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Oddy's Ant Keeping Journal

crematogaster cerasi acrobat ants ant journal ant keeping

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#1 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 25 2019 - 4:47 PM

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SW Missouri, just outside Mark Twain Forest.

 

7/22: Found ant colony inside 99 dodge durango engine just above grill. Colony was huge, 1000+ workers, with 1000+ larvae, pupae,eggs all lined up. Colony was also very close to a active wasp nest. Captured queen and 20+ workers with some pupae, eggs and larvae. This thriving part of the colony is now inside a coffee can waiting on their new home.

 

7/25: After enough research I finally figured out the type of Crematogaster they are! They are Crematogaster Cerasi! This will help me take proper care of them and help them bring their colony back to glory in their new home which I am ordering tomorrow!



#2 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted July 25 2019 - 4:55 PM

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You should go back and get WAY more workers. Colonies rarely survive long when you collect only a few dozen workers out of several thousand. When I take mature colonies (this is a very rare occurrence) I take AT LEAST 500 workers.

Edit: But there are exceptions. Like Monomorium, or Solenopsis. I took about a hundred workers and four queens from a mature Monomorium minimum colony a few months ago, and now they are pushing 500 workers with thousands of brood and some alates.

Edited by Ant_Dude2908, July 25 2019 - 5:00 PM.


#3 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 25 2019 - 4:59 PM

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It's too late they're all moved out now. Hopefully I'll be able to give them everything else they need and they'll be able to make a come back.


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#4 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 25 2019 - 7:19 PM

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You should go back and get WAY more workers. Colonies rarely survive long when you collect only a few dozen workers out of several thousand. When I take mature colonies (this is a very rare occurrence) I take AT LEAST 500 workers.

Edit: But there are exceptions. Like Monomorium, or Solenopsis. I took about a hundred workers and four queens from a mature Monomorium minimum colony a few months ago, and now they are pushing 500 workers with thousands of brood and some alates.

 

So as i'm sure you are probably correct I was curious about the details of why? Since I took what I thought was an appropriate amount of workers for the amount of unborn ants, will the queen not continue to re-produce? The colony should be fine as long as it continues to be replaced with workers, is that not the case?



#5 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 25 2019 - 8:48 PM

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7/25/2019 11:47PM CST: Added a test food dish of strawberry preservatives and peanut butter to see if the ants are interested in either one. The ants obviously know something new is in their territory and searching for what this new smell is but have yet to find it. We shall see if they are interested by morning.



#6 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 25 2019 - 9:32 PM

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7/26/2019 12:31AM CST: Just realized when I removed the pepperoni they didn't like, it had no cheese on it. They ate all the cheese off the pepperoni. I wonder what other kinds of cheese they may like? Or did they only like it because it was greasy from the pepperoni?


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#7 Offline AntsDakota - Posted July 26 2019 - 3:00 PM

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You should go back and get WAY more workers. Colonies rarely survive long when you collect only a few dozen workers out of several thousand. When I take mature colonies (this is a very rare occurrence) I take AT LEAST 500 workers.

Edit: But there are exceptions. Like Monomorium, or Solenopsis. I took about a hundred workers and four queens from a mature Monomorium minimum colony a few months ago, and now they are pushing 500 workers with thousands of brood and some alates.

I once captured a wild colony of Solenopsis molesta which, suprising, had seventy or eighty queen! I caught around sixty queens and a couple hundred workers. Unfortunately, they died in hibernation. :*(

 

They also accepted queen dealates.


Edited by AntsDakota, July 26 2019 - 3:02 PM.

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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


#8 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 27 2019 - 8:04 AM

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7/27/2019 11:01 AM CST: The ants have been keeping pretty busy! Although it is difficult to see them well and I hate having to use a flash light until their new home arrives I have noticed they have stayed constantly busy in their current coffee can home. Surprisingly they don't seem amazingly interested in peanut butter or strawberry preservatives although a few have taken an interest. They also have enjoyed a bit of honey but nothing has interested them enough to form a line and start bringing them back, although this could possibly be for a lack of workers and a majority staying hidden helping take care of pupae and and eggs. 

 

I'm going to pick some black raspberries and see if they take a liking to those.


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#9 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 27 2019 - 12:38 PM

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I would definitely advise getting a variety of feeder insects for them. My Crematogaster love crickets and dubia roaches.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#10 Offline Acutus - Posted July 27 2019 - 1:01 PM

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I would definitely advise getting a variety of feeder insects for them. My Crematogaster love crickets and dubia roaches.

 

Yes!! What he said!! and Fruit flies and beetles and anything else insect I put in there! LOL!


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Formica subsericea


#11 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 27 2019 - 1:09 PM

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I would definitely advise getting a variety of feeder insects for them. My Crematogaster love crickets and dubia roaches.

