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Camponotus Pennsylvanicus - Western Massachusetts


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#1 Offline Scherme - Posted June 7 2019 - 1:01 PM

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Ant Catching Spots
 
This is my spot apparently and I am starting to notice a theme here. 
 
The first queen of each species I have caught were somewhere in this picture, AND I found them when I wasn't looking for queens at all. 
Prenolepis Imparis landed on the table while I was taking a break after several hours of looking for ants.
I was standing at the top of the stairs when my first Lasius Neoniger landed on my shoulder, and then I caught 8 more. See my other journals for those stories, but most have eggs now. 
 
So finally, the species I have been waiting for. The GOLIATH of ants around my parts. The epitome of ants as I think of them: Camponotus Pennsylvanicus 
 
I had gone out several evenings looking for a flight. around 1830 and then 2000. On the warmest days so far in the year. Sometimes late at night I went out with a flashlight and nothing.
I had almost given up.
 
I was up late last night reading a new book, later than I should have been. My dog was begging to go outside and I begrudgingly got up. 
Upon flipping on the light, I noticed in spot #3 of the picture a large black bug scurrying across the deck. I instantly recognized her.
 
I had no time, and I jumped on her, cupping my hands in  hopes she would crawl into them. For some reason she complied and I ran back into the house..
 
Thankfully I had test tube setups stashed everywhere ready to go. In she went and I even stuffed in some extra cotton because I heard they can be cotton pullers.
 
She is in the dark at the moment and I am extremely excited but I will give her a few days and snag some pics this weekend!
 
I go the flashlight out and did a sweep around the house and didn't find another unfortunately, I have heard there is a high mortality rate in captivity for this species. Wish me luck!

 


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Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#2 Offline Fitzysgto - Posted June 7 2019 - 6:06 PM

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should have been with me the other day when I was at my brothers. I got 12 queens. all but 2 had wings. this was during the day. I can't imagine what it was like at night.



#3 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted June 7 2019 - 7:06 PM

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I snagged one yesterday in Michigan.
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#4 Offline Scherme - Posted June 7 2019 - 7:43 PM

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should have been with me the other day when I was at my brothers. I got 12 queens. all but 2 had wings. this was during the day. I can't imagine what it was like at night.

where was the invite? 


Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#5 Offline Scherme - Posted June 25 2019 - 9:03 AM

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The ups and downs have been real. Things were going well, she had even laid eggs. I made the mistake of adding too big of a drop of honey to her chamber. 

 

I watched her discover it and she seems to start drinking it.

 

A few days later she was scrambling around the chamber with honey footprints everywhere, her eggs in a pool of honey. 

 

I let her go. Not sure how she will fare, but at least she is better off without me trying to interfere. 

 

Too little experience, too little patience, and too much on my plate. 

 

Very frustrating, C. Pennsylvanicus was my target species. I am trying to learn from this unfortunate experience. 

 

My attention back to my Neonigers until I learn more, and am able to balance life/ants. 


Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#6 Offline Scherme - Posted September 21 2020 - 11:16 AM

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I recently adopted a colony with 40+ workers along with a colony of Chromaiodes with roughly equivalent worker count from a member of this forum. They can reveal themselves if they so choose, nothing sketchy just have not asked their wishes about being included in the journal. 

 

Both colonies came in custom 3d printed formicariums that look great, but no outworld.

 

I got my 2 AC TT portals attached with tubes for both water and sugar water and threw a frozen grasshopper in just to give them options as they settle down from their journey. 
 The abdomens were quite swollen with food when I got them but they quickly began drinking from both tubes. 

 

The size difference from my Tetras or even my previous Lasius is awesome and also the different sizes among workers of the same colony is huge! What GIANT queens, they are great to watch.

I was able to closely witness a lot of trophallaxis which was a first for me and I enjoy it. 

 

Both colonies seem to be filling their current nests quite well, and I have been told they can be slow growing, but I still have to think about expansion. I think getting a couple more small 3d printed nests and attaching them to the current is the best route, I have several options there. 

 

I ordered a 2 pack of 4x4x4 inch clear plastic cubes with lids that I plant to turn into outworlds for these 2 colonies. Was $12 total and I think they should work perfectly. 

