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Workers attacking each other? Help!

attacking workers nest mates killing

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Derek451 - Posted March 23 2019 - 10:08 PM

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So this is about my Tetramorium Immigrans (formerly species E.) colony, which is my very first and only colony. I've had them for almost 2 years now.

 

I've noticed this problem before, but I only thought that I wasn't feeding them enough. However, this week I've been giving them plenty crickets and even nuts, which they pounced on. Hasn't made a difference.

 

So here's the problem: Every so often (like one or two cases a day) I see one worker aggressively tugging (NOT cleaning or grooming) a leg or antennae of another worker, and later stinging them. The victim is often either passive or trying to defend herself (latter is more common if their antennae is the target, must hurt), while the aggressor is fierce, like she's attacking a rival colony member. Passersby never think much of it, just tapping their antennae around calmly a few times, and walking off.

 

If I try to break up the fight, usually one of two things happen: 1) They break apart easily, and the aggressor acts stunned and searches for the victim, or 2) the aggressor NEVER EVER lets go. Usually I notice another dead body the next day.

 

This happens anywhere, inside or outside the nest.

 

I will link a video of one case. This isn't the best example, since most of the fighting was already over. The victim here is dazed, like she has just been stung. I used some heavy image stabilization, the original video is terribly shaky.

 

 

Ask if you need another better video, or more details about my setup.


Edited by Derek451, March 23 2019 - 10:13 PM.


#2 Offline drtrmiller - Posted March 24 2019 - 12:03 AM

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Unless the problem is chronic and endangering the colony, you should probably just ignore it.  The "victimized" worker could possibly have a disease which is causing other colony members to want to dispose of it.


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#3 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted March 24 2019 - 5:23 AM

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Unless the problem is chronic and endangering the colony, you should probably just ignore it.  The "victimized" worker could possibly have a disease which is causing other colony members to want to dispose of it.


That is what I was thinking...

#4 Offline Derek451 - Posted March 24 2019 - 9:17 AM

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Unless the problem is chronic and endangering the colony, you should probably just ignore it. The "victimized" worker could possibly have a disease which is causing other colony members to want to dispose of it.


This has been happening from a year ago, so quite a long time. What makes me worried is their out world is a sterile as can be. I use gloves for everything, only put in freshly killed store-bought crickets (and haven't seen any mites so far). So I am worried because I don't see a possible reason why they are killing each other.

Also, their population took a steep dive during the last hibernation (kept them at 47° F, didn't seem to be low enough). I am trying to build their population up quickly (ordered heating cable) so they aren't so susceptible to my mistakes in the future.

So although the deaths aren't happening at a fast rate, they are a bit of a concern to me. I hope you guys could share some tips or something for me to at least try before assuming it's natural. Thx

#5 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 24 2019 - 2:47 PM

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The workers they are killing may be slightly deformed, which may make the colony want to get rid of them. Try changing the humidity or give them a bigger gradient so the pupae can develop and eclose properly.

I'm not sure if this is the root cause, but I have seen this happen in many myrmicnaes, the workers simply kill freshly or recently eclosed workers if the humdity is not right and/or the worker is deformed even the slightest bit.

#6 Offline Derek451 - Posted March 24 2019 - 2:55 PM

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These are always matured adults (pitch black exoskeletons). I've never seen this happen with young adults.


Edited by Derek451, March 24 2019 - 2:55 PM.


#7 Offline Derek451 - Posted March 24 2019 - 3:00 PM

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The workers they are killing may be slightly deformed, which may make the colony want to get rid of them. Try changing the humidity or give them a bigger gradient so the pupae can develop and eclose properly.

I'm not sure if this is the root cause, but I have seen this happen in many myrmicnaes, the workers simply kill freshly or recently eclosed workers if the humdity is not right and/or the worker is deformed even the slightest bit.

 

These are always matured adults (pitch black exoskeletons). I've never seen this happen with young adults.

 

Can I not delete replies after I posted them?


Edited by Derek451, March 24 2019 - 3:01 PM.


#8 Offline Serafine - Posted March 24 2019 - 3:12 PM

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What makes me worried is their out world is a sterile as can be. I use gloves for everything, only put in freshly killed store-bought crickets (and haven't seen any mites so far).

First, make sure your gloves aren't powdered, small powder particles may affect ants and confuse their senses.
Second, how big is your formicarium? Incidents like these often happen in small poorly ventilated enclosures because the alarm pheromones stay there forever and the more aggressive elder workers will just go nuts.

