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Vendayn's Pogonomyrmex californicus (concolorous) journal - 6/20/15


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#1 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 2:30 PM

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So, I went up the river where there are a bunch of Pogonomyrmex californicus nests. In Irvine (Southern California). I actually forgot they flew really recently (like yesterday I think?), and ended up getting lots of queens. All were busy digging nests, except one queen was just running on the road and probably trying to find a place to make a colony. I got a bit too many (nine queens, only had room for five), so I put the remaining queens into my garden. Maybe they'll make a colony there and there will be Pogonomyrmex around.

 

The other five queens I put all into their own containers. I boosted them all with the same species of brood. Mostly pupae, and some larvae. It might not be as fun/rewarding to start with boosted brood. But, I want successful colony(ies) which is far more important to me, so each queen got some brood. One queen got callow ants.

 

I put one queen into Drew's formicarium I bought from him. And actually, this queen is the least aggressive queens I got out of the five. Probably the least aggressive Pogonomyrmex californicus queen I've encountered. I put 3-4 callow ants (must have eclosed recently as they didn't have their red color) and they accepted each other right away. Maybe the queen came from the same colony by chance or something. Still doesn't even act aggressive toward me. I did try putting a callow ant with another queen, but she is far more aggressive and wasn't having any of it. All five accepted the brood I gave them, however.

 

In total, I gave around 20-30 pupae to the queens, and 10 or so larvae. I didn't really count to be honest as I was too focused on transfering the brood without injuring them to each queen. The queen in Drew's formicarium got the most brood+the callow ants. The others all got around 5-8 pupae and 1-3 larvae.


Edited by Vendayn, June 20 2015 - 9:59 PM.


#2 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 2:34 PM

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If all five end up having big colonies, I might have to give/trade/sell them or find a place to release them. I'd barely have room for two big Pogonomyrmex colonies. :P Since I boosted all of them, they all have a much bigger chance of success too.



#3 Offline Foogoo - Posted May 31 2015 - 2:38 PM

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Did you boost all of them? Did they settle down once you introduced the brood? Mine are on day 2 and still nowhere close to settling down.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#4 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 2:47 PM

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I never had an issue with Pogonomyrmex settling down, even without boosting them. All I give them is a container filled with sand (in the past I tried mixing dirt in the sand, but they don't like that), and I put some water on the sand (so it hardens) before putting the queens in and they dig right away. With that said, one queen hasn't really done any digging yet. If she is like the other stubborn queens I occasionally get, she'll probably dig over night. The other three started digging right away. The queen in Drew's formicarium I had to kind of "force" her down into the hole leading into the ant farm, but after that she was pretty calm. She probably would have gone down eventually, but heh. I did add a bit of sand to his formicarium though, just in the foraging area so they have something to dig with.

 

But, yeah. I boosted all five with various amounts. And, all five queens started caring for the pupae/larvae pretty much as soon as they found it (even the stubborn one).  Its the first time I actually boosted Pogonomyrmex actually. I never found brood near the surface before in any nests, usually they dig down too deep and I'm not really interested in getting stung by them (again) lol.

 

What are you keeping your queens in?



#5 Offline Foogoo - Posted May 31 2015 - 2:59 PM

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Got any pictures of your setup? All of mine are in test tubes. I tried placing a few in dirt or coconut coir containers yesterday but they equally haven't settled down. They're all covered with a towel too...


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#6 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 3:02 PM

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Yeah, let me take some (they won't be the best quality pictures, my phone's camera sucks). They are in just a basic setup of containers with sand (I got the sand from where I found the queens, which I always done in the past...that might be a part of it). Only one that is different is the one in Drew's formicarium.

 

It might also be the test tubes, Pogonomyrmex don't tend to like them as much (I've seen people have success with them though). Mostly, from what I've noticed, they prefer sand setups. They don't really like dirt either that much, even when mixed with sand.

 

I'll get the pictures uploaded as soon as I can. Probably be 1-2 hours.



#7 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 3:21 PM

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Just a couple quickly taken pictures. My phone doesn't really take that good of ones to spend too much time with. I didn't add too much sand either, as you may notice in the pictures, as I find a lesser amount of smaller colonies is better. I cooked the sand as well, that way no mold or mites or anything show up.

 

His formicarium was a lot cleaner before putting the ants in, and I even washed it with soap/water and a scrubby brush earlier today. But, ah well. The ants like it. :P

 

Spoiler

Edited by Vendayn, May 31 2015 - 3:21 PM.


#8 Offline Bardusquus - Posted May 31 2015 - 4:42 PM

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Add pictures of the ants



#9 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 4:49 PM

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My phone can't really take pictures of the ants that well. Comes out a blurry mess and I don't have money for a new camera (my last one broke when we moved). Maybe I can get some pictures of ants from Drew's formicarium, since its more clear and open. But, my phone's camera is fail. Its 6mm lens or something, but my old flip phone took better pictures than my android does and it had the same size camera lens. My android is lame as far as taking pictures go lol.


Edited by Vendayn, May 31 2015 - 4:49 PM.


