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Serafine's Camponotus barbaricus - Welcome to Lazy Tube


140 replies to this topic

#1 Online Serafine - Posted December 7 2016 - 6:27 AM

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dqX5jKb.png
 
Basic information
 
Camponotus barbaricus is one of the biggest ant species in Europe. Very tough.
Shows activity at day and night.
Very fortified aggressive ant species (oh yes!).
A radiant heating should heat a stone or an angle of the formicarium in the daytime.

Taxonomy: Formicinae (Camponotini)
Colony form: monogyne (claustral)
Colony size: 10.000+ Individuals

Distribution: Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Sicily), Northern Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia, Lybia)
Habitat: prefers open ground but avoids arid areas

Queen: 18mm, black
Workers: 8 - 18mm, black with a red shine, extremely polymorphic (Minor, Media and Major workers)
Soldiers: not present (well, technically the majors are soldiers)
Males: black, very slim

Nutrition: Honey- or sugar water and insects
Hibernation: Yes (slight)
Temperature: 20 - 30 °C
Nest building: Build their nests under stones or in soil
 
 
 
 
Diet & Nutrition
All insect foods are frozen.
 
Accepted
Reaction inconsistent
Refused (ignored or dumped)
Not yet found/used
 
Honey (pure)
Honey water (1:1)

Sugar water (1:1)
Brown sugar water (3:1/4:1)
Marple syrup (pure)
Frozen raspberry bits
Frozen strawberry bits
Frozen blueberry bits
Sunburst ant nectar (they love it)
Coconut flower syrup
 
Drosophila melanogaster (wild colony from kitchen) - recently they seem to prefer other foods and mostly leave the fruit flies untouched
Small crickets (box from pet shop) - they're not taking them anymore after they grew to 20+ workers
Small grasshoppers in slices (box from pet shop)
Cooked superworms in slices (box from pet shop)
Wild spiders (they LOVE those)
Wild grasshoppers
Meat fly pupae (box from pet shop)
Honey bee pupae (and sometimes larvae - PREFERRED FOOD)
Dubia roaches (colony is probably too small still)
Red mosquito larvae (fish food from pet shop) - sometimes they take them, sometimes they don't
Drosophila hydei (box from pet shop)


Large crickets
Large predatory red mites
Dead honey bee




Event Index


Ants are getting a proper outworld

First worker (born in my care)

First majors

Moving into the new nest




Colony development

16th Nov '16
mCtkymR.jpg

8th January '17
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23rd January '17
ERRtUmY.jpg
 
17th February '17
PRqCGEH.jpg

22nd February '17
CDWoUqM.jpg

1st March '17
hOyXBsp.jpg

9th March '17
PZ9jplN.jpg

17th March '17
FRqexgc.jpg

20th March '17
opnJ7A1.jpg

25th March '17
rUPW3MF.jpg

1st April '17 (they've started to store some pupae at the front end of the tube where they can't be seen so from here on there may be actually not all of them on the pictures)
M55BQ4u.jpg

5th April '17
YSHHNUc.jpg

10th April '17
n2ccJxG.jpg
 
17th April '17
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22nd April '17
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29th April '17
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5th May '17
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9th May '17
vyY72GP.jpg

15th May '17
e8xcLAp.jpg

19th May '17
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21st May '17 (some of the ants are definitely in the entrance area and not on this picture)
e1xpGsd.jpg

30th May '17
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12th June '17
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20th June '17
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25th June '17
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28th June '17
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2nd July '17
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9th July '17
hYU0hin.jpg

14th July '17
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19th July '17
0rguwPo.jpg

23rd July '17
uY2SAyp.jpg

29th July '17 (first majors)
vqRbVck.jpg

4th August '17
75PkYwr.jpg

7th August '17
KFp1RwP.jpg

9th August '17
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10th August '17
FgvO98L.jpg

14th August '17
1zRUtws.jpg

Edited by Serafine, August 20 2017 - 12:35 PM.

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Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal

#2 Offline MichiganAnts - Posted December 9 2016 - 9:00 PM

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well all workers have roles. the oldest are your foragers,which is what I'm guessing the aggressive one is. and the youngest tend the young, the others do whatever is required. i will say a box that holds fishing lures (with alot of small compartments) can't be turned into a formicarium of sorts. wait until you see the colony do "democracy" its very amusing watching them try to decide to do something.

