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Novomessor cockerelli workers die

novomessor novomessor cockerelli workers die nest humidity pupae help

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#1 Offline Fabey - Posted November 29 2020 - 3:05 PM

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Hey guys!

I have a problem concerning my Novomessor cockerelli. I got them on 17th September with four workers. Since then they grew circa 4 to 6 larvae that became pupae. But shortly after hatching every worker died and I really don't have a clue, why.
Maybe the nest (still a tube nest) is too dry or wet or whatever. Because the water in the tank became brownish now, I put away the covering of their tube to force a move into a new tube or a ytong (breezeblock) nest. In their old nest and the ytong nest there is a problem with condensed water as well...
Does anyone of you know how dry or humid the nest should be?
Or what causes the workers to not hatch properly?
Would be cool, because Novos are the most interesting species I know so far and I am the first German speaking guy writing a journal in a German forum about them to share my knowledge about them. First I thought they would live in a too cold nest, but in nature they should have a light hibernation. I am really desperate now because I could have around 10 workers meanwhile.
Greetings from Offenbach,

Fabey

Edited by Fabey, November 29 2020 - 3:54 PM.

Lasius niger
Messor barbarus
Notoncus sp. 2x
Novomessor cockerelli

#2 Offline NickAnter - Posted November 29 2020 - 4:17 PM

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What temperature are they at?


Species being kept:

 

 Solenopsis "plebeius", Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Nylanderia vividula, Temnothorax rudis and a Hypoponera sp.

 

Hoping to find this year:

Myrmecocystus, Liometopum occidentale, Camponotus essigi, Camponotus fragilis, Manica bradleyi, Formica perpilosa, Pheidole hyatti, and a Parasitic Formica sp.

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#3 Offline Fabey - Posted November 29 2020 - 4:40 PM

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I turned off heating and they had 21 degrees Celsius. Now they are back at 25 to 27 degrees Celsius, but nothing changed. But the larvae turned into pupae before I turned the heating on again (last weekend).

Edited by Fabey, November 29 2020 - 5:06 PM.

Lasius niger
Messor barbarus
Notoncus sp. 2x
Novomessor cockerelli

#4 Offline Zeiss - Posted November 29 2020 - 5:09 PM

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You do not need to hibernate Novomessor spp. at all.  You may not be supplying enough insect proteins for them so the queen may kill the workers to feed to her brood.



#5 Offline Fabey - Posted November 29 2020 - 5:21 PM

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You do not need to hibernate Novomessor spp. at all. You may not be supplying enough insect proteins for them so the queen may kill the workers to feed to her brood.

About hibernation there are various opinions... But I won't hibernate them. They will show the keeper, if they need a diapause. That is at least what people say in German forums. But no, I don't think they were killed, because the workers were somehow disabled (at least one had a twisted leg) and ran dead. And then they were carried to the trash corner by the others. I can attach a video if you want. Or my YouTube profile.
Maybe I offer them the false food? They get a Drosophila, a firebrat and a micro cricket every few days and in most cases they take every three insects.

Edited by Fabey, November 29 2020 - 5:27 PM.

Lasius niger
Messor barbarus
Notoncus sp. 2x
Novomessor cockerelli

#6 Offline Zeiss - Posted November 29 2020 - 5:57 PM

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You do not need to hibernate Novomessor spp. at all. You may not be supplying enough insect proteins for them so the queen may kill the workers to feed to her brood.

About hibernation there are various opinions... But I won't hibernate them. They will show the keeper, if they need a diapause. That is at least what people say in German forums. But no, I don't think they were killed, because the workers were somehow disabled (at least one had a twisted leg) and ran dead. And then they were carried to the trash corner by the others. I can attach a video if you want. Or my YouTube profile.
Maybe I offer them the false food? They get a Drosophila, a firebrat and a micro cricket every few days and in most cases they take every three insects.

I have no clue what the people on the German forums are talking about, but I live where they're native and I've kept them for a while.  Hibernation is not needed for them and I don't know what they think the ants will show them.

 

What do you mean by "false food?"  I feed mine crickets and they take them readily and you giving diversity is good for them too.  You might need to give them larger and juicer prey.  


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#7 Offline Fabey - Posted November 29 2020 - 6:11 PM

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What do you mean by "false food?" I feed mine crickets and they take them readily and you giving diversity is good for them too. You might need to give them larger and juicer prey.

I thought, it maybe could be possible that some prey is negatively affecting the larvae's growth.
But that's just an assumption.
So if it is not the food (the seeds they get are all organic grown instead of the poppy seeds I give them, but it was not a problem for my Messor barbarus - why should it for the Novos, especially as they mainly feed insects to the larvae) what else could affect the pupae's development?
As I said the temperature is around 25 to 27 degrees and they still live in a test tube. What could I change? They have a dry outworld what should be the best solution for a steppe or desert species.
Have you ever experienced this? A friend had that problem with her Iridiomyrmex that she kept too humid.

