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Diagnosis? My Camponotus floridanus are having seizures and dying

seizures

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18 replies to this topic

#1 Offline MrKotter - Posted September 5 2019 - 5:20 PM

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I'm hoping someone can give me an idea what is happening here. I have 9 Camponotus floridanus queens, each with between 4-8 workers. Yesterday, a worker from Colony #7 went into seizures/spasms and died after a few hours. Today 3 more are also having spasms from the same colony. The others are all doing well.

 

The only thing different about this colony from the other 8 is the formicarium. The others are in tubs and tubes, but this one is in a plexiglass formicarium that I ordered off the internet. They have been in here for a couple of weeks and seemed to be doing quite well until now. They have been eating cockroach legs, mealworms and honey water. All colonies have received the same and none have died.

 

 

Any clue as to what this is? My first thought was poison, but why only this one? It is almost entirely enclosed while the others are in tubs without lids so something in the air should have gotten them first.

 

Help!


Edited by MrKotter, September 5 2019 - 5:20 PM.

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#2 Offline Manitobant - Posted September 5 2019 - 5:36 PM

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Many people have been having this same problem. I dunno what it is but it seems to mostly affect camponotus.
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#3 Offline ponerinecat - Posted September 5 2019 - 5:41 PM

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happens with mine early on


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#4 Offline MrPurpleB - Posted September 5 2019 - 5:49 PM

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Now that you mention it. I had two colonies of C.Vicinus with a couple of workers. I left for a few days. Most of the workers were gone except for one or two. I did see one worker die with spasms or uncontrollable shaking. I don't know how the other ants died. The queen possibly "ate" the ant or tore it up for disposal. I have a third C.Vicinus queen with no workers so not sure if her colony would also be impacted. My Crematogaster just had two workers no issues.
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#5 Offline SuperFrank - Posted September 6 2019 - 5:12 AM

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I personally have never experienced this issue with C floridanus, they are quite an aggressive species though and are very quick to spray formic acid, perhaps they are poisoning themselves in the plastic formicarium? They also could have parasites of some kind.
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#6 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted September 6 2019 - 5:12 AM

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I've heard of this with Camponotus chromaiodes too. My guess for this case would be formic acid poisoning. Is the floor of the nest just smooth Plexiglas?

#7 Offline Amazant - Posted September 6 2019 - 1:41 PM

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Happened to me with a lasius species, having awful luck with camponotus, caught three queens and none were fertile.
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Colonies:
Tetramorium
Formica Subsericea
Crematogaster laeviuscula

Founding:
Crematogaster laeviuscula

Coming Soon:
Formica pallidefulva

#8 Offline drtrmiller - Posted September 6 2019 - 1:49 PM

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Many commercial insecticides affect the nervous system of insects, causing paralysis, which presents precisely as in your videos.

 

My best guess would be one of the cockroaches you fed had been contaminated with insecticide.  Is this possible?


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#9 Offline MrKotter - Posted September 6 2019 - 5:14 PM

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Many commercial insecticides affect the nervous system of insects, causing paralysis, which presents precisely as in your videos.

 

My best guess would be one of the cockroaches you fed had been contaminated with insecticide.  Is this possible?

It is possible and that's what it appeared to me as well.  However, I almost never give an entire roach to one of these small colonies.  I typically split them up between multiple so would have expected more than one colony to get sick.  I just ordered a bunch of discoid roaches to be on the safe side. 



#10 Offline MrKotter - Posted September 6 2019 - 5:16 PM

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Happened to me with a lasius species, having awful luck with camponotus, caught three queens and none were fertile.

we got lucky with 9/9 being fertile.  If you were in Tampa, I'd give you one :(



#11 Offline MrKotter - Posted September 6 2019 - 5:18 PM

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I've heard of this with Camponotus chromaiodes too. My guess for this case would be formic acid poisoning. Is the floor of the nest just smooth Plexiglas?

Yep, just plexiglass.  There is a water chamber at the side with a rubber stopper and a mat that holds it.  They were using those areas to keep the pupae for some reason.  I would assume it too wet, but they liked it.  At first, I thought it might be something in that material that was toxic.  Either way I retired that piece of crap permanently. 



#12 Offline gcsnelling - Posted September 7 2019 - 5:28 AM

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You might also consider the honey as a possible source of poisoning. In the past I have had a 100 percent fail rate when feeding honey.


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#13 Offline ForestDragon - Posted September 7 2019 - 6:10 AM

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Yeah honey could also be exposed to insecticides, I have had some colonies fail due to this but I have some organic, maui honey which I just started using again but there have been similar things going on, are these colonies heated? 



#14 Offline MrKotter - Posted September 7 2019 - 10:14 AM

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Yeah honey could also be exposed to insecticides, I have had some colonies fail due to this but I have some organic, maui honey which I just started using again but there have been similar things going on, are these colonies heated? 

I never considered the honey.  They've been getting honey from same bottle the last few months, but anything's possible.  I have heaters, but don't use them...in Florida and they're kept in garage so pretty humid and warm already.



#15 Offline AntsDakota - Posted September 7 2019 - 11:50 AM

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 it seems to mostly affect camponotus.

Then if they're pesticides they don't do a very good job...


Edited by AntsDakota, September 7 2019 - 11:50 AM.

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"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version

 

 


#16 Offline Shifty189 - Posted September 9 2019 - 4:16 PM

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My best guess is the nest you’re keeping them in. Some from China have a chemical they treat the plastic with before shipping that can do this to ants. I have heard you can rinse the nest out with vinegar and water to clean the chemical off.

I would move them ASAP!

Edited by Shifty189, September 9 2019 - 4:17 PM.

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#17 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted September 10 2019 - 10:19 PM

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Acrylic nests are just not suitable for Camponotus, dare I say ALL formicinae ants. It could have been any of the aforementioned things, but formic acid poisoning from usage of formicariums made of materials with poor absorbance is definitely another possibility.

Live and learn! If you could transfer them to a nest made of a more absorbent and natural material they could very well recover :). Also consider switching away from honey and confirming your food doesn't have any toxins in it.
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#18 Offline MrPurpleB - Posted September 10 2019 - 10:44 PM

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I mentioned before my C.Vicinus also dying. One of the colonies gained a new worker. I do hope this time the workers don't die. Similarly, I hope you find success in your colony.

#19 Offline MrKotter - Posted September 11 2019 - 4:59 AM

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I mentioned before my C.Vicinus also dying. One of the colonies gained a new worker. I do hope this time the workers don't die. Similarly, I hope you find success in your colony.

Glad to hear your colony is bouncing back, MrPurpleB.  Mine hasn't produced any new workers, but the queen and the remaining 3 workers seem to be stable now and are tending brood in their new tub.  On the positive side, the other 9 Camponotus Floridanus colonies are doing well and all up to 9-10 workers.  I also have 2 Brachymyrmex patagonicus colonies with 15 or so workers each and 2 Solenopsis Invicta colonies with several hundred workers.  I was afraid it would spread to these other colonies (who ate the same food), but so far no problems.  


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