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YsTheAnt's Novomessor Cockerelli Journal (Discontinued)

novomessor cockerelli journal desert ant harvesterant harvester seed formicarium firebrick

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#1 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 14 2018 - 9:04 AM

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Start: 2/14/2018


While my friend Derpy was visiting SoCal, he bought me a Novomesssor colony, as well as a Camponotus Laevgatus for himself, both from nurbs. When I got them, around new years, they were at 14 workers. They were having issues in the formicarium they were in because whenever I opened the lid, they would just run out, since they were a slightly larger colony, which is why I made and moved them into a firebrick formicarium. I also realized that lots of times after a worker escaped, and I picked it up on a cotton swab or a q-tip, it would sit in the outworld for a few days and die. I lost around 4 workers because of this, but they gained back up to 15 workers. They currently have 2-3 pre pupa larvae and around 10 smaller ones, that should pupate within the next 2 or so weeks. I am currently heating them with a heating cable applied to the side of their formicarium, but I just ordered a heating lamp setup (60 watt ceramic bulb) to heat all of my colonies at once, and I will use it to heat them instead of the heating cable (11.5 ft zoo-med) when it arrives in the mail. The queen lays eggs in batches, usually pausing for just under a week before shooting out around 5-15 more. I feed them a small cricket every 2 days, and small apple slices twice a week. At first, I had fed them only twice a week, but I experimented with feeding them more, and the larvae consumed it all within a day, so I decided to stick to that feeding regimen.
Edit: I also feed them crushed sunflower seeds and a birdseed mix, but I have yet to see them eating either. I will try to feed them this again today.

If anyone has some tips on keeping these, please do let me know :)!

Now here are some pictures (I will get better ones next time, these were very rushed :( )

dT2dDQ9.jpg
Up close of a worker
xKWXhPU.jpg
Nest
y9aYP4h.jpg
Outworld


Edited by YsTheAnt, June 6 2018 - 3:31 PM.

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#2 Offline Jadeninja9 - Posted February 14 2018 - 9:33 AM

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I hope they grow big

Keeper of:

x1 Camponotus hyatti 

x3 Camponotus vicinus

x6 Prenolepis imparis

x1 Solenopsis sp.

x1 Pheidole sp.


#3 Offline ZllGGY - Posted February 14 2018 - 10:35 AM

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i would consider giving them small seeds since being a type of harvester ant the ants get most of their nutrients from the ant "bread" that the larvae produce. I currently have a colony of pogonomyrmex occidentalis, and while its not the same species i would think that the same principles would apply for all harvester type ants


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Colonies:

 

Founding:

Camponotus cf. Modoc

Camponotus cf. Herculeanus

 

Dream Ants:

 

Stenamma Diecki

Solenopsis Molesta

Manica Invidia

Camponotus Herculeanus

Lasius Latipes

Dorymyrmex Pyramicus

Tapinoma Sessile


#4 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 14 2018 - 10:46 AM

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i would consider giving them small seeds since being a type of harvester ant the ants get most of their nutrients from the ant "bread" that the larvae produce. I currently have a colony of pogonomyrmex occidentalis, and while its not the same species i would think that the same principles would apply for all harvester type ants


Ok, I forgot to mention that I have fed them crushed sunflower seeds and a birdseed mix.

#5 Offline ZllGGY - Posted February 14 2018 - 10:59 AM

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i would consider giving them small seeds since being a type of harvester ant the ants get most of their nutrients from the ant "bread" that the larvae produce. I currently have a colony of pogonomyrmex occidentalis, and while its not the same species i would think that the same principles would apply for all harvester type ants


Ok, I forgot to mention that I have fed them crushed sunflower seeds and a birdseed mix.

 

oh then they should be fine hope they work out for you. my queen right now has a clutch of about 15 eggs i would say. once mine reaches 20ish workers I'm gonna move them into a small natural set up and once i get into a more permanent place ill dedicate a room to my ants 


Colonies:

 

Founding:

Camponotus cf. Modoc

Camponotus cf. Herculeanus

 

Dream Ants:

 

Stenamma Diecki

Solenopsis Molesta

Manica Invidia

Camponotus Herculeanus

Lasius Latipes

Dorymyrmex Pyramicus

Tapinoma Sessile


#6 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 22 2018 - 10:24 PM

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Update: 2/22/18
This colony lost one worker unfortunately. I know exactly why though, I touched it with a wad of cotton while feeding on accident. All my other ants don't seem to mind, so I think this species is very sensitive. Until I touched it, it seemed completely fine, but a day later it became oblivious to me opening the outworld lid, and didn't move very much, and the next day it was dead. I will make sure to be extremely careful when feeding them from now on.

Luckily, the queen is pumping out TONS of eggs, and they have three new pupae and two huge larvae, and multiple smaller and medium ones. I'll post pictures soon. I also started feeding them fruit flies (D. Hydei), and they went through forty or so in a week, leaving them in their dump pile after they had been drained of all their juices, and resembled a crumpled up ball half the size of the original flies. If anyone wants me to add some videos of them hunting the flies, let me know here.

Also, I noticed that maybe three ish larvae were starting to shrivel up and then got eaten by the workers. About half of a batch of larvae make it to being workers because of this, anyone know why this is happening, and what I can do to fix it? Thanks for any help!

Edited by YsTheAnt, February 22 2018 - 10:31 PM.


#7 Offline anttics - Posted March 19 2018 - 8:55 AM

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Update: 2/22/18
This colony lost one worker unfortunately. I know exactly why though, I touched it with a wad of cotton while feeding on accident. All my other ants don't seem to mind, so I think this species is very sensitive. Until I touched it, it seemed completely fine, but a day later it became oblivious to me opening the outworld lid, and didn't move very much, and the next day it was dead. I will make sure to be extremely careful when feeding them from now on.

