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Grandchildrens Camponotus semitestaceus

beginner grandchildren camponotus semitestaceus test tube starter colony

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#1 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted January 19 2020 - 12:33 PM

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My two granddaughters (5 and 3 years old) are afraid of plastic insects.  Yeah, plastic insects.  To help them overcome their irrational fear of insects, I initially decided to get them an Uncle Milton Ant farm. While researching this ant farm, I discovered the AntsCanada website.  My granddaughters and I watched about five videos.  After watching the videos, I asked them if they wanted to raise ants, and they  said yes.  On 1/5/2020, I purchased a large Deluxe AntTower from AntsCanada.
 
I ordered the most massive ants available (Camponotus semitestaceus) from Andrew Smith on 1/10/2020.  He provided me with " C. semitestaceus colony with what looks like over 45 workers" in a test tube.  Upon arrival, I discovered that the postal worker delivered the ant in my mailbox in the vertical position.  The box clearly stated in large red lettering "horizontal."  The ants were in my mailbox for five hours in that position before I discovered them.  They seemed okay.  The queen is alive.  Although I have an AntTower, I put them in a clear box with a 50-watt ceramic heat lamp angled over the corner of the box, and a small heat pad partially under the outside an edge of the box.  I placed rocks inside the box and directly on top of the small corner with the heat pad to radiate heat inside the box.
 
I've been monitoring the temperature with two thermometers on opposite ends of the box,  AND the humidity.  During the day, the temperature is 77 to 78 F, and at night the temperature drops to about 69 to 74 degrees F.  The humidity is fairly constant at 60 to 61%.  The box is covered 22 hours a day.  I've been monitoring the temperature of the box three to four times a day to check for temperature spikes.  There have been none.  
 
I think I have one larva and seven pupae, a queen, and 40 workers.  Initially, the pupae were close to the end of the test tube with the cotton ball, but now they are in the middle of the test tube.  I placed two test tubes inside the box.  One with freshwater and the other with hummingbird nectar.  I feed them a selection of items on daily:  chicken baby food, apple, cheese, honey, and a part of a cut-up meal worm daily.  I saw a worker eat baby food on the first day but since that time I have not caught them eating nor drinking.  I've read that I should feed them once a week and not daily.
 
So, I'll offer them food weekly instead of daily.  
 
I'll post to my Camponotus semitestaceus ants journal weekly on Sundays. 
 
I'm going to research the following for next weeks posting:
  1. Do they clump together for warmth or protection?
  2. How often should I offer food?
  3. Is it okay to feed ants defrosted mealworms and crickets? (I purchased them live and froze them.) 
  4. How do I know if my tank is too hot?  Too cold?
  5. Are they nocturnal?  (They don't move during the day.  I initially though they were dead.)
  6. Is mold growing in the ants test tube? (The cotton in test tube they were shipped has a pink hue.) 
  7. Should I keep the whole tank covered?  Cover part of the tank? 
  8. Should I wrap the ant's test tube in blue tape and keep the tank uncovered?
 
Attached File  Ants Setup.JPG   78.01KB   1 downloads
Attached File  Set Up Overhead View.JPG   88.36KB   1 downloads
Attached File  Queen Norah.JPG   64.8KB   1 downloads
Attached File  Ants Covered Daily.JPG   70.83KB   1 downloads

Edited by MsTesaAnt, January 19 2020 - 12:59 PM.

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#2 Offline Manitobant - Posted January 20 2020 - 7:51 AM

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I would recommend putting some substrate at the bottom of the box such as sand or soil. Not enough for them to dig through though. Also I would cover the test tube with paper or tinfoil.
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My journals:

