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Tetramorium immigrans - Western Massachusetts


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#1 Offline Scherme - Posted July 31 2020 - 9:47 AM

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Easiest species to keep? PERFECT!
Anyone can take care of these girls? We will see.

 

After 100% fatality on Lasius Neoniger, Prenolepis Imparis, and Camponotus Pennsylvanicus (jeez, I am an ant killer)
I decided to pack up my stuff until life leveled up out. It hasn't, but I got a spark.

Cleaning up the pool at the end of May I found several queens floating around in it, had no clue which species.
I remembered I hadn't packed ALL my TT away, so I collected the most lively queen into a setup, and shoved it 
into the center of a coiled up sleeping bag in my garage. (to insulate against extreme temp swings? Idk why)

Temp Home

 

Truthfully, I completely forgot about her. Until several days ago I started to clean out my garage. 
Pulled the tube out, expecting to see a curled up male alate that I mis-identified as a queen.
Instead, she had ~14 hardened nanitics scurrying around.

T I Cotton
 
I scrambled to think of ANYTHING I could throw in there as food. I popped a corn kernel off a fresh cob and placed it at the end of the tube and left it for 2 days.
They hollowed it out. 
I then thought about some protein, still not having a clue what species I had, I took a chance with a pre killed beetle, checked the next morning and everything
looks fine so far. 
Nanitic 2
Full

 

 
With 3 more full months until hibernation, and seeing the current growth, I wonder how big this colony will explode before I cool em down. 
 
Wish me luck! 
If it goes well, I might try my hand at Lasius again in September. 

Edited by Scherme, August 4 2020 - 11:36 AM.

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#2 Offline Spazmops - Posted July 31 2020 - 10:02 AM

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That’s great! Tetramorium are really fun to watch.


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Co-owner and founder of Mountain Myrmeculture and The Menagerie Discord Server

Ants I have:

1 Formica fusca group- 4 workers

1 Tetramorium immigrans colony-20 workers

1 Dorymyrmex insanus- 1 queen, used to have workers

 

1 large P. occidentalis colony- around 50 workers, plenty of brood

 

 


#3 Offline Antkid12 - Posted July 31 2020 - 10:52 AM

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Nice, i'll be following!


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Ants I have: Tapinoma sessile(2 queen colony). RED MORPH Camponotus neacticus(now has pupae!), Tetramorium immigrans (x3), Aphaenogaster sp, Temnothorax sp, Brachymyrmex sp.   possibly infertile   :(,  Ponera pennsylvanica, and Pheidole morrisi!  :yahoo: 

 

Other insects: Polistes sp. Queen

                    

Ants I need: Pheidole sp., Trachymyrmex sp., Crematogaster cerasi , Dorymyrmex sp. Most wanted: Pheidole morrisii

 

                    

                   

 

 


#4 Offline Scherme - Posted August 3 2020 - 6:09 PM

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2 days ago I attached her tube to a 4-way AC TT portal as a makeshift outworld. 2 ports closed and a full TT of water filling the 3rd spot. 

 

Replaced the shriveled blueberry and mealworm with a fresh headless mealworm and slice of cantaloupe. A half dozen workers scurried away from the outworld as I lifted the lid. 

 

I took the opportunity to snap a pic. Not a great pic but clear enough.

Brood
 
She is sitting on top of a healthy looking pile. Not bad.
 
I started a mealworm farm. There are lots of tutorials online. It cost me like $15 for a small starting setup.
I know several people who buy them for their chickens. A few good cycles and the setup will pay for itself with enough to go to my ants. 

 


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Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

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#5 Offline LiMike - Posted August 4 2020 - 10:34 AM

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She looks happy and healthy!! Congratulations!!!


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#6 Offline Spazmops - Posted August 4 2020 - 11:02 AM

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Are they exploring the AC portal at all? I have the same genus in the same setup and they won’t leave their test tube.