#10 Offline Vendayn - Posted May 31 2015 - 7:47 PM

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The 5th queen (I'll probably name them all, so its easier to remember which ones I'm talking about.) in the formicarium has settled in nicely tonight. Except, I had to the heat lamp a bit too close (I can't really put it any further) and almost lost the three callows I gave her. I had it same distance as the last Pogonomyrmex colony, except they had the chance to go to the bottom to hide behind the lid. Luckily I got to it in time and turned the lamp off. The callows quickly made a recovery and its all good.

 

One queen ignored most of the brood I gave her, except most of the pupae, she always keeps with her like some kind of "treasure". :P So I moved the brood she ignored (two pupae and the two larvae) and gave it to the 5th queen.

 

All the queens in the substrate nests, except the stubborn one have already dug in and disappeared. She is pretty calm, but hasn't done much. All seem to have accepted the brood just fine however. Some of the pupae are close to eclosing, so all the queens (and the 5th will get even more as she has the three callows I gave her) should get workers rather quickly.



#11 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 1 2015 - 4:21 PM

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I got a sixth queen today. I also saved a small-medium Pogonomyrmex californicus colony (probably from last years flight). They were barricaded under a rock and a very large Argentine ant colony was invading them...the Argentine ants got flooded out down by the river and guess went to higher ground. It also appears these colonies didn't produce many alates, as there wasn't really that many new queens making colonies. I pretty much got them all, thinking there was a lot more. I think the Argentine ants kill the queens a lot, and make the mature colonies produce less alates. Rather sad. :( They fail at invading mature Pogonomyrmex colonies, but they pick on the queens and smaller colonies.

 

I won't be giving the colony away, however. I will be putting them in front of my apartment building, where there are Brachymyrmex and Dorymyrmex bicolor.

 

As for the sixth queen, she'll be the only one out of the siz queens, I won't be boosting. Since I boosted all the other queens, I figured I'd see if she can't be successful at starting a colony by herself.



#12 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 3 2015 - 12:03 PM

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I ended up keeping the colony. In the future, I might put a colony outside my apartment unit. But, I want to see how they all do first and get them to have more numbers of ants.

 

The colony is actually a bit small though, only around 20 ants. But, they should be able to grow a lot more as I'll give them more food than they have access to by the river (mostly because Argentine ants really limit most of the colonies out there). Also, one of the pupae I gave to the new queen I got (decided to help her out a bit) has eclosed, so she has one worker now. The queen in the formicarium lost a worker for some reason, but she still has a lot of pupae and two workers helping her out that are really healthy. The other queens have settled in, and still taking care of the brood I gave them.



#13 Offline PTAntFan - Posted June 3 2015 - 6:54 PM

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So you just have them in soil in jars?  I am worried my Pogonomyrmex won't do well in test tubes.  They don't seem to calm down.


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#14 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 3 2015 - 6:56 PM

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Yeah, all of them are in containers with substrate. The queen that took the longest to settle in took only a day or so.



#15 Offline Foogoo - Posted June 4 2015 - 7:34 AM

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So you just have them in soil in jars?  I am worried my Pogonomyrmex won't do well in test tubes.  They don't seem to calm down.

I filled the tubes of the ones that didn't have eggs or ate their eggs with dirt/sand by Chromerust's suggestion. So far most of them seem happier, having dug into it.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#16 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 8 2015 - 4:29 PM

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The queen in Drew's formicarium has laid a lot of eggs already. If I recall, my last queen in Drew's formicarium did the same. It seems his formicarium, Pogonomyrmex really like. I think its because it maintains better moisture control. I took a peak, and she has one pile of around 15 eggs, another pile of about 7 eggs and a smaller pile with a few eggs. She also still has three workers, who are very healthy (the initial three that eclosed died, as they were too weak for some reason). One worker is definitely from a mature colony, as she is really big. She still has a bunch of pupae too, and I imagine they'll be just as healthy.

 

Two queens (one with a worker, the other without) I gave to my neighbor, who is going to raise them. The colony I had with a lot of workers+the queen, I ended up putting outside. I put them near a Dorymyrmex bicolor colony and Brachymyrmex colonies, for some protection against any Argentine ants.

 

So, in the end I have three remaining queens. Two with workers, and one just has a bunch of pupae still.



#17 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 9 2015 - 9:55 PM

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I got a new colony of Pogonomyrmex. The colony has two queens, so I'll see what happens with that. I got the original queen from the mature colony (I didn't actually mean to, I'll have to go back and get the other workers), and the second queen I found digging a new nest. They chose their locations in the ant farm, but thus far there is no aggression at all and it has been 6-7 hours since I put them in together. Even the newly mated queen, was accepted right away by the workers from the mature colony.

 

In total, two queens and over 50 workers.



#18 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 10 2015 - 9:23 PM

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I now have a six queened Pogonomyrmex californicus colony, and possibly a seventh if the winged female has mated (and never took off the wings). For now, I just assume six.

 

This will be a very interesting colony, to see if them having more queens means a much bigger colony than normal.



#19 Offline Vendayn - Posted June 11 2015 - 11:29 AM

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Well, seems it all worked out. The queens are together, and still no aggression. Supposedly, in local populations, Pogonomyrmex californicus can be polygynous. So, guess I live in an area where this is true.

 

I wonder how big a six queened Pogonomyrmex californicus colony will get. :P I imagine it will probably end up being a lot bigger than normal because more queens.



#20 Offline PTAntFan - Posted June 11 2015 - 12:14 PM

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What is the sand you referred to above? Is it store bought?

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