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Scrixx's Pogonomyrmex spp. Journal

myrmecocystus mexicanus myrmecocystus mimicus pogonomyrmex rugosus

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#1 Offline Scrixx - Posted April 20 2018 - 12:08 PM

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Scrixx's Pogonomyrmex spp. Journal

This journal will be featuring all species of Pogonomyrmex that I have. It originally featured honeypots but those colonies failed. The video below shows the temperature gradient that ranges from 70-90F in a 68F room.

 

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus - caught on July 10, 2017 in Barstow

 

This queen was founded in a glass test tube with no dirt. She had one worker and the two lived about 2 months without eggs, just the two of them. Currently she has one worker and a lot of eggs, at least 15? It's hard to count when they're stacked. She did not lay eggs until she was placed on the heating cable as well but now she is producing like crazy. 

 

Some observations. There was residual moisture in the grout that formed condensation when I put it on the heating cable. During this time the queen and worker preferred the 90+F areas of the test tube. After the condensation vanished and assuming the grout dried up, they returned to the moist cotton side of the test tube in about 72F. It may be beneficial to humidify the end of the test tube again as they seemed to prefer the higher heat as long as humidity levels were sufficient. Humidity still seems to be the priority over temperature. Which makes sense as the eggs would dry out.

 

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus - caught on July 10, 2017 in Barstow, CA.

 

This queen was founded in a glass test tube with no dirt. She had one worker and the two lived about 2 months without eggs, just the two of them. Currently she has one worker and a lot of eggs, at least 15? It's hard to count when they're stacked. She did not lay eggs until she was placed on the heating cable as well but now she is producing like crazy. 

 

Some observations. There was residual moisture in the grout that formed condensation when I put it on the heating cable. During this time the queen and worker preferred the 90+F areas of the test tube. After the condensation vanished and assuming the grout dried up, they returned to the moist cotton side of the test tube in about 72F. It may be beneficial to humidify the end of the test tube again as they seemed to prefer the higher heat as long as humidity levels were sufficient. Humidity still seems to be the priority over temperature. Which makes sense as the eggs would dry out.

 

Pogonomyrmex californicus - caught on June 02, 2017 in Riverside, CA., and June 04, 2017 in Loma Linda, CA. 

 

These queens were founded in dirt test tubes. I collected 11 at Riverside and 5 after a clinical at the hospital. I was talking to some friends about ants and one landed right in front of us. I walked around for an hour collecting queens before I left as I didn't want to have security kick me out.

 

I now have a queen with two workers and I have to say, they are smaller than expected, even for nanitics. There are two more queens who should be getting workers in the next few days. One pupa is already starting to move and the other is the same color as the nanitics. I've been feeding them fish food and sugar water. 

 

 

Hello and welcome to this journal. This journal will be featuring the three surviving desert species that I am keeping. They each have one worker due to neglect and what I believe was temperature problems. I finally bought a heating cable and am already seeing improvements within days. I also placed them in an outworld / nest combo that Nurbs uses. It's actually great because it's long enough that it can fit test tubes and provides an amazing temperature gradient. The video below shows the temperatures at each location. It ranges from 70-90F in a 68F room.

 

The three species:

Myrmecocystus mexicanus - caught in the 29 Palms area on August 5, 2017.

Myrmecocystus mimicus (possibly) - caught in the 29 Palms area on August 5, 2017.

 

 

There is a fourth surviving desert species.

Pheidole xerophila - caught on July 10, 2017 in Barstow

This queen currently has 5~ eggs after losing all her workers. She might be able to found again.

 

 

 

Myrmecocystus mexicanus

 

This queen was founded in a test tube without dirt. She had three workers at one point. The third worker came out right before the first two died. Currently she has one worker and 4-5 eggs. She had no eggs for about 2 months and within 3 days of sitting on a heating cable she laid 3 eggs. It looks like temperature is important in this species, as well as the others.

 

 

 

Myrmecocystus mimicus

 

This queen was founded in a test tube with dirt. She dug a chamber and actually sealed the opening end cotton with more dirt. She had 15 workers at one point. She lost 12 when I did not feed them for about 2 weeks. One worker escaped through a small opening, and the other worker died. Currently she has one worker and at least 2 larvae. I see no eggs. She had larvae even before I placed her on the heating cable, though they've been growing really slowly. The larvae in the picture are about 6 weeks old and they're still tiny. You can see them in the top-right corner in the second image. 

 


Edited by Scrixx, July 17 2018 - 7:56 PM.