Polyergus Mexicanus: https://www.formicul...gs/#entry175528

Harpagoxenus canadensis: https://www.formicul...-14th/?p=155079

Lasius minutus: https://www.formicul...cs/#entry174811

#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 20 2020 - 2:23 PM

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I really laud what you’re doing here. If more grandmothers were like you, humans wouldn’t be so hell-bent on causing the extinction of earth’s most numerous and important creatures. I’ll try to answer some of your questions, but I have only kept east coast species of Camponotus.
1) Camponotus are really cautious ants and just spend most of their time clumped up seemingly doing nothing.
2) I personally try to feed my ants as much as possible and let them decide how much they want. Keep in mind that Camponotus have big social stomachs where they can store lots of food to feed the queen and each other.
3) Thawed insects are perfect, it is a humane way to pre-kill food and prevents pathogens.
4) Low 80s is a good temp range. A thermostat could be helpful. Your temps sound fine as is.
5)Camponotus are mostly nocturnal
6) Mold on the cotton is almost inevitable. If it gets too bad, follow the advice on here to move them onto a new tube. Camponotus aren’t that hard to move.
7-8) I like to cover just the test tube. If you cover the whole set up, they will freak out every time you observe or feed them.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Spoiler alert! There is no Deep State.


#4 Offline FSTP - Posted January 20 2020 - 9:52 PM

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What a great project. I wish I could do something simmilar with my neice. However she's about a 6 hour drive away so its not possible. But when she does come over she loves watching my ants and feeding them and helping me with them.


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#5 Offline justanotheramy - Posted January 20 2020 - 11:00 PM

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Just adding to the big grandma points :)

The way kids that age think about ants and observe ants is a lot of fun — I got my ants last year for my daughter's classroom, because her teacher's theme was "Ant Class". Going in most mornings to hang out with 5/6/7 year olds to care for the ants, watch them, talk about them, was a really interesting way to get to know the kids as people, and for the kids to start thinking more closely about the natural world.
The teacher chose "ant class" because the social insect metaphor gives her a way to talk to them about cooperation and helping. I liked being able to encourage them to think critically about language too (she's called a "queen", but is she a ruler with servants? or are they a family who work together?).
Even when the ants were "shy" during the day, we could still look at their outworld and observe how they'd changed it, what they'd moved, experiment with offering them different things — most human food got buried, but one boy's piece of cheese was dragged straight to the refuse pile, that was considered very funny  :lol: 

They seem to know they're not classroom ants anymore and have become chaos ants ;) 
But it was a great experience for all of us, and I think you're doing a lovely thing. (y)


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#6 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted January 24 2020 - 12:50 PM

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Second update.

 

Here are my answers to my questions from my last posting:
 
 
  1. Do they clump together for warmth or protection? Both.
  2. How often should I offer food?   I feed them twice a week and remove the uneaten food daily.
  3. Is it okay to feed ants defrosted meal worms and crickets? Yes.  The queen and larva eat protein, and (I think) the worker ants eat fruit, honey, nectar. 
  4. How do I know if my tank is too hot?  Too cold?  Well, I've been observing my ants.  They move the pupa to the part of the container closest to the heat source.  They seek the warmest spot that is around 80 F.  If the box is too cold, then I observed that they would cover the pupa with their bodies.
  5. Are they nocturnal?  My species is nocturnal.  
  6. Is mold growing in the ant's test tube? No.  I think the pink hue was something else, perhaps food?
  7. Should I keep the whole tank covered?  Cover part of the tank? I covered the entire container with a black cloth AND red plastic film.  Also, I applied a one-inch strip of Vaseline and a one-inch strip of baby powder mixed with alcohol around the inside top of the container and I keep the lid open. 
  8. Should I wrap the ant's test tube in blue tape and keep the tank uncovered?  I wanted to give the queen privacy.  I read online that some ants can't's see red light.  I warped the container in a red transparent film I purchased from Amazon. The queen noticed when I remove the box covering 70% of the time.  So, I believe she belongs to a species of ant that can see red.
 
Things I did last week to make my ants comfortable.
 
  1. Reorganized my ant setup by adding red plastic film around the container and Ant Tower, and used tubing to link the box to the Ant Tower.
  2. A few pupae have hatched, the workers are using the tubing to reach the Ant Tower, and the workers are moving soil from the Ant Tower to their container. 
  3. I'm pretty sure there are more worker ants.
  4. *I was stunned to discover that the pupae were moved to the part of the Test Tube that was directly over the reptile heating pad.  The area over the heating pad must be the ideal temperature needed for hatching the pupa!
  5. I hope they move into the Ant Tower!
 