Edited by Serafine, March 24 2019 - 3:13 PM.

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#9 Offline Derek451 - Posted March 24 2019 - 3:25 PM

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What makes me worried is their out world is a sterile as can be. I use gloves for everything, only put in freshly killed store-bought crickets (and haven't seen any mites so far).

First, make sure your gloves aren't powdered, small powder particles may affect ants and confuse their senses.
Second, how big is your formicarium? Incidents like these often happen in small poorly ventilated enclosures because the alarm pheromones stay there forever and the more aggressive elder workers will just go nuts.

 

 

My gloves are unpowdered nitrile exam gloves.

 

I will link my setup. I leave the lid off the outworld most of the time (I use PTFE)

 

https://www.antkeepi...outworld-medium

 

https://www.antkeepi...nts-ytong-small



#10 Offline drtrmiller - Posted March 24 2019 - 6:56 PM

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Ants identify colony members based on smell, and they typically attack things that do not smell the way they expect.  Anything that could be changing the way colony members smell or perceive one another's smell could contribute to the behavior you have described.  If there is a genetic or pathological component to the problem behavior, there is likely no corrective action you could take to eliminate the behavior except to remove the affected ants and hope the problem doesn't spread.


Edited by drtrmiller, March 24 2019 - 6:57 PM.

 
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#11 Offline Derek451 - Posted March 24 2019 - 7:05 PM

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Ants identify colony members based on smell, and they typically attack things that do not smell the way they expect.  Anything that could be changing the way colony members smell or perceive one another's smell could contribute to the behavior you have described.  If there is a genetic or pathological component to the problem behavior, there is likely no corrective action you could take to eliminate the behavior except to remove the affected ants and hope the problem doesn't spread.

 

Alright.

 

If you can, could you leave this topic open for a few days longer?



#12 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 24 2019 - 9:34 PM

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Topics remain open most of the time, unless they are completely useless and or off topic and out of control.

#13 Offline anttics - Posted April 6 2019 - 12:42 PM

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I'm having the same issues. My Cockerellis are having a small civil war. So far 10 ants have been killed. Plus many more whi had their gaster removed will die soon as well. I estimate 20 to 30 workers will die. Here are some videos

https://i.imgur.com/gvgnELk.gifv

https://i.imgur.com/vlOvf09.gifv
In this video you can see how one ants is pulled. Goes submissive, once the aggressor leaves she runs away. I'm confused about what is happening.

#14 Offline drtrmiller - Posted April 6 2019 - 2:13 PM

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As previously stated, the problem can only have one of 2 possible root causes:

1) Environmental - Something in the immediate environment is affecting the ant's odor or the way in which the ants perceive odors

 

2) Pathological - A disease or disorder is affecting the way the ants normally behave

 

It's up to you to try different things in hopes of resolving the issue.


Edited by drtrmiller, April 6 2019 - 2:18 PM.

 
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byFormica ant products always deliver consistent performance, convenience,
and reliability, making them among the most beloved ant foods and kit enjoyed by
ant keeping enthusiasts worldwide. For more information, visit www.byFormica.com.

#15 Offline FeedTheAnts - Posted April 6 2019 - 3:03 PM

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Are you sure the ants aren't just trying to move the other worker. Just going by the video it looks like the same behavior I see in a lot of ants, usually when you attach a nest to their setup. Workers will drag other workers or pick them up entirely and move them if the are being stubborn.


Colonies:                                                                      Founding queens:

Crematogaster ashmeadi -- 2500 workers             Colobopsis sp -- 3 queens  

Camponotus chromaiodes -- 100 workers             Solenopsis (not "fire ant") sp --4 queens

Formica pallidefulva -- 60 workers                     Pheidole sp -- 2 queens

                                                                                    Tetramorium sp -- 1 queen


#16 Offline anttics - Posted April 6 2019 - 3:36 PM

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Are you sure the ants aren't just trying to move the other worker. Just going by the video it looks like the same behavior I see in a lot of ants, usually when you attach a nest to their setup. Workers will drag other workers or pick them up entirely and move them if the are being stubborn.


Not a chance this is not the case. They are in the main nest. And when they are pulled for a few mm. As a show of force. And well. 20 workers torn to peaces so far. It might be the heat cable. Which was super hot I took it out. And they have calm down. But are still trying to bite the hydrostone floor. Nothing incan really do but let it play out.





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