 

good luck!!


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#3 Online Serafine - Posted December 10 2016 - 7:49 AM

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Journal start


The colony originally belonged to MoonAnts who ordered a colony of Camponotus barbaricus and a colony of Messor barbarus from a shop - and ended up getting two of each. I had already decided that I would want a Camponotus colony soon, so one thing came to another.

The ants arrived in their tube at Nov 12 after a voyage of full five days with DHL - yes, it took them FIVE DAYS for a package delivery from northern Germany to southern Germany. Seriously. At least they delivered the package at Saturday morning (most other mail services do not deliver at weekends).

The colony was in good condition and got pretty active when unpacked, fortunately they cooled down quickly when placed in their emergency setup. I later discovered that one of the workers (the biggest one) had died, either during the voyage or just after their arrival. Since there was no way to remove it without completely disturbing the ants I just left it in the tube (they moved the carcass to cotton block at the front end of the tube while all living ants cuddled together at the wet cotton end).

Here they are in their tube.
LgibIIC.jpg

So this was their first "emergency setup".
2CcSLTC.png

TqQNVn7.jpg
Since I didn't have the time to order anything more sophisticated I just took one of my freezer containers and drilled some holes in it - worked fine for the start.
The ants are under the red "paper tent", still in the test tube in which they arrived.


Here is their first meal, some sugar water (was taken quickly) and a raisin (was ignored entirely) in the plastic top of a pringles tube. They also discarded he dead worker during the second night.
NwLUmiw.jpg
I did not want to remove the cotton at the end of the tube for reasons of hydration and disturbance (don't think they would have liked to nest in a cabriolet) so I just pushed a drinking straw through it. This worked very well and I intend to continue doing this with all my eventual future colonies.


Everything went fine, they were about to be sent into hibernation and suddenly... a wild bunch of eggs appears!
M8dasJe.jpg

Well... no hibernation then.

That means they're gonna need some protein. I already added some honey (which didn't seem to drain much interest) and caught some fruit flies, cooked them for a few seconds and added them as well. The fruit flies were taken instantly (three were eaten and discarded the rest stored in the tube at the dry cotton end), except the last one (which was ignored).

The local pet shop had superworms so I bought a box, fed them for about four days with paprika and apples, then boiled them and put them in the freezer. They probably gonna last me for a year, if not more.
YoPQa3G.jpg

The first one was directly fed to the ants (crushed plus a bit of water) and got massive attention - the worker sat there for hours and just filled up on superworm fluids.
Shortly after that the ants effectively canceled all foraging and I haven't seen them out for almost a week. Apparently they were full up to their antennae with tasty superworm soup.



So I ordered a massive setup at AntKit (enough for years to come)... and then the fire destroyed their director's home, their development labs and their entire product storage.
My setup won't arrive here for at least two months, probably three. I don't have any issues waiting and wish AntKit the best but that also forced me to act.

This primitive setup won't hold for three months - when all the new workers hatch I'm gonna be in trouble. Even worse the foraging worker doesn't seem to have any problems walking over the surfaces I sprayed with PTFE and is potentially small enough to squeeze through the ventilation holes. I needed a new box.

Fortunately the local hobby market has a broad variety of storage boxes and after some search I even found one that doesn't allow ants to just walk out between the bottom box and the lid.
c2Nd8gR.jpg

r7TRUqf.jpg

This should be sufficient even for half a year if needed. I even added insect grid to the the air holes at the sides just to be sure in case they can really walk on the PTFE areas.



So... the colony just got relocated to the new container (still in the tube under the tent). Wow, they were not amused. When picked up the tube to take a look at them they became quite busy. When I replaced the drinking straw with a bigger one that is potentially large enough to let the queen pass, in case they want to relocate, they got REALLY busy - well, at least one of them.