 

I have also recently obtained a 1/2 sized refrigerator. Much newer than the old mini fridge that I planned to use to hibernate everything and has much more room. Going to move that down to

the basement shortly, hook up the thermostat and keep an eye on the temps that I can sustain as I prepare to cool the ladies down. 

 

I noticed the Penns to be quite shy compared to the Chromas but I have had them for just over 24 hours at this point.

 

I did get a 15x macro lens for my phone camera. I figured bigger ants would be easier to get pics of, but they are also faster ants so... not yet. 

Here is a quick pic. 

First Day

 

I am excited and very thankful for the opportunity to keep these colonies, I hope I don't screw it up. I am also glad to have made the in person connection.

 

I will pretty much copy and paste this into a new journal for the Chromas


Edited by Scherme, September 21 2020 - 11:37 AM.

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Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#7 Offline Scherme - Posted October 12 2020 - 5:44 PM

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another copy and paste update for both my camponotus journals:

 

They started dying.. not all of them but enough to worry me.

 

I fed them the same stuff I fed my tetras.

 

Was it an end of year die off? It looks to be so because it has almost stopped.

 

They have no interest in protein and even pretty much stopped water and sugar water intake. They sit motionless huddled together.

 

So what do I do? My plan: Give em what they want, diapause. I pulled the heating cable away to let them cool to room temp.

Next step is to drop em slowly week per week until they sit at about 45 degrees F.

 

I pulled their outworlds off as they arent using them, it will be easy enough to manage them over winter with the AC TT portals. 

 

The ones that are alive look healthy, the queens look healthy. If i bump or jostle them they do scurry around for a bit and settle back down. 

 

I am not too worried, I am going to get them in the fridge and do infrequent check ups and i hope for a bounce back next year. 


Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#8 Offline AntsDakota - Posted October 13 2020 - 7:26 AM

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Camponotus are notorious for random, pointless die-offs, and many believe it is due to a lack of urea (the chemical found in pee), as they usually collect this in the wild. Try giving yours some bird poop or other material with a high urea content (But only a little piece, they don't need a lot).


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"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#9 Offline Scherme - Posted October 13 2020 - 8:31 AM

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Camponotus are notorious for random, pointless die-offs, and many believe it is due to a lack of urea (the chemical found in pee), as they usually collect this in the wild. Try giving yours some bird poop or other material with a high urea content (But only a little piece, they don't need a lot).

Oh man! I completely forgot, the previous owner did suggest to put a drop of diesel exhaust fluid in their water! crap


Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#10 Offline Scherme - Posted January 4 2021 - 10:18 AM

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First update of 2021. No much has changed but I will try to remember everything that has happened so far.

 

The chromas and penns journals are still pretty much identical. 

 

I ended up disconnecting their outworld since they were not using it anyway and refreshing a AC TT portal with both sugarwater and water test tubes.

 

This time I added a ratio of 1/25 drops of DEF to their sugar water. I bought the smallest jug I could find.. 4 gallons lol I will be set on DEF for life. 

 

External thermostat and controller set to 48 Fahrenheit on a 1/3rd size fridge in my basement.  When it kicks on it dips slightly below that temp. 

 

I have checked on both colonies every couple of weeks. I have lost more workers, but each queen still has a small ball of workers huddled around her.

 

I will start to warm them up at the beginning or the end of February. 


Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#11 Offline Scherme - Posted February 19 2021 - 10:31 AM

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The Penns are awake. This past Saturday along with the Chromas (RIP).

Workers took a day to warm up, queenie took about 6 days. I tried not to peak in often, sometimes I couldn't help myself. 

 

I offered some mealworms, a smidge of cat food and kept their sugar and water tubes in place. They actually seemed to take some of the cat food? Idk I pulled it out when it dried up. 

 

I wasn't surprised to see a sleepy queen. 

20210216 175635 (2)

Hard to see here, sorry

 

What I WAS  suprised to see was larvae. 

20210216 175451 (2)

 

A BUNCH of larvae.