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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#2 Offline nurbs - Posted April 20 2018 - 12:38 PM

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Good luck with them Scrixx. Give the M. mexicanus dirt!!! It is required for the brood to spin their cocoons.

 

I use Tar Heel Ants nests specifically for honeypots, mainly because they do extremely well. I add additional sand. They also have a place for the repletes to hang, which is another requirement. You can also try Drew's "dirt shacks", but observation and making clear videos is much harder with pure dirt setups. 


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#3 Offline Scrixx - Posted April 20 2018 - 1:13 PM

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Good luck with them Scrixx. Give the M. mexicanus dirt!!! It is required for the brood to spin their cocoons.

 

I use Tar Heel Ants nests specifically for honeypots, mainly because they do extremely well. I add additional sand. They also have a place for the repletes to hang, which is another requirement. You can also try Drew's "dirt shacks", but observation and making clear videos is much harder with pure dirt setups. 

 

Thanks nurbs! She had the workers without dirt and the larvae spun up cocoons without dirt too. Though the ones I raised in dirt tubes  and setups did better so I'm sure it helps. I'll add some dirt next time I feed them. 

 

I plan on building a formicarium and moving them when they get a bit more workers. I had some other ones in dirt setups similar to Drew's but like you said it's harder to observe and take videos.


ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#4 Offline Scrixx - Posted April 27 2018 - 12:11 PM

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Time for an update!

 

Myrmecocystus mexicanus still have only eggs, no changes. Both queen and worker are just idling by the wet cotton. I added some dirt and they didn't seem to care. It might be more important for the larva to pupa stage as Nurbs mentioned. 

 

Myrmecocystus mimicus still only has two larvae but I believe they finally grew, even if just a bit. I can see them more easily now without looking too hard. No eggs in sight still.

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus, this queens pile is still getting bigger. I estimate about 20 eggs now. My main reason to update was because I've observed semi-foraging behavior. Even when I first caught these queens. They seem to readily accept protein despite being fully claustral. The queen with one worker ventures to the very tip of the tube and sometimes peeks her head out. I have not seen either queens forage outside the test tube so I can't say for sure.

 

I observed the queen without a worker tugging at the exit cotton despite her having a nice brood pile. Similar to nanitics tugging at cotton as a sign to want to forage. It appeared like she wanted to forage so I provided her with protein and sugar water, both of which she accepted. The tugging behavior has stopped since then. She even carries both the sugar soaked cotton and pieces of crickets and can be seen feeding on both. Even as the cricket pieces are dry she can be seen moving it around her mandibles. It is just something I've been thinking about, maybe queens are capable of realizing they no longer have workers and must forage for themselves to survive? It could also be not foraging but rather accepting an opportunistic chance to feed. 

 

Bonus image of dandelion seeds germinating in the test tube.


Edited by Scrixx, April 27 2018 - 12:17 PM.

ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#5 Offline Scrixx - Posted May 3 2018 - 5:23 PM

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Myrmecocystus mimicus

This colony finally have eggs! I see about 4-5. The larvae haven't grown much but it's so exciting seeing eggs!

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus 

The Pogonomyrmex rugosus have over 30 eggs now, possibly even 40. They finally have a larva too! This was awesome to see and this colony is definitely going to have a huge population spike in the next month. The queen and worker are finally interacting with the fish food I left in the out world. They've been ignoring it until now. I assume it's because they did not need that much protein until they had larvae. 

 


ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#6 Offline Scrixx - Posted May 16 2018 - 5:59 PM

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Myrmecocystus mimicus

Let's start with a photo of the egg pile.

See that behind the queen? Let's take a look at a different angle.

 

 

Oh yes, there's a cocoon now! It's been 13 days since the last update so it looks like that was enough time for one of the small larvae to grow and pupate. The other larva looks like it's almost the same size as the cocoon so it will probably spin up in a couple days or a week. After months and months of only the queen and one worker this is awesome news. She has also laid a few more eggs and it looks like there's about 12 now.

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus 

First update is on the workerless queen, the one larva has gotten really large and fat. I'm sure it will pupate after a week.

 

The queen with one worker has a similar sized larva with a couple newly hatched larvae. I'm still expecting a nice population boom since the eggs were all laid right after each other. 

 

Myrmecocystus mexicanus

Not a lot going on in this colony. I don't think they're doing well. 


Edited by Scrixx, May 16 2018 - 6:00 PM.

