Apologies ahead of time if it's not as thorough or as streamlined as other journals; this is my first attempt! I'm hoping to have a fun time documenting my first experience in ant keeping!
A little bit of catch up to this Journal entry:
We had a really beautiful warm day here in MA. I forgot the exact temp but it was definitely high 60s to low 70's. It was probably the warmest it had been to date for April. As such, P. Imparis or the "Winter Ant" were having their nuptial flights. I was able to capture 8 queen dealates in a matter of minutes in my backyard (which apparently has a several mature wild colonies). I caught them all together and had them in a pill container with a moistened cotton ball for a bit until I got my test tubes in the mail (probably around 2 days). They seemed to co-habitate very well during this time, which was a relief because I didn't want dead queens.
I did some research on the species and found some interesting material in regards to whether or not they were polygynous. In some instances (dependent on geography) it was found that they were. In other instances (generally more North) they were not. In light of this, I went ahead and conducted my own experiment in test tube placements to see how they would do. So, I put 2 queens together in 3 test tubes and then singled out the other 2 in their own respective tubes. They were placed in the typical setup and I had them in a drawer (to facilitate darkness), wrapped in a towel at room temp (which was around low 60's).
I would periodically check on them at least once a day. It didn't seem to disrupt them too much and I'm obviously super excited to see how they are fairing.
4/20/17: Egg laying begins
Queens had been doing well. No fighting or deaths for those that were placed together. Lots of grooming and just overall "laziness", which seemed to dictate they were comfortable. At this point it had been 7 days since the nuptial flight and the single queens had begun egg laying. The eggs are really small and hard to see against the cotton but when brought to the light it was clear they had egg piles and the queens would carry some in their mandibles. The dual queens still had no eggs from what I can see and at this point I was beginning to get worried that they wouldn't because maybe they did not want to be together? So I decided to give it another few days to maybe even another week. I know they are a slow growing species so I am not too worried at the moment but considerations in separating them is an option.
4/21/17: Dual queens lay eggs
Today upon checking up on them: the single queens were still attending to their eggs. Perhaps even produced a couple extra (but there isn't a TON of eggs, maybe a dozen at most). Still that has me in good spirits regardless! Also, great news, one of the dual queen tubes has shown that they were caring for newly laid eggs. There wasn't a lot of them, I'd say maybe just one or two at the moment, but just the shear fact that they had eggs in their mandibles is good enough for me. It also brings personal hope that perhaps I can join them all together at some point. It would certainly help achieve higher production in eggs and future brood and possibly even a greater chance of success for a healthy colony in captivity. I will keep an eye out on these gals and also keep looking to see if the other dual queens will also lay. The current consensus though is that the single queens are producing faster and have more eggs (at this stage).
I will also get pictures uploaded soon but I wanted to keep myself organized with the chronological turn of events first! So far so good
Edited by Myrmidon, May 21 2017 - 9:30 AM.