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First time lasius niger keeper.

lasius niger beginner

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Boah - Posted May 22 2016 - 5:47 AM

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Hi all, 

 

Just got my first formicarium and introduced a Lasius Niger Queen and about 20 workers. Really interested to learn more about their behaviour and how to look after them properly. All the care sheets I can find are really basic, what they eat, what temperature they like etc, if anyone has advanced knowledge that they wouldn't mind sharing, or some recommended reading, that would be really appreciated! 

 

Thanks, 

 

B

 



#2 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 22 2016 - 5:50 AM

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...if anyone has advanced knowledge that they wouldn't mind sharing...


Could you be more specific about the type of information you're seeking?  Lots of specific questions can be answered by Googling.  Beyond the basic care you mentioned, there is little that most antkeepers need to be able to keep such a forgiving species.



#3 Offline Boah - Posted May 22 2016 - 6:45 AM

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Hi Terry, 

 

I'm actually using a Byformica GrowTube & outworld, so thank you! 

 

I'm basically a total novice so am looking to get as much information as I can. Ideally what I was looking for was a detailed document about lasius niger behaviour; social & communicative behaviour, feeding behaviour, good signs, warning signs etc, without having to dig through a load of scientific journals where each paper generally centres on a very specific part of the behavior. 

 

Also, the workers started to pile loose elements in the entrance to the GrowTube, I added a tiny bit more soil /sand to see what they would do. They outlined the entire entrance tube which was cool, but they've also piled quite a bit on top of the hydration element (connected to the reservoir) in the central chamber which the queen and brood are housed in. Will this affect it's ability to keep the area humid? How exactly does the humidity system work? Do they drink from the three elements connected to the two reservoirs in the GrowTube, or do they also need other access to water? I have a liquid feeder with Sunburst in there, do they also need access to regular water? (And if so does it have to be distilled?).

 

How often do I need to reapply fluon? 

 

Also, are you still selling the blue ant food formula?

 

Sorry for the bombardment! 

 

Thanks!



#4 Offline Boah - Posted May 22 2016 - 7:08 AM

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Also, lots of people say to freeze insects before feeding. I've been dipping them in boiling water, are the effects exactly the same? I would imagine so, but on a lot of forums is specifically says to freeze and doesn't offer boiling as an alternative. 

 

Thanks, 

B



#5 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 22 2016 - 12:19 PM

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Boiling should work just fine. I think that would actually sterilize more than freezing.



#6 Offline Roachant - Posted May 22 2016 - 12:49 PM

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What little knowledge I have I can share.
They are easy to keep, meaning once they are settled in their enclosure, they don't need any specialized care in regards to food or water. They like their nests a little warm, especially for their larvae.
Be careful though, they are escape artists! Mi e were able to walk over Fluoron so be weary about that.
Oh, they run very very fast so be careful when doing maintenance.
Good luck!

#7 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 22 2016 - 4:40 PM

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They like their nests a little warm, especially for their larvae.
Be careful though, they are escape artists! Mi e were able to walk over Fluoron so be weary about that.

 

Keep in mind, warmth is relative, especially when you're talking about ants in Quebec.  I would not keep Lasius niger in captivity any higher than 25-26 C, as the northern ones are especially well-suited to cooler temperatures and room temperature should not hinder development.

As for Fluon—are you sure it was properly applied?  I never experienced that issue.

 

 

Also, the workers started to pile loose elements in the entrance to the GrowTube, I added a tiny bit more soil /sand to see what they would do. They outlined the entire entrance tube which was cool, but they've also piled quite a bit on top of the hydration element (connected to the reservoir) in the central chamber which the queen and brood are housed in. Will this affect it's ability to keep the area humid? How exactly does the humidity system work? Do they drink from the three elements connected to the two reservoirs in the GrowTube, or do they also need other access to water? I have a liquid feeder with Sunburst in there, do they also need access to regular water? (And if so does it have to be distilled?).

 

How often do I need to reapply fluon? 

 

Also, are you still selling the blue ant food formula?

  • Additional substrate for this species is usually unnecessary.  The little loose substrate already available in that formicarium should be sufficient.  I can think of no reason what you did would cause any harm, however.  It may make them feel more secure in their environment to have some control of the shape of the nest, and especially the size and number of entrances, for such small ants.
  • You may alternate between Sunburst and water—it doesn't need to be distilled or bottled unless the quality of your tap water is questionable.
  • A proper and well-maintained application of Fluon (no direct heat such as heat lamps, lower humidity, low foot traffic) may last indefinitely.  If it is applied to the underside of the foraging area lid, as intended, it will be most effective.
  • Blue 100 is discontinued.

Edited by drtrmiller, May 22 2016 - 4:42 PM.


#8 Offline Roachant - Posted May 23 2016 - 2:37 AM

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I am pretty sure I applied fluon correctly, the other ants I kept could not pass the barrier except for the Lasius . I will try again when I get my Lasius again this year.

As for temperature, maybe you're right, it depends on location, I just found they did so much better when I used more of the heat cables over their formicarium.

#9 Offline Boah - Posted May 23 2016 - 9:13 AM

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Great, thank you all for your answers! Really helpful and very appreciated. 

 

A couple more (sorry). 

 

I've been covering the nest so that it's dark when I'm not observing them, as I read that they like the dark. However, when I remove the cover to observe them there is a flurry of activity, the queen begins to pace up and down the chamber which I'm sure means she's agitated. Would you recommend not covering them at all so they're used to the light and to minimise this stress? I've also read conflicting reports about putting red plastic over the nest. Some say that it makes no difference, others say that Lasius cannot distinguish the colour and so it appears dark. Have any of you had any experience with this?

 

Also, they seem to be piling the insects I'm feeding them on top of the brood and leaving them there. How often do Lasius usually clean out their nests? Should I be worried about disease etc or will they clean dead insect parts out when they go bad?   

 

Many thanks in advance and sorry for all the noob questions! 



#10 Offline Boah - Posted May 23 2016 - 9:14 AM

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In regards to the Fluon, I'm using the BF Fluon on the underside of the top as instructed and have observed ants trying and failing to cross it. 



#11 Offline Boah - Posted May 23 2016 - 9:49 AM

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I also bought a heat mat to place under half of the GrowTube when needed. The instructions to the mat says that it emits heat as infrared radiation. 

 

This has worried me a bit, the mat is only 3,5 watts so it's not very powerful, but is this sort of heat ok to use with ants or not? 



#12 Offline NightsWebs - Posted May 23 2016 - 10:07 AM

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I don't think its an issue honestly.  I don't have Lasius but I use tropical blue night bulbs which are IR as well for my heat lamps.  I have wonderfully thriving colonies. Knock on wood.


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Current Colonies;

Acromyrmex Versicolor

Dorymyrmex Bicolor

Pogonomyrmex Californicus
Pogonomyrmex Rugosus

Pogonomyrmex Tenuispinus
Novomessor Cockerelli
Myrmecocystus Mexicanus

 

Last Update: 08 Jul 2016

 

 






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