 

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#7 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted January 25 2020 - 2:54 PM

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Yesterday (12/24/20) night I noticed that ants were digging in the Ant Tower's soil, and they created a small anthill that covered the tube's entrance.  Some people suggested that I add soil to the out world but I have not done that because I don't know how I will be able to identify and remove waste. 

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Edited by MsTesaAnt, January 25 2020 - 2:59 PM.

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#8 Offline dspdrew - Posted January 25 2020 - 4:26 PM

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I like the effort you put into this. The pink in the water is most likely bacteria. I get it in a lot of my colonies. I don't swap the test tubes out until it gets too red.



#9 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted January 26 2020 - 9:52 AM

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I noticed that the worker ants were piling the soil at the entrance of their test tube nest inside the Outworld.  The pile was large enough to block the entrance!  I got disappointed because I thought they decided to stay in the test tube and not move into the Ant Tower.  So, this morning I decided to take a picture of the soil pile in front of their test tube colony.  As I was about to remove the cover, I saw an egg and pupae pile in front of the Ant Tower entrance!   A few days ago, there were only pupae, and now there are pupae AND eggs.  This colony is growing.  I'm going to cover everything and leave them alone for 48 hours.  
 
 
Questions I will research for next week:
Did the workers pile the soil near the colony test tube entrance so that the queen could inspect it?
Could an increase in humidity from 63% to 69% cause ants to move?
What is the ideal Outworld humidity for my ant species?
Can my Ant Tower maintain the required humidity for my species of ants?
 
*I purchased this ant colony from andrew@formiculture.com  on January 14, 2020.  It started with 45 worker ants and a queen.  

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#10 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted February 1 2020 - 5:49 PM

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I've learned a lot about ants since I purchased by Camponotus semitestaceus colony on January 15, 2020, for my grandchildren. I originally started with a very unnatural ant habitat that consisted of clear plastic, a few rocks, and wood. I covered it with a cotton cloth and heated it with a reptile ceramic heat lamp and a reptile heating pad. 

 

Later, I learned that ants like to dig. I ordered an Ant Tower and connected it to my Outworld with tubing that I coated in Vaseline. I read that some species can't see red light. So, I covered my Outworld and Ant Tower with red plastic film only to discover later that Camponotus semitestaceus queens can see red light. She reacted to red-light every time I used it to view her.  However, the workers did not react to the light.  So, I'll assume they cannot see red light.  

 

Feeding my Ants

I read that some ants are picky eaters. Now, I offer them a variety of different foods twice a week. Water and hummingbird nectar are  always available in test tubes.  Every meal has three types of protein, one fruit, and honey or jam

 

Protein Varieties (three items from this list is fed to them twice a week)

  • chicken baby food (They love this!  I'm going to try beef and lamb next time.)
  • cooked hamburger
  • cooked chicken
  • cooked shrimp
  • cricket
  • mealworm (dead and sliced open)
  • cat food (crushed and moistened with a drop of water)
  • fish food (crushed and moistened with a drop of water)

 

Fruits/Sweets Varieties (two items from this list fed to them weekly)

  • Apples (different varieties)
  • Honey (various types)
  • Hummingbird nectar
  • Raspberry preserve

 

Temperature and Humidity 

The temperature is a constant 800 F, and it is maintained by warping a reptile heating pad around the ant tower. The humidity must be okay because the ants moved into the tower.  I keep the Outworld's and Ant Tower's lids open to allow air to circulate.  The Ant Tower has a water reservoir at the bottom that I fill up weekly.  I am going to research the ideal humidity range for my ants.  I think it is 10% to 40%.After adding soil to the Outworld the humidity increased from 60% to 80% with the lid open and little bit. (I added soil to the Outworld after Queen, workers and brood moved into the Ant Tower). Know I nailed the temperate but the humidity is a big unknown for me.  T

 

