Well today was THE day. My Ants Canada Hybrid Nest 2.0 arrived for my Camponotus Novaeboracencis colony.
First, the new nests are great. Not to be a shill or anything, but give credit where its due. I'm currently housing my camponotus colony in a AC hybrid 1.0 (I guess). It sucked from the beginning. It was a very dark brown and I could hardly see my ants. It was small, deep, and hard to attach tubing. Worst of all the bottom mesh was hanging when I received it. Not hanging off but sagging on the bottom. I knew it would be trouble down the line.
Sure enough they chewed through the mesh on the bottom. I could see one hole and they'd get in there with the cotton underneath. I'd occasionally separate the two sections and put in fresh dry cotton so they couldn't dig through. However, when I wet it they'd get in there again. So...time to order a new one.
The new formicarium 2.0 is waaaaaaay bigger. It's nice because whenever I get a new formicarium I think to myself, 'hmm... smaller than I guessed'. Well, this one is 8"x 8" and it really felt like a step up. It's huge. The colour is a nice light beige and so easy to see the ants. The corridors a shallower, wider and the tubing is easily attachable. I'm sure all on here can relate to ants spilling out as you rush to jam your tube into a tight fitting formicarium hoping you don't squish any poor bystanders in the process. The heat cable slides in nicely and because the nest is so large it gives my colony much more room to self regulate. BUT, and most importantly, they took out the mesh! It's so nice and solid and does not feel cheap, like the last one. It doesn't feel like it came from my neighbors 3D printer. It was a great purchase and I'm so pleased with it. Youre so lucky to be in America, cause shipping to canada is too much. I love my ants and hobby though.
So, popped down the new formicarium and easily and quickly attached the tubing from outworld and previous formicarium. Once the heat cable was on so was the move. Puppae started to go first. I was so excited. I was dying to see my queen get ushered through the tube like in AC videos. I patiently but excitedly watched. (I love this stuff!! )
Well as time went on and the nest began to clear I started to look for my queen. Hmm... not in her usual yelling spot, so I took a closer look. I couldn't find her. I looked and looked. Perhaps she was in there under some refuse they stuck to the roof (dirty [censored]. Are ants technically [censored]? Either way no pun intended). She was gone. So I start looking for her body, and I'm thinking I just spent all this money getting this thing here and now my queen is dead . That would be three years down the drain. I love these guys. Nooooooo.
But, in the back of my mind I had a feeling where she might be.....
Two weeks ago the mesh situation got so out of hand that I duct taped the bottom corner with the hole. Did they dig through that again?
I lifted the formicarium off its base, slowly.
BAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! Ants everywhere!!! I mean there was another whole colony jammed under there and bigger ants too. Majors and super majors, brood and pupae and most importantly the Queen . I mean it was black with ants. I had to quickly drop the bottom of the nest into the outworld and ants started running everywhere! It's kinda cool because they didn't scamper all over my desk, yet stayed attached much like a swarm of bees. The move was REALLY on now. Ants were grabbing any eggs pupae and callow workers and rushing them into the new formicarium and low and behold after a few minutes of the queen in full panic she calmed down enough and they ushered her through the tubing and into the new nest. She stopped a couple times and turned around only to be turned back around by workers behind her. One worker even came down the tubing from the new nest and grabbed her jaws and started pulling her towards the new nest. it was awesome. I saw it.
So, the move is almost over. A few stragglers and some really small eggs in the old nest but I'm hoping the go in tonight.
The question is why down in the gunk and wetness of the formicarium was the queen with so many workers? The cotton was soaked and moldy. it smelled. (I have perlite in the base in my new one). Perhaps I need to water this one a bit more, but I thought camponotus prefer a dryer nest. maybe it was warmer down there. Either way I'm gald I lifted the base because they never would have moved out of there. And I'm really glad my queen is okay.
Thoughts, questions and any emotional outburst welcome!
I'm going to clean up and repair the old hybrid nest. It will house my up and coming pennsylvanicus colony (4 nanitcs!). I'll see if I can glue on some wire mesh this time.
PS. If I could only afford a THA 360 nucleus! They look amazing.