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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#7 Offline Scrixx - Posted May 30 2018 - 12:16 PM

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Myrmecocystus mimicus

Hmm so the pupa never really did eclose. I don't see a new worker. I saw that it was deformed one day and I guess something went wrong with the development. There's a new large larva that I'm hoping will pupate soon. 

 

 

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus 

I'm going to designate the queen with a worker as Queen 1 and the one without as Queen 2

 

Queen 1

Queen 1 lost its worker. The worker lived for at least 6 months and it seems it has finally reached the end of its lifespan. I saw it running around in the outworld one day so I thought it was lost and I put it back in the tube. Checked on it a couple hours later and it was out and running around again and I put it back in. The next day it was dead. I read that workers will find a hot dry area to die in to prevent disease and mold growth. The pile of eggs has also gotten smaller. I'm assuming some of them were laid by the worker as a food source for the developing larva. 

 

On the bright side, she has two large larva. I caught a video of them eating fish food on their bellies!

 

Queen 2

This queen had a pupa but she ate it. In the following photo you can see the worker's head. I saw her nibbling on it earlier. I wonder what happened.


Edited by Scrixx, May 30 2018 - 3:42 PM.

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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#8 Offline Scrixx - Posted June 14 2018 - 12:06 PM

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Myrmecocystus mexicanus

I don't think this colony will make it. There's nothing really going on in the test tube. Queen and worker are just idling. 

 

Myrmecocystus mimicus

I don't see a new pupa nor the large larva but I see a new pile of eggs. The worker is missing and I don't see it's body. The entrance to the nest has also been closed off with dirt. I haven't given up on this colony yet.

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus 

Queen 1 was acting weak and has died. The pupa failed and shriveled up. On the bright side, Queen 2 is back in action! She's got a worker, a pupa, and a large larva that should pupate in days. There's a decent brood pile and she's energetic and moving around!

 


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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#9 Offline Karma - Posted June 17 2018 - 10:30 PM

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Love the look of pogonomyrmex! 



#10 Offline Scrixx - Posted June 17 2018 - 11:05 PM

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Love the look of pogonomyrmex! 

 

Haha yeah! Pogonomyrmex are awesome. I like how Pogonomyrmex rugosus will stand their ground and try to fight you instead of running away. 


  • Karma likes this

ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#11 Offline Enderz - Posted June 18 2018 - 1:27 AM

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Love the look of pogonomyrmex! 

 

Haha yeah! Pogonomyrmex are awesome. I like how Pogonomyrmex rugosus will stand their ground and try to fight you instead of running away. 

 

That is exactly what the vicinus queens do to my syringe/tweezers :D


Dorymyrmex insanus is superior to all others. 

Vive le roi!  I am a staunch traditionalist-conservative.


#12 Offline Scrixx - Posted June 18 2018 - 5:40 PM

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Love the look of pogonomyrmex! 

 

Haha yeah! Pogonomyrmex are awesome. I like how Pogonomyrmex rugosus will stand their ground and try to fight you instead of running away. 

 

That is exactly what the vicinus queens do to my syringe/tweezers :D

 

 

Yeah in a test tube setup. I mean when you're out collecting queens. Pogonomyrmex rugosus is the only species I encountered so far that will stop moving and try to bite you. They'll start biting the air and point their gaster outwards.


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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#13 Offline Scrixx - Posted July 17 2018 - 8:02 PM

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Pogonomyrmex rugosus

This queen has basically made a full recovery! She's now at 4 workers with a couple of larvae and a pile of eggs. She's officially over a year old but she managed to go through the founding stages again! I offered them a wild grass seed and they took it. Thing is, it's really long at 4x their length. They managed to take the seed out of the seed casing though and are eating it. 

 

 

 

Pogonomyrmex californicus

Out of the 16 queens I caught, 10 of them died. That leaves 6 queens. One of them seems infertile so there are really only 5 queens. That's a really low success rate of 31%.

 

This is the queen with two workers and they're really really small. I gave them a Nurb's pencil case setup so hopefully they will grow quickly!

 


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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#14 Offline Theused1 - Posted July 21 2018 - 11:52 PM

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Scrixx, I've noticed people comment about how the pogonomyrmex rugosus don't fare well in test tubes. I just recently got 8 queens, but one died due to injuries (I think), three or four of the others have laid eggs already. Have you had any trouble with them pulling at the cotton or being in the testtubes at all?
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#15 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted July 22 2018 - 9:26 AM

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How much larger are P. rugosus queens and workers than Pogonomyrmex in the Occidentalis group/subgenus (don't remember which)?
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#16 Offline Scrixx - Posted July 22 2018 - 11:20 AM

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Scrixx, I've noticed people comment about how the pogonomyrmex rugosus don't fare well in test tubes. I just recently got 8 queens, but one died due to injuries (I think), three or four of the others have laid eggs already. Have you had any trouble with them pulling at the cotton or being in the testtubes at all?