 

I did put a newly dead beetle in there but for some reason they seem to have completely ignored it for 2 days now. However, today I put in a few fresh meal worms. They were alive (fresh from outside) and I'm not completely sure they are aggressive enough to actually kill them themselves. Might need to find one, kill one, then put in there to see if they are interested or not.


Edited by Oddyseous, July 27 2019 - 1:10 PM.


#12 Offline Acutus - Posted July 27 2019 - 1:18 PM

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If beetles are really hard shelled it's best to cut them in half lengthwise from head to butt.


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Formica subsericea


#13 Offline Oddyseous - Posted July 27 2019 - 4:10 PM

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If beetles are really hard shelled it's best to cut them in half lengthwise from head to butt.

 

Got it i'll do that, and meal worms should those be dead or alive?



#14 Offline Acutus - Posted July 27 2019 - 4:17 PM

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If beetles are really hard shelled it's best to cut them in half lengthwise from head to butt.


Got it i'll do that, and meal worms should those be dead or alive?
I give them to them cut up in sections that way can they can access the good parts from each side.

Edited by Acutus, July 27 2019 - 4:18 PM.

Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Formica subsericea


#15 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 27 2019 - 4:27 PM

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Please read this:
http://www.formicult...ners/#entry1409
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#16 Offline Oddyseous - Posted August 7 2019 - 10:56 AM

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08/07/2019 1:48PM CST: So great news! My new ant habitat from Ants Canada the Large Tower finally came so I was able to get my colony out of this darn coffee can. I filled it with the sand that came with the Large Tower and then put in a small dish for food, some dead wood from outside, and a leaf on top of it. I read they often make nests under leaves and wood and I wanted to entice them as much as possible to move out of the coffee can. In only about 30 minutes or so they immediately moved their colony and queen to the tube connecting the coffee can to this new home of theirs. And that's how it stayed until I went to sleep.

 

Well, I woke up the next morning and wait a minute? What's this? Brown dirt? a layer of brown dirt that didn't exist before I went to sleep now covers the entire top layer of the AC Large Tower. Then I see them moving in and out of tiny holes in the wood. They spent ALL NIGHT tunneling through the wood which I had no idea they would do, making new homes inside of the wood itself. So now I barely get to see many of them because most are inside the wood but it is interesting watching them work building new tunnels. That brown sand turned out to be saw dust from them burrowing new homes in the wood! 

 

 So I picked up the last worker wandering around the coffee can (They don't seem to bite at all) and put him in the Large Tower I have yet to name. I do wish I had a habitat that was wider instead of deep now, but I can always connect one down the road. The colony has also grown in size! It currently stands at somewhere around 50+ workers. They enjoy honey, they don't seem to care about beetles I tore in half this time hoping they would eat. In fact I have been unsuccessful in feeding them any protein period and it's really bothering me. They have a lot of workers that need to be created and that takes a lot of protein. They didn't like a fatty slice of pork from a pork rib, they don't like baloney, in fact other than honey I have yet to find something they actually seem interested in. Hoping to catch a cricket, and will also try cutting some live meal worms in half for them and see how that goes. 

 

I'll be ordering a new camera this Friday so I can start adding pictures, so stay tuned!


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#17 Offline Oddyseous - Posted August 25 2019 - 12:04 AM

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08/25/2019 12:07AM CST: So a couple of days ago I noticed white mold taking over the wood my arboreal ants have made into their colonies home. This immediately worried me, will this white mold be the end of my first ant colony? No! I won't allow it, and if it's dangerous to my ants it's my opinion my ant colony would be aware of it and move to a new safer home should they have the option! So, in this emergency I didn't have time to wait to order a new ant habitat and have it arrive in the mail; so I went to Dollar General (the only chain in the 200 population village I live next to) to find a suitable container to make a new ant habitat. 

 

 I found a mostly clear, not as clear as glass but mostly clear plastic container about the size of a 10 gallon fish tank. It's air tight and meant to keep important documents safe from humidity, so it should definitely be safe to keep my ants in (they shouldn't be able to escape!). So I get home and proceed outside to my yard to cut squares out of different areas to build my new ant habitat how i'd like. One square of grass, Another square of less grass, and then two squares of just dirt for easy visibility and to allow me to have an open area to add and remove food items as well as viewing. 

 

 I also found a piece of wood from a tree shaped like a stump and the size of one of the squares, it was perfect! I knew my ants would love to live in it! So I added that. I then proceeded to figure out the size of the tubing used by AntsCanada with my Large Ant Tower my ants are currently in by comparing it to different drill bits. I found out the Ants Canada tubing is exactly 1/2 inch. So using a 1/2inch drill bit it fits air tight into anything. Perfect! 

 

 So about to drill my hole and connect the two, excited to see how long it takes them to find the new home and move in, I noticed something.... What??? Ants are trailing out of one of the grass squares into the piece of wood I picked for my ants! Carrying larvae, eggs and all! No!!!! My new ant habitat has been taken over by some random sugar ant colony that just happened to be in the grass I dug up! DISASTER!