Luckily, the queen is pumping out TONS of eggs, and they have three new pupae and two huge larvae, and multiple smaller and medium ones. I'll post pictures soon. I also started feeding them fruit flies (D. Hydei), and they went through forty or so in a week, leaving them in their dump pile after they had been drained of all their juices, and resembled a crumpled up ball half the size of the original flies. If anyone wants me to add some videos of them hunting the flies, let me know here.

Also, I noticed that maybe three ish larvae were starting to shrivel up and then got eaten by the workers. About half of a batch of larvae make it to being workers because of this, anyone know why this is happening, and what I can do to fix it? Thanks for any help!


Are you using wet cotton with tap water. if so that is the reason they are dying. tap water kills ants. my bro just bought one of these from Nurbs. he changed them to a new set up. and he grabbed the ants with his fingers which are dirtier that cotton. 2 days have pass. they seem nice and eating and doing their thing

#8 Offline anttics - Posted March 19 2018 - 8:58 AM

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also from what Nurbs told me these ants eat meet more than seeds. so make sure there is always some insect saved there. do not let them wait a day or 2 with out any protein.

#9 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 19 2018 - 11:37 AM

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I only use distilled water for ants. Two more died, and some escaped :(. Luckily, the larvae have completely stopped dying. I think it was the formicarium, so I moved them into a new one. I'll probably attach a test tube with water, I think those died because of dehydration while I was away.

#10 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 19 2018 - 11:44 AM

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also from what Nurbs told me these ants eat meet more than seeds. so make sure there is always some insect saved there. do not let them wait a day or 2 with out any protein.

What meats do they eat? Mine didn't like the chicken I offered them. And, as of lately, they only except live fruit flies happily. They did take in a cricket once too though, but I am out of those for now.

Edited by YsTheAnt, March 19 2018 - 11:45 AM.


#11 Offline anttics - Posted March 19 2018 - 12:34 PM

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well this colony finished an amount of chicken as big as a small cricket. in 2 days. we also gave then a giant meal worm. they are munching on that for now. one thing I told my brother is to always have some protein there. his set up is non test tube. so he can easily pick any old insects and close the set up. so he will.never have mold issues. with a test tube it's more tricky

#12 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 21 2018 - 3:12 PM

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They apparently love freshly pan-cooked chicken, lightly oiled.

#13 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 21 2018 - 10:28 PM

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Update: March 21, 2018


Deaths officially stopped, and I found out it was because the water had evaporated... I moved them into a pencil case formicarium again, so that's three months of development down the drain... Luckily, the queen is extremely productive, they had another worker eclose today, 1 pre pupa larvae, 3 medium larvae, and a medium sized pile of eggs and tiny larvae. I found out that drosophila melanogaster are too small for them to hunt fully up and active, so I chilled mine in a fridge before feeding, and the workers got a good number of them. I think this colony will do absolutely fine, I will just keep them in a test tube and bin outworld until I test out some other formicaria that I am making, which should have a much longer water retention time, which should solve the deaths. I'll keep them in this until they get too hard to feed, then get a boxbox containers and use a test tube in that. I'll get some pics soon. Oh, and they also like small pieces of freshly pan cooked, lightly oiled chicken.

Edited by YsTheAnt, March 21 2018 - 10:29 PM.


#14 Offline anttics - Posted May 2 2018 - 8:41 AM

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Hello Ys. I'm having trouble with this species now. Half of larva die. Please check my journal, and see if you can give me some advice. I believe humidity is killing half of the larva. Not sure though. I'll appreciate any tips. As for the workers. They seem healthy, not one has died for strange resins rather mistakes by my brother. He got 5 killed.

#15 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted June 6 2018 - 3:29 PM

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Update: 6/6/18

 

This colony passed away a while back :(. I think it was because the humidity was too high, due to the large amount of failed larvae. The queen layed loads of eggs, but the larvae would just wither and die around their 2nd or 3rd instar. Barely any made it to the pupa stage, and then they all died eventually. These ants need lower humidity than what I can provide in the Bay Area, as @anttics' experiment proved. His colony had a large number of failed larvae at any humidity above 30%, and my house is far too humid for that. I tried moving them to so many different setups, to no avail. Next time I go down to SoCal, I will buy another one of these and make an enclosure with extremely low humidity beforehand, and monitor it with a humidity guage. 

 

Until then, this journal is discontinued.



#16 Offline anttics - Posted June 8 2018 - 8:06 AM

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Update: 6/6/18

This colony passed away a while back :(. I think it was because the humidity was too high, due to the large amount of failed larvae. The queen layed loads of eggs, but the larvae would just wither and die around their 2nd or 3rd instar. Barely any made it to the pupa stage, and then they all died eventually. These ants need lower humidity than what I can provide in the Bay Area, as @anttics' experiment proved. His colony had a large number of failed larvae at any humidity above 30%, and my house is far too humid for that. I tried moving them to so many different setups, to no avail. Next time I go down to SoCal, I will buy another one of these and make an enclosure with extremely low humidity beforehand, and monitor it with a humidity guage.

Until then, this journal is discontinued.


Sorry to hear. This species are awsome. Actually pass 70% humidity things start to fail. About a 3rd of the larva died. Maybe you had them at 100% humidity. Below 30% you might get deformed workers. To be honest. I'm not sure how low humidity they can withstand. My garage never went below 30% humidity. I kept them at 50%. With 2 little towers. With tiny holes for humidity to escape. Always at 90 to 93 degrees. Good luck next time.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: novomessor, cockerelli, journal, desert, ant, harvesterant, harvester, seed, formicarium, firebrick

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