 

It's actually awful. My success rate this year for Pogonomyrmex californicus is 25%, 16 queens caught, 5 survivors, 4 fertile ones. To compare, my success rate for other species such as Camponotus and Formica are all around 66%. I haven't caught Pogonomyrmex rugosus yet as I was away during the first monsoons.

 

Assuming I catch P. rugosus, I will do a test. I will place at least 5 queens in a full natural dirt setup and the rest in a dirt test tube setup to compare. I was able to found them last year in a variety of containers when I ran out of test tubes. I founded 1 successfully in a water bottle, 5 died, 6 in a stackable pill containers with wet cotton, all 6 founded but 4 died after founding, and 2 in a test tubes, both founded but they failed slowly. The most successful ones I had was placing them straight into an outworld on the first worker. 3 had 6+ workers before being killed by argentine ants. They seem to found better and easier than P. californicus, the failures are mainly my fault for not having proper setups for all of them after founding. I'll be better prepared this year.

 

I suspect the low success rate for the P. californicus has something to do with feeding. I lost 3 queens the day after feeding on three occasions despite having larva and pupa. I will test it next year if I catch enough. My theory is that they don't tolerate sugary liquids as well as other species. It takes a very long time for them to drink compared to Camponotus and Formica despite only being slightly smaller. Even when first encountering sugary liquids they don't seem to know what to do, they'll walk past it, check the air with their antennas, then drink. Afterwards, they do this odd drunken walking where they walk across the grout in a zigzag pattern while scraping their jaws on the ground. Very odd and not normal behavior so I may move away from sugary liquids for this species, or even the whole genus. I have also observed the same reaction with P. rugosus. 


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ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#17 Offline Scrixx - Posted July 22 2018 - 11:28 AM

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How much larger are P. rugosus queens and workers than Pogonomyrmex in the Occidentalis group/subgenus (don't remember which)?

 

I'm not sure what the Occidentalis group is. P. rugosus is 10mm~ while P. californicus and P. subnitidus are 8mm~. I just measured my dry mounted specimens. P. rugosus seems to be thicker and stockier as well compared to P. californicus and P. subnitidus


ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#18 Offline Theused1 - Posted July 22 2018 - 9:10 PM

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Thanks for the info. Taking your experience with P. rugosus into account, I think releasing the queens into an outworld formicarium as soon as they have workers and sticking to seeds for food will increase any likelyhood of success. Right now the 7 survivors seem to be settling in the dirt test tubes. I placed a heating cable nearby today but it seemed that they did not feel comfortable with the added heat so I disconnected it. They seem to have laid eggs without the heat so it should be alright. I'm near temecula, so I'm not sure they even need a heat source, but many people have seemed to be successful with P. rugosus and heat.
Thanks again!

#19 Offline WestLA_DO - Posted July 23 2018 - 10:31 PM

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This is just one observation but wanted to give my $0.02. My P. californicus colony is over a year old now and probably over 400/500 workers (hard to get an exact count on so many running around). I've never given them any surgery liquids, just crushed up sunflower seeds, whole black niger seeds, Kentucky bluegrass seeds, poppy seeds, and different types of proteins (mealworms, crickets, fruit flies, dubia roaches), and they seem to be thriving. So yeah no need to give them sugar water.
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#20 Offline Scrixx - Posted July 25 2018 - 10:25 AM

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  • LocationSan Bernardino County, CA.

Well just as expected, had a worker die from my P. rugosus colony after feeding sugary liquids again. On the bright side, a larger worker just eclosed.

 

This is just one observation but wanted to give my $0.02. My P. californicus colony is over a year old now and probably over 400/500 workers (hard to get an exact count on so many running around). I've never given them any surgery liquids, just crushed up sunflower seeds, whole black niger seeds, Kentucky bluegrass seeds, poppy seeds, and different types of proteins (mealworms, crickets, fruit flies, dubia roaches), and they seem to be thriving. So yeah no need to give them sugar water.

 

Hey thanks for sharing, I'll be doing that from now on for this entire genus. 


ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

YouTube: View my ants

Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: myrmecocystus mexicanus, myrmecocystus mimicus, pogonomyrmex rugosus

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