Co-owner and founder of Mountain Myrmeculture and The Menagerie Discord Server

Ants I have:

1 Formica fusca group- 4 workers

1 Tetramorium immigrans colony-20 workers

1 Dorymyrmex insanus- 1 queen, used to have workers

 

1 large P. occidentalis colony- around 50 workers, plenty of brood

 

 


#7 Offline Scherme - Posted August 4 2020 - 11:30 AM

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Are they exploring the AC portal at all? I have the same genus in the same setup and they won’t leave their test tube.

They are, I haven't seen them in the second water tube I have setup yet tho.

There always seems to be one just outside the edge of their tube, almost as if she was a sentry, and they had swarmed a mealworm I had in there.


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#8 Offline Antkid12 - Posted August 4 2020 - 2:54 PM

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Are they exploring the AC portal at all? I have the same genus in the same setup and they won’t leave their test tube.

How many workers do they have now?


Ants I have: Tapinoma sessile(2 queen colony). RED MORPH Camponotus neacticus(now has pupae!), Tetramorium immigrans (x3), Aphaenogaster sp, Temnothorax sp, Brachymyrmex sp.   possibly infertile   :(,  Ponera pennsylvanica, and Pheidole morrisi!  :yahoo: 

 

Other insects: Polistes sp. Queen

                    

Ants I need: Pheidole sp., Trachymyrmex sp., Crematogaster cerasi , Dorymyrmex sp. Most wanted: Pheidole morrisii

 

                    

                   

 

 


#9 Offline Spazmops - Posted August 4 2020 - 3:33 PM

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Are they exploring the AC portal at all? I have the same genus in the same setup and they won’t leave their test tube.

How many workers do they have now?

 

Around 15. They all hide under/near the queen and won’t even go towards the end of their tube.


Co-owner and founder of Mountain Myrmeculture and The Menagerie Discord Server

Ants I have:

1 Formica fusca group- 4 workers

1 Tetramorium immigrans colony-20 workers

1 Dorymyrmex insanus- 1 queen, used to have workers

 

1 large P. occidentalis colony- around 50 workers, plenty of brood

 

 


#10 Offline Scherme - Posted August 14 2020 - 7:10 AM

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Looks like we have 20+ workers at the moment with more on the way.

 

I have been keeping their available food fresh and diverse apart from a few sunflower seeds without husks that I have left in there.

I have offered them:

Mealworms - not sure if they are fond of

Honey

Dry dog food - i didn't witness them trying it at all. 

a mud wasp larva - they seemed to enjoy very much

 

Most recently I added a pre killed wild cricket and a chunk of apple soaked in honey water.

 

The low temps in the garage are starting to be in the range of room temp, so I am preparing to bring them inside.

I purchased a Zoo Med 11ft 15w heating cable. 

My plan is to entice them to move into a cleaner, clearer tube with the warmth.

This should allow me to take some better pictures to post and grab a more accurate worker count. 

 

After chatting and reading, I formed my hibernation plan: none. At most I will create some sort of fluctuation or cycle by removing

the heat and letting them ride at room temp but we will see.

 

I have a THA Mini Hearth III and some byFormica fluon on order. By the time these come in, the colony should be ready, if they aren't already.
I am excited for this as it would be my first ever move out of a test tube. 

I recently discovered The Ant Network youtube channel, I am not sure how I never found it before. The petri dish founding chamber build guide there 

really interested me, so of course all those materials are on their way as well. I am hoping to put some together for Lasius queens and keep

some queens in TT and some in petri to see if there is a difference. 

 

BTW, I am able to keep track of my garage temps with a bluetooth Govee temp/humidty monitor I got for $16 on Amazon.

It sits next to my ants in the garage, and I just connect via bluetooth and pull all the data from it which shows me temp/humidity over time.

It is pretty neat. They claim the battery life is 1 year, we will see but I am pretty sure the app tells you how much remains when you connect. 