Their reaction was quite interesting, these ants do not only have a clear distribution of tasks (one worker is the only one foraging, one worker is always carrying the brood around, not sure what the other two are doing) they also seem to have very distinctive personalities.
The foraging worker is clearly the most aggressive - she was the only one who instantly attacked the new straw. The other ants were more like "yeah yeah, don't freak out I'm coming already" or even "meh, I don't care", while she was like "OMG, OMG, Intruder, everyone attack it!". I just hope she didn't spray around any formic acid in the nest.
She even rushed out after I placed the tube in the new box and was looking really angry and ready to throw herself at everything.

Hopefully they will calm down now and do well in their new home. I don't think I'm going to be able to make any more pictures of the tube in the near future (I will add some better ones of the setup though) as I don't want to disturb them any more and that hyperaggressive worker will probably freak out again.

While I relocated them I also had a short clear view at their tube and wow - at first I though it was mold but then I realized that they've stored about four fruit flies and several superworm bits at the dry cotton end of the tube. They probably have enough food piled up to bring the larvae through their first two stages of development without having to forage.
These ants are some serious harvesters!


well all workers have roles. the oldest are your foragers,which is what I'm guessing the aggressive one is. and the youngest tend the young, the others do whatever is required. i will say a box that holds fishing lures (with alot of small compartments) can't be turned into a formicarium of sorts. wait until you see the colony do "democracy" its very amusing watching them try to decide to do something.

good luck!!


The four workers are all the same age, they're from the first batch (all nanitics).
Originally they were 5 but the largest one (that looked almost like a baby major with a bigger head than the other ones) died for some reason.
 
Here's a better pic of their setup. The yellow pebbles aren't grains/seeds but smaller rocks (just put them in in case they might need them for some reason).
lE0VEsg.jpg

And that's their warehouse full of dead fruit flies and stuff. They have literally used up all the space at the dry front end of the tube for food storage.
7Lbcy80.jpg
 
They are still carrying their eggs around which should hatch soon/any day now.

Edited by Serafine, March 10 2017 - 2:28 PM.

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#4 Online Serafine - Posted December 24 2016 - 2:30 PM

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Just a quick heads-up.

First thing - the colony has larvae.
 
I had to relocate them back to the old setup because I had forgotten that it might be a smart idea to spray the long sides of the container as well. When putting them back into the new container I quickly checked up on them and saw a small patch of larvae at the bottom of the tube. Looks like 4-6 of them, not sure if they have laid less eggs than estimated, ate some of them or there are some more hidden larvae.

They are still barely seen outside but that seems to be the problem with a young Camponotus colony - they have such huge stomachs that they forage once and then don't need any more food for a week.
 
Anyway I've crafted another thing (most likely won't need it for a while though).

This is a feeder box made from a 125 gram butter box. Depending on how the lid is placed it allows for small or big ants to pass. That way I can feed them larger food but prevent them from dragging it into the nest in one piece where it might cause a mold outbreak when their eyes are bigger than their larvae' stomachs.
T6t70E4.jpg
 


Edited by Serafine, March 30 2017 - 12:25 PM.

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#5 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted December 24 2016 - 5:00 PM

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Nice set up! I wish I could have camponotus. Those are amazing ants.


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#6 Offline Leo - Posted December 24 2016 - 5:19 PM

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i have some  :D nice stairway by the way 



#7 Offline MichiganAnts - Posted December 24 2016 - 7:25 PM

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if they are not foraging as much it may be hibernation time. eggs and larvae can hibernate. Camponotus will engorge themselves just before hibernation. how long since you saw workers out? 


Owner of MichiganAnts, a YouTube Channel dedicated to all my Michigan colonies found and raise in my backyard

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camponotus nearcticus x3

 

camponotus pennsylvanicus x3

 

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#8 Online Serafine - Posted December 25 2016 - 2:13 AM

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They're currently only foraging about once every week (with only one worker doing all the foraging) - sometimes I see her, sometimes I miss her (but I know she's been out cause some of the food is missing). Last time they have foraged was about a week ago, when half of the honey from one of the pots (it was really big honey lake) suddenly had vanished over night. Usually they fill up the entire colony to the limit (the queen's gaster is HUGE after such a foraging trip) and then stay home until they need food again.

 

They also have a massive amount of dead fruit flies stored inside their tube (that's why I call them harvester ants) so they don't need to forage for protein. And then Camponotus usually lay eggs in batches, so the queen has literally nothing to do now that would consume any protein (and if you consider how long claustral queens can last when they're well-fed she should be fine for at least 2 months that way).