Moving Into the Ant Tower

It was interesting to watch them move into their new home. They moved in slowly over a period of four days. One day I noticed that the queen and brood were not in the test tube in the Outworld.  I found the Queen, workers, and brood camped about two inches from the entrance to the Ant Tower. They stayed there for about two days, as workers carried soil from the Air Tower to the Outworld. The Queen moved into Ant Tower first, and for about two days, the eggs,larvae and pupae were in one pile about two inched from the tower entrance. Yesterday the eggs (there were about 15 clumped together), and larvae and pupae were in two separate piles.  The egg pile was closer to the entrance than the other pile.  Today (2/1/2020), they all were in the Ant Tower.  :yahoo: 

 

I worried that if I added soil to the Outworld, I would not be able to find their bathroom area, clean up food waste or remove dead ants. That was not true. I discovered their bathroom today! Most of their food waste is left in their food dish.  I'm sure I'll find the ant grave yard eventually.

 

Well, I'm still learning about ants and I think my colony is growing because I didn't see all those eggs when they arrive two weeks ago!  I know it will take about at year for my colony to double in size.  That's okay with me.

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#11 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 1 2020 - 5:58 PM

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You’re taking excellent care of this colony. It seems like they’re really going to thrive. Lucky ants and lucky grandchildren!

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Spoiler alert! There is no Deep State.


#12 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 1 2020 - 7:05 PM

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Great detailed journal! Colony should explode in growth in no time.

#13 Offline ForestDragon - Posted February 2 2020 - 1:46 PM

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This is an amazing journal, extremely detailed, includes personal research questions, and always looks out for new things, people need to enjoy the little things more 10/10 journal



#14 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted February 10 2020 - 7:58 AM

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Research Results on Humidity

Camponotus ants prefer to nest in spots with 20% to 40% humidity. I will assume that whenever I see condensation along the inner wall of my tower, the soil humidity is approximately 100%. 

 

I’ve done the following to reduce the humidity in my ant tower:

 

1. Use PTFE along the upper edge of my outworld and ant tower to prevent ants from escaping. (PTFE is superior to Vaseline or baby powder)

 

2. Remove the lids from my ant tower and outworld.

  • Mistake 1: I initially closed the lids on my ant tower and outworld.  I saw condensation pockets in the ant tower’s soil, and on the walls and cover, and the humidity in my outworld climbed to 80%.    

 

3. Keep the water reservoir at the bottom of my ant tower at 1/3 full. As long as the water does not touch the bottom soil layer in my tower, capillary action will be significantly reduced, and the humidity will also be reduced.

  • Mistake 2: I initially completely filled the reservoir, and I saw condensation in soil gaps throughout the tower, and the worker ants moved the brood out of the ant tower and into the tubing near the tower's entrance. The workers returned their brood to the tower a few days later when the humidity decreased.

 

4. Never add water to the top of the tower because that increased the humidity inside my nest.

  • Mistake 3: I used a pipet to add drops of water to the topsoil of my nest because I never saw my ants drinking from their test tubes. The day after I added water to my ant tower, the workers had moved the pupae and eggs out to the ant tower and into the adjacent tube connecting the outworld to the ant tower.  

 

 

Nightly Ant Migration from the Ant Tower to the Tube Connected to the Outworld?!

 

I've seen workers and brood in the tube leading to the outworld in the morning about five to six days a week. It is always a few workers and a pupae pile never the queen and eggs.  I know that day and night temperature fluctuations in my home trigger humidity fluctuations inside my ant nest. Cold temperature increase humidity and warm temperatures decrease humidity.  I've found workers and brood  (never the queen) in the tube leading out of the ant tower when I check on them in the morning. In the middle of the afternoon, the workers usually carry the pupae back into the ant tower.  This happens almost every morning.

 

Last night (2/9/20), I got up at 2 am to get a drink and peeked under my ant cover. I saw the queen, workers, and brood in the tube leading from the ant tower. The queen ran into the ant tower, and the workers (carrying the eggs) quickly followed. I don't know if they do this every night or if I caught them moving back into their old test tube in the  outworld.  

 

At night my home's temperature drops to 590 F. I think low nighttime temperatures increase the humidity in my ant nest. The increase in humidity drives my ants into the tube, and when my home heats up in the morning, my ants return to their ant tower. For weeks my ants may have engaged in nightly migrations from the ant tower to the tube without me knowing.  I'll research ant nightly migrations within their nest next week.