 

P.S. Mealworm Farm Update: I have pupa. I separated a bunch onto a separate platform as I have seen in many build tutorials. As they turn into beetles

they beetles will crawl off the plastic platform and not be able to get back, which eliminates the chance they eat the other pupa.


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#11 Offline to_be_announced - Posted August 14 2020 - 7:41 AM

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I have tetra's in a mini hearth.  Works well for them so far.  I'm at about 10 workers currently.  I actually used it as a founding formicarium.  So I don't think you'll need to worry about them being ready or not.  Mine have already established a garbage area even.

 

As for the mealworm farm, just thought I'd share this with you.  It's a video on a self sorting mealworm farm.  Seems pretty easy to make and may be something to consider.  


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Currently keeping Tetramorium Immigrans and Camponotus Pennsylvanicus in THA mini hearths.  I also have a couple Prenolepis Imparus queens in test tubes.


#12 Offline Scherme - Posted August 14 2020 - 7:49 AM

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I have tetra's in a mini hearth.  Works well for them so far.  I'm at about 10 workers currently.  I actually used it as a founding formicarium.  So I don't think you'll need to worry about them being ready or not.  Mine have already established a garbage area even.

 

As for the mealworm farm, just thought I'd share this with you.  It's a video on a self sorting mealworm farm.  Seems pretty easy to make and may be something to consider.  

That farm is pretty much my exact setup, just without the wooden box for screen, hot glue on both sides hold it just fine. 
What is nice is I can just go grab more of those containers to expand if needed.

That video is one I watched to help my build. Super cheap and super simple. If I am able to keep this going, I might expand to crickets/roaches. but that is down the road


Edited by Scherme, August 14 2020 - 7:52 AM.

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#13 Offline Scherme - Posted August 20 2020 - 4:55 PM

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New tube success!

Still not great at taking pictures, but I think I am getting better.

 

I first attempted to get them to move while they were still hooked up to the 4 port AC TT portal.

 

I draped the heating cable over the brand new tube, blocked the light from it and exposed their nest to light.

 

They didn't budge. I get it might take a while, and of course I got impatient. 

 

So i draped the cable over the end of their tube, and they immediately moved the brood directly under and on the cable. 

I figured now that they were closer to the end of the tube, they might discover the new tube with warmth, and move the brood there if i remove the cable from their old tube.

 

Didn't work. They went right back to where they were. *sigh*. 

 

I started to think the large open space of the portal might deter them. So unhooked it, and used some connectors to pretty much connect the tubes directly, re exposed their nest to light, and covered up the new tube.

 

I watched as 1 runner, one of the first non-nanitic worker, discovered the new tube. She RAN back and forth for a bit, almost looked as if she was trying to convince her sisters to move. They were not into it. So she alone start moving the brood.

She worked hard, stirring up the rest of the nest. They eventually started investigating, and even started bring brood BACK. The pace slowly picked up, other worker got on board and I watched for hours as they worked.

 

With the nest almost cleared, the workers started bugging the queen. Pestering her. She would get down from the ball of cotton, take a few steps in the right directly then promptly turn around and return to her curled position. 

Eventually they got to her. Watching her move was amazing. It was around 1am at this point, my feet hurt from standing. It really is crazy how much bigger she is than they are. 

 

I disconnected the old nest once it was clear, reconnected the outworld with some honey in it in case they needed a bit of energy, but otherwise I would give them a few days to settle in. 

 

My uncle got me these TINY little ceramic dishes. They aren't made for ants, but they work perfectly. Honey is in one, and a bit of wet cat food went in the other. I have found these guys eating my cats food in the past.

 

With a new tube, comes an attempt at some clear pics, so here they are:

Fresh Tube
 
I even made a quick animation. Several fresh eclosures can be seen. I dig it. 
Fresh Tube   Move

 

I must have miscounted workers previously. Or double counted. This pic puts me somewhere between 14-16. 