 

I already thought of hibernation but every time I look at them they are fairly active inside their tube (including the queen).


Edited by Serafine, December 25 2016 - 2:55 AM.

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#9 Offline MichiganAnts - Posted December 25 2016 - 1:27 PM

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id suggest to hibernate. if you check on them and see them pulling on the cotton then they want out. but id ask around, I'm by no means an expert


Owner of MichiganAnts, a YouTube Channel dedicated to all my Michigan colonies found and raise in my backyard

https://www.youtube.com/MichiganAnts

https://twitter.com/MichiganAnts

https://www.facebook.com/MichiganAnts/

 

Keeper of:

 

camponotus nearcticus x3

 

camponotus pennsylvanicus x3

 

camponotus noveboracensis x2

 

pheidole bicarinata x1

 

temnothorax longispinosus x1


#10 Online Serafine - Posted December 26 2016 - 6:12 AM

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Since they're already in a rather enclosed setup (only accessible through a long straw) and haven't made any efforts to block the entrance I'm just gonna leave them where they currently are.

 

The problem with Camponotus barbaricus is that they usually live in countries like Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lybia (~15-20°C there right now) - and every source you look up is telling you something different about their hibernation habits. Some say you should fully hibernate them from October- March, some say you should hibernate them a short time from December to February, some say they only have light hibernation with reduced activity and some say they don't need to hibernate at all.

 

Since I'm not sure if their low activity outside is caused by just being a small colony (they have been like that since I got them in early November) I'm going just for reduced room temperature (~18°C) and see what happens. Next year when the colony is larger and their degree of activity more obvious it'll probably be easier to decide on what to do.


Edited by Serafine, December 26 2016 - 7:54 AM.

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#11 Offline MichiganAnts - Posted December 26 2016 - 11:50 AM

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Since they're already in a rather enclosed setup (only accessible through a long straw) and haven't made any efforts to block the entrance I'm just gonna leave them where they currently are.

 

The problem with Camponotus barbaricus is that they usually live in countries like Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lybia (~15-20°C there right now) - and every source you look up is telling you something different about their hibernation habits. Some say you should fully hibernate them from October- March, some say you should hibernate them a short time from December to February, some say they only have light hibernation with reduced activity and some say they don't need to hibernate at all.

 

Since I'm not sure if their low activity outside is caused by just being a small colony (they have been like that since I got them in early November) I'm going just for reduced room temperature (~18°C) and see what happens. Next year when the colony is larger and their degree of activity more obvious it'll probably be easier to decide on what to do.

as for timing of hibernation, as long as its 3 months they should be fine. 


Owner of MichiganAnts, a YouTube Channel dedicated to all my Michigan colonies found and raise in my backyard

https://www.youtube.com/MichiganAnts

https://twitter.com/MichiganAnts

https://www.facebook.com/MichiganAnts/

 

Keeper of:

 

camponotus nearcticus x3

 

camponotus pennsylvanicus x3

 

camponotus noveboracensis x2

 

pheidole bicarinata x1

 

temnothorax longispinosus x1


#12 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted December 26 2016 - 12:32 PM

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Since they're already in a rather enclosed setup (only accessible through a long straw) and haven't made any efforts to block the entrance I'm just gonna leave them where they currently are.

The problem with Camponotus barbaricus is that they usually live in countries like Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lybia (~15-20°C there right now) - and every source you look up is telling you something different about their hibernation habits. Some say you should fully hibernate them from October- March, some say you should hibernate them a short time from December to February, some say they only have light hibernation with reduced activity and some say they don't need to hibernate at all.

Since I'm not sure if their low activity outside is caused by just being a small colony (they have been like that since I got them in early November) I'm going just for reduced room temperature (~18°C) and see what happens. Next year when the colony is larger and their degree of activity more obvious it'll probably be easier to decide on what to do.

as for timing of hibernation, as long as its 3 months they should be fine.
I think you might be used to more Northern Ants in your area but this isn't the case for EU....
I disagree. I think a small diapause is the best. It is true in the Mediterranean, that it is pretty hot, and it can snow. However I would stay on the safe side and do a diapause. Like what u can do is stick them in a cold place (basement) for a couple of weeks and take them back out.
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#13 Offline Shareallicu - Posted December 28 2016 - 7:49 PM

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The four workers are all the same age, they're from the first batch (all nanitics).