 

Feeding

I’ve been feeding my ants twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), a variety of proteins and fruits. My colony is small (a little over 50 workers), and I have seen them eating 'Gerber Chicken and Gravy' and insects from their food dish. I have never seen them drink from the test tubes. I will assume that they are drinking the condensation on the tower walls inside their nest or they drink when I'm not looking at them. 

 

Next week I will research the following:

  1. Temperature and humidity need for Camponotus semitestaceus eggs, pupae, workers, and queens.
  2. Find a humidity meter that can work in an Ant Tower.
  3. Find a warmer place for ant tower.  
  4. Find out if ants migrate nightly in a natural ant nest.

 

Future Pictures

Next week, I'll take my first picture of the tunnels my ants have dug in the ant tower, and I'll hopefully find Queen Norah in her chamber and get a photo of her.

 

 

Excellent Website 

 

What I learned

  • Camponotus species, in particular, prefer dryer nests.
  • Condensation in an outworld can be reduced by merely keeping the lid open. (Okay, I do this already!)
  • The nest of some Camponotus species do not need to be watered at all, which avoids most problems with condensation, mold, and mites. ( I'll stop watering my nest!)
  • Studies have shown that Camponotus pennsylvanicus brood only starts to show deformations at 20% humidity and below which is way less than the average room (My home's humidity is between 50% to 60%)
  • Hygrometers are devices that measure humidity and can be useful tools, but they're not required for most ants.  I have a hydrometer in my ant's outworld and it is between 50% and 65%)

 

 

Research paper I read last week

  • Article in Environmental Entomology, Volume 31, Issue 6, 1 December 2002, Pages 1037–1042
  • Title "Nesting Sites of the Carpenter Ant, Camponotus vicinus in Northern Idaho" (https://academic.oup...1/6/1037/456195)

 

What I learned:

  • The ideal humidity range is 16% to 36% - My ant tower's humidity maybe too high!
  • The ideal temperature range is 66.60 F to 70.80 F (or 19.20 C to 21.60 C) - My 800 F temperature may be too warm.

 

Dissertation I read last week

 

 

What I learned:

  1. ​Ideal humidity range is 10% to 40% (This is similar to the other papers I've read)
  2. Fungi pathogenic to ants are more likely to be present at higher moisture levels (I did not know this!)
  3. Small day and night temperature fluctuation are typical in ant nests. (Good to know!)
  4. The primary nest is usually in a humid area and contains the queen, eggs and early instar larvae. Satellite nests are usually in a drier, warmer environment and contain workers, mature larvae, pupae, and winged reproductives."
    • #4  explains a lot of what I'm seeing!  :facepalm: 
      • The tube connecting the ant tower to the outworld is a satellite nest for the colony.  Now I understand why pupae are placed in this tube near to the reptile heating pad!  The satellite nest is warmer  because the tube passes over  and rest slightly on the heating pad, and it is less humid than the ant tower!
      • In the morning, I usually see two or three workers next to a pile of pupae in the satellite nest that is on top of the heating pad.  This is not unusual if this area is a satellite nest.  My ants are not moving back into their old test tube in the outworld!  OMG!  Now,  I can stop stressing over the little things.
      • The temperature and humidity requirements for the queen and eggs are different from the worker ants and pupae.  I hardly ever see the queen and eggs in the satellite nest because it is cooler and more humid in the interior of the nest.  The temperature and humidity inside the ant tower must be okay because the queen and eggs are in the main nest.
      • I saw the queen, eggs, pupae and workers at 2 am in the satellite nest.  I incorrectly assumed that the Ant Tower was  (1) too cold, (2) too humid, (3) too cold and too humid. Now I believe  I caught my nocturnal queen and workers exploring the satellite nest at 2 am on 2/9/2020.  

Important lessons I learned this week: :thinking:

  • From now on I will refer to the ant tower as the main nest and the tubing as the satellite nest.
  • My ants are nocturnal, and they are eating, drinking and exploring at nigh when I am asleep.
  • My ants are doing well because the queen is laying eggs, a satellite nest over the reptile heating pad has been established, and the eggs are kept inside the main nest.
  • I need to leave my ant colony alone, and stop worrying about the humidity and temperature.  My ants are okay. ;) 

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Edited by MsTesaAnt, February 19 2020 - 7:05 PM.