20210216 175425 (2)
 
I did not know larvae hibernated, so I assumed they were dead? I was enlightened. Eggs and pupae don't winter, but larvae apparently do. Great news! 
 I haven't bothered to get an accurate worker count yet, I am just happy they exist. 
 
I setup a full size Schermicarium V2 with auto-water, to a T connector to a 4" cube outworld with poured Ultracal 30 similarly to the new outworld I made for my Tetra and 3rd connection to the nest they came in. 
During the setup I saw the queen running around, looks like she is up to speed. 
 
They started exploring the new nest very shortly after. 
 
I setup a Wyze camera on the outworld and watched them while at work. Several workers explored the outworld, then proceeded to drink up some sugar. I even saw a bubble rise inside the liquid feeder. 
The camera is not made for macro shots, they are indoor security cams essentially. I am going to see what I can do about that. They are awesome cameras besides that.
Screenshot 20210219 083214 Wyze (2)

 


Edited by Scherme, February 19 2021 - 11:24 AM.

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Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#12 Offline Scherme - Posted March 2 2021 - 11:23 AM

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Something, that I found very interesting, happened as a result of me rushing/cutting corners/being lazy. 

 

I left their nest hooked up via a "t" connector to their new setup for a couple days and was advised to "manually" move them after a certain period. 

 

Now the PROPER way to do this, would have been over a larger tub that has been prepared for the event, but no, that is not the route I chose. 

 

I instead, in all my wisdom, decided to pop the glass off the nest they came in and swiftly exchange them from their current nest into the open topped outworld, with no fluon applied, on top of the 4-tier black plastic shelf I keep them on.

 

As you can probably imagine, my vision of ants pouring like water into their designated area was quickly shattered. Workers clambered up and out of the outworld, onto my hand and down my arms. In their frantic escape, many bodies rained down to various levels of my 4-tier BLACK shelving unit. Can you tell why I might be emphasizing the color of the shelves? 

 

The top to the outworld went on as fast as I could manage, and thankfully did so without crushing a single gaster or snipping a leg or antennae. I spotted the queen, the brood and many workers safely secured within their new enclosure as I reached out for my aspirator. After several rounds of collecting and dumping, I could not spot anymore, but I knew they were there. 

 

I estimated that what remained of the colony was satisfactory, considering what had just occurred. I kept my aspirator at the ready, placed their old empty nest where it had been the past few days on the top shelf and continued on with my day. 

 

It is what happened over the course next 24 hours that really surprised me. 

 

30-60 minutes had passed since the move, and I went in to check on them. The majority were huddled in the tunnel entrance inside the outworld. I went to put their old nest into the area on the shelf designated for dirty supplies, and spotted several Camponotus workers hanging out inside. Surely I did not miss them, they are too big not to notice in a small white formicarium. My first thought, however, was that I failed to completely seal their new nest somehow. I combed every inch of the new setup and was left baffled. I reunited the mysterious missing sisters with their colony, place the old nest back where it was and returned to housework.

 

This happened a handful of times that day. Each time I looked there was 1, 2, or 3 workers just chilling out in the old nest. The last one I found was when I awoke the next morning. 

 

I concluded that these workers found their way from different points in a room they had never been in before, up several levels of shelving, and into their empty home. I took a rough count of the colony and I could very well have every single member. This may or may not be surprising to anyone else, but I feel like it was a very cool result from a very bad decision.  

 

20210227 191151

 

There was a little worry that my Schermicarium V2 with auto-watering system would be too humid for a colony of C. penns, so I made the outworld connect to what I designed to be the drier side of the nest. They initially piled up in the very first chamber, but after a few days they moved further in, toward the more humid side and settled in several chambers around the middle which is exactly what I hoped. 

 

Offering various protein sources (they seem to dig wet catfood) and sunburst, the existing larvae started to gain weight and eventually pupate. I now have cocoons. I haven't looked in a couple days so I am unsure how many, or if any fresh eggs have been laid. I remain hopeful that this colony with expand quickly this year. Quick for Camponotus that is. 


Edited by Scherme, March 2 2021 - 11:29 AM.

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Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#13 Offline antsandmore - Posted March 2 2021 - 3:40 PM

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nice!


Ants I am keeping:

  • Crematogaster colony, queen and 100+(?) workers
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