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novomessor cockerelli colony needs help.

novomessor cockerelli help

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#1 Offline KBant - Posted November 9 2017 - 1:57 PM

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two months ago i bought a novomessor cockerelli colony with 5 workers. since then, 1 worker, 2 pupae have died, 1 larvae and another larvae looks like its dead as well, it has turned brown. the 5 workers i have look healthy, the queen looks great and it has a nice clutch of eggs developing. 

 

but i am wondering why my colony is losing workers. I'm guessing possibly nutrition?

 

what have you fed your cockerelli that they absolutely love? i can't seem to find something that they love! i give them crickets, roaches, and different seeds and cichlid pellets but nothing seems to make them go crazy. they don't seem to even bother with kentucky blue seeds, nyger seeds, or the cichlid pellets. they do tolerate the sunflower seeds it looks like and they do like feeding on crickets occasionally. sugar water drops are hit or miss. 

 

thanks in advance!


Edited by KBant, November 22 2017 - 1:51 AM.


#2 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted November 9 2017 - 3:58 PM

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In my opinion, almost any ant species that need protein will eat fruit flies. Even the pickiest species(ponera, tapinoma) will accept them and some(ponera, hypoponera) don't really seem to eat anything except fruit flies from my personal observation. Honey also works well. D. Hydei would provide more meat, but D. Melanogster works well too. Phorid flies also work as well.
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#3 Offline nurbs - Posted November 9 2017 - 4:23 PM

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Your colony should have more than 5 by now, ten at least, so something is up.

 

Most buyers for this species who purchased in the summer originally started with 2-5 workers are now at 10-20 workers. Are you using a heating cable? How cold is your home? Keep in mind this is a desert species and they absolutely love heat.

 

MegaMyrmex is on point - they love live fruit flies. I feed mine small crickets (break them up - tear off head and hind legs), live fruit flies, apple slices, and crushed sunflower seeds. Harvester ants generally don't take to liquid sweets like nectar. Unlike other harvesters though, they aren't too interested in bluegrass, nyjer, or cichled pellets either. But they do like crushed sunflower seeds.

 

Also, don't overfeed. A colony of just 5 workers will not need much.


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#4 Offline nurbs - Posted November 9 2017 - 4:28 PM

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One or two workers deaths is normal. You're not having a massive die off, which is a good sign. I still have lots of these left, and do occasionally find 1 or 2 dead workers in the outworld. 

 

What is concerning is brood development and growth. Looks like temperature could be an issue?


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#5 Offline KBant - Posted November 9 2017 - 4:31 PM

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i usually feed them half a cricket every week. yeah idk what's wrong but the colony is not getting much bigger right now. 

 

i always have a heating cable for them under one corner of their formicarium so they have a gradient. maybe i need to move it further than just one corner of the formicarium so they get more heat?



#6 Offline KBant - Posted November 9 2017 - 5:45 PM

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here is a pic of the dying/ dead? larvae next to a healthy live one.

 

nUdOwYK.jpg

 

and here is the pile of eggs which I'm happy with.

 

Rw8Xmrc.jpg

 

 

i talked with nurbs and perhaps temperature is not high enough, so ill try to address that issue for now and see how that goes. but would love to hear any more feedback or tips. Thanks!



#7 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted November 9 2017 - 7:23 PM

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The egg pile looks good but the larva is in fact dying or dead. What are thw white chunks surrounding them? It looks like somthing bit or ttied to eat it. Do you frequently check your ants? If so, stress might be the cause then...
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#8 Offline KBant - Posted November 9 2017 - 8:53 PM

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the white chunks are sunflower seeds. i check them once a day. but ill try to hold off. how often do you check yours? 



#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 10 2017 - 4:13 AM

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I actually check my ants once a day or every two days when I'm busy. I have to in case I have a colony on the verge of breaking out. I also like to catch dead ants before they get too moldy. My main reason is to make sure they are not being attacked by Argentine ants.


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#10 Offline sgheaton - Posted November 10 2017 - 5:54 AM

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How are your super cabinets holding up to the Argentine Empire, Drew?


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#11 Offline T.C. - Posted November 10 2017 - 10:37 AM

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that's exactly how my Camponotus pennsylvanicus larvae looked before the whole colony died.



#12 Offline KBant - Posted November 10 2017 - 3:10 PM

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did you ever figure out why the colony died?



#13 Offline KBant - Posted November 16 2017 - 5:22 PM

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sadly, i lost another worker, another larvae and I'm down to 1 large larvae-which is also turning brown.. originally started with 4 that developed into large larvae together.

 

not sure what's happening. the brood is developing nicely and i even have a good amount of tiny larvae but my larger larvae from the last couple months have done poorly. 



#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 16 2017 - 10:44 PM

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My colony of Novomessor was losing a lot of workers too. They were losing almost as many as were being produced, keeping the colony from growing much at all. Then after about a year, that changed and the colony started growing much faster.

 

 

How are your super cabinets holding up to the Argentine Empire, Drew?

 

Good so far.



#15 Offline KBant - Posted November 22 2017 - 1:48 AM

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thanks drew. so after the last death, i changed their test tubes, thinking maybe something inside the tube was killing them. they also had this dried piece of cockroach they were not discarding for some reason. 

 

 

so i checked on them today, as i gave them half a cricket to munch on. The new brood is developing nicely and none seem to be decaying. all 4 of the previously mentioned larvae are gone. I'm hoping my colony doesn't shrink anymore than it has. fingers crossed! :) 



#16 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted November 22 2017 - 12:31 PM

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Good Luck!



#17 Offline KBant - Posted December 15 2017 - 3:18 AM

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hallelujah, got my first worker in forever!!! tiny little gal but a new worker nonetheless. worker count is now 4, and hopefully more to come soon. brood is looking nice


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#18 Offline nurbs - Posted December 15 2017 - 10:38 AM

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That is good, but still odd. You got this late summer, right? And it was @ 5 workers. You should be, at the very least, 10 workers. Most of mine are averaging 15-20 now, with a few over 25. Have about 40 colonies of these still. The fact you have a lot of brood is a welcome sign though.


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#19 Offline KBant - Posted January 23 2018 - 1:29 AM

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my novomessor cockerelli are still dying and some brood is still developing nicely while some larvae look like they are rotting, like previously pictured. i thought the problem had resolved itself but I'm back down to three workers. they should be thriving but something isn't sitting well with them. ill be patient for now. lets see what happens.



#20 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted January 23 2018 - 12:52 PM

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Not sure if this will work for you, but maybe try feeding them more. Like Nurbs said, they love apple, and I make sure mine have a constant supply of them, and remove any before they get moldy. Be sure to wash and peel first though. Secondly, I personally feed mine protein every two days, usually a small cricket, and the queen has layed three batches of eggs since I got her, and they are at 18 workers, 20 when the pupae eclose.
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