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#15 Offline MsTesaAnt - Posted February 16 2020 - 11:20 AM

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LAST WEEK
 
Last week I researched the following:
 
  1. Temperature and humidity need for Camponotus semitestaceus eggs, pupae, workers, and queens. The Queen and eggs require cooler temperatures and higher humidity than the workers and pupae.  So, they are found in different parts of the nest.
  2. Find a humidity meter that can work in an Ant Tower.  A hygrometer is used to measure soil moisture.  A hygrometer is not needed for my ants because the humidity in my home and my ant nest is less that 60%.This humidity level is okay for raising Camponotus ants. 
  3. Find a warmer place for ant tower.  I'm working on this.  My home is cool (550 to 650 F) in the winter and hot (up to 850 F) in the summer.
  4. Find out if ants migrate nightly in a natural ant nest.  Ants move around their nest because of daily temperature fluctuations.
 
Future Pictures
 
Next week, I'll take my first picture of the tunnels my ants have dug in the ant tower, and I'll hopefully find Queen Nora in her chamber and get a photo of her.
 
-------------------------
THIS WEEK
 
On 2/12/2020 - I covered the red liner with black cloth to give my ants more privacy, and encourage them to use the whole Ant Tower.  
 
On 2/14/2020 - I decided to view the ant nest and take pictures of the Queen in her chamber, brood, and worker ants on 2/15/2020.  I thought this would be easy.  I saw it done on Youtube, and it looked easy.
 
On 2/15/20,  I had difficulty removing the red film because the tape was welded on to the plastic ant tower wall.  As I pulled the tape, I also jousted the ant tower.   It took me a while to remove the tape covering the ant tower that was closest to the heating page or about 45 sec to 1 min.  That was when I saw Queen Nora.  She ran fast - REALLY FAST - from the main nest to satellite nest, she paused, and then from the satellite nest to the edge of the outworld, which was covered in red plastic.  Her gaster was HUGE.  I was shocked (and a little scared) that she could move that fast! She looked more massive than the first time I was her.  I focused my attention back on removing the red liner... and then I stopped.  Where are the worker ants!?   It took me a while to remove the plastic liner, and I didn't see a single worker ant.   What is going on in the main nest?!  I assumed that by disturbing the nest, the workers would come out to see what was happening.  But they didn't.  The only ant that ran out of the nest was the Queen.  I don't know a lot about ants, but I do know Queen ants are never alone.  I decided to take pictures of the Queen and re-wrap the main nest.
 
My compassion for my Queen Nora exceeded my curiosity about her nest.  
 
I was able to see a little of the internal structure of the nest while I was unwrapping the liner, but I couldn't hold my camera, the edge of the liner, and take a picture at the same time. I have a drawing of what I saw.  
 
I noticed that the nest had huge (3/4 inch) oblong chambers.  One of the chambers was at the bottom of the nest above the water reservoir.  That chamber must be humid because it was about an inch long.  If the humidity were too high, the colony would cover it was soil, right?   I didn't see any worker ants, pupae, or eggs in any of the chambers I saw.  That means that the part of the nest I was inspecting was abandoned.  The ants were on the other side of the ant tower.  Most likely in newly created chambers.  
 
Yesterday (2/15/20), I checked the satellite nest, and I saw the workers moving from the main nest to the satellite nest and finally to the outworld like they usually do.   So, they are still alive.  
 
I will assume one of the following happened:
 
Possibility #1
  • The Queen was close to the satellite nest when I decided to remove the plastic film.
  • I disturbed the ant tower and the workers ran to collect the brood.
  • The Queen ran to the satellite nest when I continue to jostle the tower.
  • As the shaking intensified, the Queen ran out of the satellite nest to the entrance to the outworld.  She did not enter the outworld.
  • Maybe a cave in happened which separated the workers from the exit.
  • The cave-in isolated the Queen from the worker ants.
  • Workers did not exit the ant tower because they couldn't.
  • Later, when I covered everything up, the Queen and workers removed the cave in and reopened the nest.
  • The next day I saw workers moving from the main and satellite nest into the outworld.
 
