PM.

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