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Pogonomyrmex badius (Again)


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45 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 18 2017 - 4:15 PM

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This colony was started from a queen this past July. I've been concentrating on this one since the queen of my largest colony suddenly died and I couldn't get them to accept another.

They've grown pretty rapidly, they're less than a year old and the population is already pushing 250. They've produced brood strongly through the winter and they're all still maturing into larger and larger workers so I haven't hibernated them. Over the past few weeks some large intermediates and majors have started appearing.

I constructed a small enclosure for them out of a critter keeper with a slot cut in the bottom of it and an 'ant farm' style nest made out of some wood dowel and two panes of glass, but when it gets to May or so I intend to build them a much larger nest as they're already getting cramped in this one.

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Edited by Runner12, March 18 2017 - 4:19 PM.

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#2 Offline FSTP - Posted March 18 2017 - 4:34 PM

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wow what a cool setup! it looks like its worked out real nicely for you.



#3 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 18 2017 - 5:01 PM

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Thanks! I've found I have the most success with this species when I replicate their natural environment as closely as possible

#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 18 2017 - 8:20 PM

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Are you using pure sand, or is there any clay dirt mixed in with that?



#5 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 18 2017 - 8:40 PM

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I collected it from the same place I found the queens so I'm not 100% but it does seem to have a fair bit of silt or clay mixed with it and the sand is a nice mixture of coarse and fine grain.

It holds up better than pure sand which I got a lot of collapses with when it dried out due to the heating cable, especially if it was finer grain

#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 18 2017 - 11:25 PM

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Oh ok. I know that species comes from some very sandy places.



#7 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 19 2017 - 8:24 AM

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Yeah in the wild I've seen them nest in extremely fine sand somehow.

I've even found them in sand dunes just above the high tide mark at the beach in sand so soft your foot will sink into it. I have no idea how they keep their nests together in places like that.

#8 Offline Aaron567 - Posted March 19 2017 - 10:38 AM

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What months do you usually find the queens of them and where do you live? There is a large colony of these next to my house but I've never found queens of them.



#9 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 19 2017 - 10:53 AM

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I live in SC but they don't live anywhere near where I am, it's about a two hour drive to the place I usually go to collect.

I've had the most luck in the last week of June and first week of July, I usually will go the day after an early evening or night thunderstorm that drops a fair bit of rain over them.

I know where there is a large cluster of nests and it's pretty easy to collect 40 or 50 queens if you get the timing right

Edited by Runner12, March 19 2017 - 10:54 AM.

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#10 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted March 19 2017 - 4:50 PM

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Wow... I need P. Badius!


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Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#11 Offline Superant33 - Posted March 19 2017 - 5:26 PM

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Wow. I collected 6 queens last July. 4 of them perished. The remaining two have a combined 6 larvae and two workers. I am JEALOUS. Thanks for the post, I am getting some ideas for the future.

#12 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 19 2017 - 8:57 PM

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Hope it could help in some way! I've found they do well in a larger founding enclosure filled with damp sand and kept heated. I have almost always had better first broods and growth when I have avoided test tube setups for Pogonomyrmex.

They seem to grow better if they have a lot of room available. I moved them to the above enclosure when they hit about 15 workers and they seemed to love the extra room and really took off. Food for them has been primarily hemp seed, chia seed, millett, and boiled and frozen flies and wax worms along with some dried fruit from bird food occasionally.

I usually will collect about ten queens and consolidate brood and workers as the less fit ones die off, this helps get them jump started some times too. They will tolerate multiple queens in the founding stage as well which may help get a colony going quicker that can be divided later.

Edited by Runner12, March 19 2017 - 9:03 PM.


#13 Offline Jelly - Posted March 19 2017 - 11:35 PM

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This nest looks nice and their tunnels are easy to see. How do you keep the sand from drying out?

#14 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 20 2017 - 4:55 AM

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I've tried a lot of hydration systems but so far the best method I've found is just adding water in the top a little at a time over the nest area using a mister or squirt bottle, at least for these smaller nests. I'll wait to see how damp it gets and then add more if needed. The bottom is always damp.

I have yet to come up with anything else that actually works for hydrating a larger sand nest from the bottom up.

Edited by Runner12, March 20 2017 - 4:57 AM.

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#15 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 22 2017 - 2:31 PM

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While watering this colony today I noticed a small female alate running around near the bottom.

Not sure what would have caused them to produce a queen this early in the colony's life cycle. I contacted a researcher who specializes in this species who said it may simply be a sign the colony is in good health, so I'm not too worried I guess.

Here's the best picture of her I could get, she's near the top facing down. Nowhere near full size for a queen.

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Edited by Runner12, March 22 2017 - 2:32 PM.


#16 Offline Aaron567 - Posted March 22 2017 - 3:22 PM

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I hope I find a queen of these this summer. Your colony is awesome



#17 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted March 22 2017 - 3:25 PM

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I hope I find a queen of these this summer. Your colony is awesome

Same! So jelly right now.


Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#18 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 22 2017 - 5:47 PM

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Thanks! I'm definitely pleased with this colony so far. I took a few more pictures since I fed them and watered them and there was a lot of activity at the surface.

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#19 Offline Runner12 - Posted March 31 2017 - 5:04 PM

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Few slightly "better" pictures of the female alate.

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#20 Offline Leo - Posted March 31 2017 - 5:11 PM

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nice harvester ants


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