Originally they were 5 but the largest one (that looked almost like a baby major with a bigger head than the other ones) died for some reason.

 

Here's a better pic of their setup. The yellow pebbles aren't grains/seeds but smaller rocks (just put them in in case they might need them for some reason).
lE0VEsg.jpg

And that's their warehouse full of dead fruit flies and stuff. They have literally used up all the space at the dry front end of the tube for food storage.
7Lbcy80.jpg

 

They are still carrying their eggs around which should hatch soon/any day now.

What kind of substrate is that?  It's pretty :)



#14 Offline T.C. - Posted December 28 2016 - 8:13 PM

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My colony of formica species did the same thing. They put all the food at the front of the test tube. It actually worked out great.


Edited by T.C., December 28 2016 - 8:46 PM.


#15 Online Serafine - Posted December 29 2016 - 3:04 AM

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What kind of substrate is that?  It's pretty :)

This is red desert terrarium sand for reptiles. When my ordered outworlds arrive I will use that to decorate them (on top of the grout). I really like the color.

Not sure but I think they have pulled some sand into the tube, probably as a hydration medium or for the larvae when they will start to spin their cocoons.

PT3105_Desert_Sand_Red_Packaging.jpg


Edited by Serafine, December 29 2016 - 3:04 AM.

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#16 Offline Shareallicu - Posted December 29 2016 - 12:36 PM

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What kind of substrate is that?  It's pretty :)

This is red desert terrarium sand for reptiles. When my ordered outworlds arrive I will use that to decorate them (on top of the grout). I really like the color.

Not sure but I think they have pulled some sand into the tube, probably as a hydration medium or for the larvae when they will start to spin their cocoons.

PT3105_Desert_Sand_Red_Packaging.jpg

 

Okay, awesome!  I was wondering if it would be safe to use this type of sand!  I really like the look of it.  Right now, I am just using dirt.  Not very pretty.



#17 Online Serafine - Posted December 29 2016 - 3:36 PM

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Okay, awesome!  I was wondering if it would be safe to use this type of sand!  I really like the look of it.  Right now, I am just using dirt.  Not very pretty.

I'd say it is safe if you have ants that love it very dry (although it will probably work with most Lasius and Tetramorium). I wouldn't try this as a medium with ants that need more than room humidity in their foraging area.
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#18 Offline Shareallicu - Posted December 29 2016 - 7:19 PM

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Okay, awesome!  I was wondering if it would be safe to use this type of sand!  I really like the look of it.  Right now, I am just using dirt.  Not very pretty.

I'd say it is safe if you have ants that love it very dry (although it will probably work with most Lasius and Tetramorium). I wouldn't try this as a medium with ants that need more than room humidity in their foraging area.

 

oh okay, i think my formica would like more humidity



#19 Online Serafine - Posted December 29 2016 - 9:45 PM

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Well you can try it in one of your foraging areas if you have a setup of multiple boxes and see how they like it. Problem with that sand is that it has a tendency to clump under high humidity (it is very fine and flows like a fluid while dry).


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#20 Online Serafine - Posted January 4 2017 - 9:45 AM

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So I checked up on them again and removed the red (or more like magenta) acrylic sheet because it didn't do anything anyway and they're definitely not hibernating, in fact the queen has layed another batch of eggs. They also pulled a bit of the cotton to make some sort of nest for the larvae.

 

They still do not like light at all but they (involuntarily) confirmed that the queen fits though the straw (barely though) as she tried to hide in there first when I put them into the light. She can't turn around inside but obviously she can walk backwards just fine.

 

The tube is almost dried out so I expect them to move within the next weeks and offered them a fresh test tube (well, actually I just filled up the water tube that was already present in the setup). We'll see how it goes.

I also removed all food (except the honey) from the foraging area because obviously they don't need it (and don't want it anyway).

 

e5gXKhp.jpg

 

I find it sort if funny that they placed the larvae nest vertically on the tube side.


Edited by Serafine, January 4 2017 - 11:04 AM.

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