 

 I then run outside with the new ant habitat and toss the wood and the square cut of grass/dirt outside. Most ants were in one or the other, although a couple sugar ant workers do remain it shouldn't be enough to bother my ants. I then replace the square cuts of grass with new grass and find a new piece of wood. Not quite happy with my new wood not wanting to risk using the old wood I place a brick shaped piece of wood to in the ant habitat to replace the previous one. 

 

 What about oxygen? They might not need much but I definitely want to make sure they have enough. So I start cutting the top of the container and make a  6x6 inch hole in the middle. I then take some cloth materiel used to greenhouse/protect plants but still allow them to breathe (which works perfect, and no my ants can't get through it) and put Guerrilla Glue around the top of the square cut hole then slap the cloth on top. Side note, I had to heat up the knife I used to cut the hole into the plastic to avoid cutting. I covered my face with my shirt while I did it, and quickly opened a window as well. In the future for anyone reading this I'd recommend a face mask and to do this outside. Unlike what I did myself, which was risky.

 

 So now I have my new setup and FINALLY can connect the two habitats and SAVE MY COLONY! VICTORY!

 

 It didn't take long for my ants to find the new ant habitat is connected, I believe this is probably due to the new smells quickly filling the AC Large Ant Tower they were currently in. Here is how it's gone the past 3 days of my ants having this build:

 

  •  Day 1: They spent a full 24 hours exploring this new area, and making sure it was safe for the colony to re-locate.
  •  Day 2: Massive movements, they moved the Queen, but what's odd is I didn't see them move the larvae, eggs, pupae, etc... ? I assumed I just missed it so I disconnected the two habitats.
  •  Day 3: I notice lots of movement from lots of ants in the old habitat so I reconnected the two and noticed them move the larvae, eggs and pupae I didn't see prior, I assumed they would have done this at the same time as the queen. I suspect they did some but not all and I just didn't see it. The colony is still slightly short workers (50-100 total currently) so this could be a reason for it. I'm going to leave the two connected a couple more days and see how it goes. I'd really like to disconnect the two so the white mold doesn't infect the new habitat.

Full View Picture (I'm ordering my new camera Monday sorry)

20190825-024330-1.jpg

 

Old Habitat AntsCanada Large Tower

20190825-024344-1.jpg

 

Front View of New Ant Habitat

20190825-024357-1.jpg

 

Top View of New Ant Habitat Oxygen/Greenhouse mesh hole

20190825-024433-1.jpg

 

Notes on my build: I realize some people don't like giving their ants any dirt or things that could possibly be harmful. I'd like to mention I did my best to make sure this habitat was safe, including letting it sit for an hour and keeping an eye on it to see if anything dangerous to the ants popped out. I'm also a big believer that whatever you keep in captivity, ants or otherwise will be the most happy, making them the most active and healthy (this usually follows happy) in a environment most naturally resembling their own. So for this reason, I gave them the same environment they were in prior to me capturing them. There are also benefits to this, such as any dead insect inside the environment actually gets absorbed naturally into the soil by microbes that naturally live in the soil itself. So it ends up being extremely sanitary with zero or little maintenance needed. So there are a lot of benefits to a natural build. 

 

  The ultimate goal is not only to be a close resemblance to the forest I live in (Yes I live in the middle of a forest) but also to be as low maintenance as possible and a side goal of self sustaining. I'll be trying to grow strawberry plants or other fruitful vegetation that my ants would possible enjoy as a food source. With only a test tube of water blocked by a cotton ball, the grass has drops of water on it, and it's all being naturally watered by the humidity inside, even with a 6x6 inch open hole in the top with the greenhouse mesh fabric I used. 

 

 The entire build is really starting to excite me and I consider a on-going prototype to my ultimate build which will be larger, and fully custom built by myself.  However, considering the size of my colony I will have plenty of time to experiment with this current setup before coming to conclusions for my final build.


Edited by Oddyseous, August 25 2019 - 12:40 AM.


#18 Offline Oddyseous - Posted August 25 2019 - 12:10 AM

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08/25/2019 3:10AM CST: I believe they are moving over in smaller groups due to the brand new construction project inside the brick shaped wood log they are carving out and building in. This would make sense, only so much room in the beginning. Question solved.


Edited by Oddyseous, August 25 2019 - 12:23 AM.


#19 Offline BeginnerAntKeeper - Posted August 25 2019 - 2:15 AM

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Perhaps you could have kept the sugar ant colony that you accidentally dig up...?

#20 Offline Oddyseous - Posted August 25 2019 - 8:31 AM

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Perhaps you could have kept the sugar ant colony that you accidentally dig up...?

1st, I had no way of validating they had a queen. 2nd, I have no where to put them if I kept them. 3rd, I was in the middle of an emergency to save my colony. 4, see 1st reason.







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