Edited by Scherme, August 20 2020 - 5:09 PM.

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#14 Offline AntsDakota - Posted August 20 2020 - 5:12 PM

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gallery_1710_1858_5757618.gif

 

What did you use to do this? I would LOVE to put these on my journals.


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#15 Offline Scherme - Posted August 20 2020 - 5:44 PM

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gallery_1710_1858_5757618.gif

 

What did you use to do this? I would LOVE to put these on my journals.

I have a Galaxy S20. With the built in camera app, I can swipe the shutter button to take a burst shot. It takes a bunch of frames at once, gives me the opportunity to choose the best photo or combine them all into an animation.

 am starting to play around with this camera. Sorry I can't really explain a universal way to do it. 

 

My top photo is filtered, the animation is slightly pink because I have a full spectrum led that I use.


Edited by Scherme, August 20 2020 - 5:45 PM.

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#16 Offline Scherme - Posted September 5 2020 - 7:26 PM

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Alright. Its been a bit huh?

 

I finally got my mini hearth on the 31st and prepped them for the move. 

The move

 

but then I got impatient and carefully dumped them. Bad form, but it all worked out.

They have nestled in next to the water reservoir on the side where the heating cable is. 

 

I have to say, it is very neat having them on a shelf that doesn't have a solid bottom.

I can put a light under the nest and the reservoir glows allowing me a clear view of what is going on. 

 

The mini hearth is very cool. I think I will attempt to make something similar with my hydrostone at some point. 

They constantly explore the outworld, and I am chaining out their food every day to every other day.

Mealworm pupa, prekilled mealworm beetle, wild caught cricket and grass hoppers they seem keen on. 

Now seems the best time to be catching stuff for them.. maybe I should go catch a bunch and freeze it? just having this idea as I type.

 

Provide them with a small dish of honey, and today switched to sugar water, but I have always had a small piece of fruit in there as well.

Apples from my apple tree (have never used pesticides/insecticides) are nice and cheap and going to rot or get eating by my dog anyway. 

 

Side note 1: these girls aren't great climbers but byFormica PTFE plus is great. It dries super clear, and comes with super easy applicators. 

Side Note 2: The majority of my mealworms are beetles atm. I am on the look out for tiny worms in the container below. 

 

 


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#17 Offline Scherme - Posted September 11 2020 - 7:22 AM

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They haven't foraged in 4-5 days. When I remove the light block, there were a few times every ant was huddled up in the corner next to the water and heat. Temps havent changed drastically. 

I am hoping they are just well fed. I am constantly cycling food, trying everything out and they were swarming it for a while and then... nothing. 

 

Also I noticed a couple nanitic bodies were moved the area they started moving trash to (They don't have a ton of trash, but they are always quick to move it, so i remove what i can).

 

Does ~3 months sound about right for a nanitic life?

 

Yesterday I did notice a single worker on the rim of the sugar water dish, appeared to be having a sip. 

 

When I do expose the nest to light, they seem alert and are moving, the brood pile is growing and developing. The queen will even move back

to a darker area on top of the water reservoir. She doesn't seem sluggish and looks to be in good health. 

 

This was a couple days ago. ( I always say my pictures are gunna get better but I rush them)

Brood

The museum glass is great, everytime I fill the water, i shoot a small squirt directly into the nest away from the brood. It will condensate on the glass for a while but will clear up very nicely.


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#18 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted September 11 2020 - 7:27 AM

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Cool! hopefully my immigrans will get that big and healthy!


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#19 Offline AntsDakota - Posted September 11 2020 - 10:24 AM

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I have heard of Tetramorium nanitics living for over a year. However I think 3 months would still be considered normal.
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#20 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted September 11 2020 - 12:01 PM

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They probably just got full after all that swarming. Smallish colonies don’t need a ton of food. Mine stopped foraging for a few days too then finally did again 2 days ago.
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