 
Possibility #2
  1. New nest chambers were built on the other side of the Ant Tower that I covered with black cloth.
  2. The colony dug a new main nest on another side of my circular Ant Tower.  
  3. I disturbed the Ant Tower and the workers moved the brood to new location within the main nest.
  4. The workers never exited the tower because they were moving brood to a safer location within the nest.
  5. While workers were moving brood, the Queen panicked and ran from the nest because she was closer to the satellite nest that the nest where the workers were taking the brood.
  6. No cave-in blocked the nest's entrance, and it remained open.
  7. The Queen ran out:
    1. to protect the nest alone - Highly unlikely.  But I need to research this topic!
    2. to save herself - Possibly.  She was full of eggs and could start a new colony.  Needs further research.
    3. to wait for workers to come to her - Possibly.  The worker never came out while I watched.  They were delayed.
  8. The Queen initially ran from the main nest to the satellite nest.  Then she ran to the covered part of the outworld before returning to the satellite nest (20 to 30 seconds).  She waited in the satellite nest.
  9. I panicked when I saw that she was alone. I don't know a lot about ants, but I do know that a Queen without out workers surrounding her is NOT NORMAL!   
  10. I stopped what I was doing and recovered the nest. 
  11. The next day I saw workers moving from the main and satellite nest into the outworld.
 
Mistake - I did not plan ahead - I did not plan how to remove the red liner and cloth before I attempted to remove it. 
Solution - I will wrap an apron of backcloth around the ant tower, and then gradually remove the tape holding the red liner in place over the next week. Next time when I want to view the nest, I will only have to lift up the apron not jostle the Ant Tower.  I should be able to take my pictures and then drop the black apron back in place.  I can do this in a dark rook with with a red light instead of white light.   I've got a month to think about how I'll take photos of my ant nest.
 
 
Research Questions for next week:
 
  1. Why would a queen abandon her nest alone?
  2. Why didn't the workers and brood escape the nest?
 
How to take photos of my ants:
  1. What is the best way to get photos of my ants
  2. How do I safely observe my main nest without traumatizing the Queen? 
  3. How can I take pictures of my ants quickly. 
  4. What equipment do I need to take the best photos? 
  5. When is the bet time to get good photos? 
  6. Can I make videos of my colony and posit to this site?
  7. How do I resize my pictures?
 

 

Attached Files


Edited by MsTesaAnt, February 16 2020 - 1:57 PM.

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#16 Offline AntsDakota - Posted February 16 2020 - 2:56 PM

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On 2/14/2020 - I decided to view the ant nest and take pictures of the Queen in her chamber, brood, and worker ants on 2/15/2020.  I thought this would be easy.  I saw it done on Youtube, and it looked easy.

 
On 2/15/20,  I had difficulty removing the red film because the tape was welded on to the plastic ant tower wall.  As I pulled the tape, I also jousted the ant tower.   It took me a while to remove the tape covering the ant tower that was closest to the heating page or about 45 sec to 1 min.

Never trust a YouTuber. Things are always harder than they appear on YouTube.  :facepalm:


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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

 

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#17 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 17 2020 - 6:27 AM

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You can get great photos with a decent phone camera and a clip on macro lens. You can find various models on Amazon for around $15.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Spoiler alert! There is no Deep State.


#18 Offline AntsDakota - Posted February 17 2020 - 9:19 AM

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I only saw one for $17.00. The rest were at least $30.00


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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

 

Join our fledgling but growing AntsDakota Discord community! https://discord.gg/vkwjYzz

 

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#19 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 17 2020 - 10:13 AM

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I only saw one for $17.00. The rest were at least $30.00

Dang. Everything is more expensive now I guess. $17 is not too bad.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Spoiler alert! There is no Deep State.


#20 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted February 17 2020 - 10:26 AM

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I love the fact that families themselves are starting to get involved in ant keeping! That's amazing!


There is a important time for everything, important place for everyone, an important person for everybody, and an important ant for each and every ant keeper and myrmecologist alike






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