I found this parasitic Formica queen on July 17, 2014. My first thought was Formica aserva, but she does not act like my previous Formica aserva queen (and nor do her workers) and on closer inspection she lacks a clypheus, so I am awaiting older workers for a positive identification.
I boosted her with 12 Formica podzolica pupae, which all eclosed and accepted her with no issues. They went into hibernation in late October.
I took her out of hibernation in late January. She started laying a few eggs about 2 weeks afterwards.
On April 8th most of the pupae had eclosed without any issues. A small new batch of eggs appeared. One worker was finally venturing into the foraging area on occasion.
There are currently 27 workers and 5 larvae.
It is somewhat difficult to feed them because the workers are so shy and skittish. These are the least aggressive Formica I have ever encountered, usually the 2nd generation workers will at least guard the nest entrance, not run from a fruit fly... The queen kills most of the live fruit flies in the nest, but the workers will collect small cut up pieces of insects if they are dumped right in the tubing entrance.
I love the coloration of this species. Most local Formica with a red head and thorax are extremely aggressive, so I am being very careful to ensure they never escape.
Pretty messy in their nest though. I think they are due for a move to a cleaner home.
October 10, 2014
March 31, 2015
June 13, 2015