I have a little "orphan" colony of black house ants because my kid's paternal grandfather gave her one of those gel-filled ant farm things, and the house across the road was being demolished so I figured the poor gals were doomed anyway…
The theory is that the ants will both nest in and eat the gel?
No-one told the ants.
So they'd try to burrow between the gel and the perspex, and suffocate themselves.
I ended up shaking the survivors out into a marginally more hospitable test tube in a container set up, where they huddled miserably like they apocalypse survivors they are for… 6 months?
Which is no life for an ant.
So I… umm… bought them a better outworld and nest setup, and started bringing them wild brood.
Yes, I am probably a monster.
But they are so much happier since the first Avalanche Of Babies — a busy purposeful ant is a happy ant?
For a short time I had them in a little "Empire of Ants F1 Formicarium", which they liked okay once I drilled a few extra entrance holes in the plaster and added sand, but the chambers were way to roomy for them and too exposed, so they filled them with sand and stuck sand to the perspex walls.
We've all been happier since I upgraded to their current setup, which is a small "Aeacus Corinth Resin Nest" attached to a small "Aus Ants Outworld".
They divide their brood between 2 spots — the nest, and a hollow under a spoon on the opposite side of the outworld that has tunnels connected to it.
At some point I seem to have stolen 5 alate eggs or larvae for them — only the last was knowingly. Those stay in the nest and are tended diligently.
As summer has gotten hotter, the wild nests have moved their brood further underground, and the orphan colony has had fewer brood to tend, one of my ants has started picking fights with her sisters. That behaviour seems to be settling down? I'm interested to see what, if anything, it was about.
Yesterday I did manage to find a wild brood chamber, and abducted a small quantity of pupae and larvae. I also exposed 2 young alates and though… let's see what happens? And abducted them too. They've moved themselves in with the outworld brood, and no one seems to be objecting — which makes me wonder if they'd accept a fertile queen?
IMG_5313.JPG 322.3KB 2 downloads
IMG_5312.JPG 375.99KB 1 downloads
IMG_5299.jpeg 241.12KB 1 downloads