And juicier prey? Maybe common green bottle flies? I have a specialized shop for mantids next door that offers them and my experience says that flies are a delicacy for - at least most European - ants.

By the way: additionally to seeds I offer them maple syrup, agave syrup (that I believe to be somehow similar to the phloem of succulent/desert plants) and forest honey. All of them organic.

I have no clue what the people on the German forums are talking about, but I live where they're native and I've kept them for a while. Hibernation is not needed for them and I don't know what they think the ants will show them.

They say, if the queen needs a diapause she would show it through stopping to lay eggs. But they also say, that not every species does that.

And they have no knowledge at all about Novos.

Edited by Fabey, November 29 2020 - 6:35 PM.

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Lasius niger
Messor barbarus
Notoncus sp. 2x
Novomessor cockerelli

#8 Offline Zeiss - Posted November 29 2020 - 6:50 PM

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Pupae development can be affected by a lot of things: heat, protein, humidity.  Pupae are typically in the hotter and dryer parts of a nest and to develop quickly in general, brood needs heat and protein.  Younger brood is typically kept in more humid environments since they need to molt still.  

 

In regards to the temperature, you could let them down to the low 70F range for the winter, maybe dropping down to 68-69F sometimes, but it is not necessary.  I personally keep all my ants between 70-77F because I am lazy and don't heat, but I don't see too many ill effects besides slower growth of my colonies.

 

Juicier prey as in fatter crickets, not the pinhead ones.  Just insects with more substance to them and yes, the flies could work.  I would suggest against honey since it's thicker and can trap ants a lot easier.  I always give my ants byFormica Sunburst, Perky-Pet Humminbird Nectar, or my own sugar water mixture of 1:3 (sugar:water).  You also shouldn't need to give Novomessor cockerelli sugars all the time, but it doesn't hurt to do so.


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#9 Offline Fabey - Posted November 29 2020 - 7:31 PM

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Pupae development can be affected by a lot of things: heat, protein, humidity. Pupae are typically in the hotter and dryer parts of a nest and to develop quickly in general, brood needs heat and protein. Younger brood is typically kept in more humid environments since they need to molt still.

In regards to the temperature, you could let them down to the low 70F range for the winter, maybe dropping down to 68-69F sometimes, but it is not necessary. I personally keep all my ants between 70-77F because I am lazy and don't heat, but I don't see too many ill effects besides slower growth of my colonies.

Juicier prey as in fatter crickets, not the pinhead ones. Just insects with more substance to them and yes, the flies could work. I would suggest against honey since it's thicker and can trap ants a lot easier. I always give my ants byFormica Sunburst, Perky-Pet Humminbird Nectar, or my own sugar water mixture of 1:3 (sugar:water). You also shouldn't need to give Novomessor cockerelli sugars all the time, but it doesn't hurt to do so.


Yeah, I am aware of the dangers that bring honey and syrup with them, but offer very small drops from a cotton stick.

And I am afraid that the condensed water in the test tube could harm the colony. Would you recommend to force a move into a new tube through putting away the cover of the recent nest? Because the new tube isn't as wet and dirty as the other one. But I think, if the circumstances would not fit they would move from their own, wouldn't they? I designed the ytong nest to have a more humid and a drier area but they ignore it. But I watered the ytong nest too much. Maybe if it gets drier they will move into it.
And which nest type do you use?
And maybe I should not look inside the tube for a few weeks to don't disturb them?
Lasius niger
Messor barbarus
Notoncus sp. 2x
Novomessor cockerelli

#10 Offline KitsAntVa - Posted November 30 2020 - 6:51 AM

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this is happening with mine to, not sure why, they are heated barely checked on and well fed.


We don’t talk about that

#11 Offline Zeiss - Posted November 30 2020 - 10:11 AM

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Yeah, I am aware of the dangers that bring honey and syrup with them, but offer very small drops from a cotton stick.


And I am afraid that the condensed water in the test tube could harm the colony. Would you recommend to force a move into a new tube through putting away the cover of the recent nest? Because the new tube isn't as wet and dirty as the other one. But I think, if the circumstances would not fit they would move from their own, wouldn't they? I designed the ytong nest to have a more humid and a drier area but they ignore it. But I watered the ytong nest too much. Maybe if it gets drier they will move into it.
And which nest type do you use?
And maybe I should not look inside the tube for a few weeks to don't disturb them?

Oh, you never mentioned there was condensation in the test tube.  That means you should move the heating element away from the water reservoir and more towards the open end.  I'm not sure this will solve your problem completely, but you definitely do not want condensation forming in the test tube.

 

You would think ants could move themselves, but sometimes they're too stupid for their own good.  If you want to move them into somewhere else, you can by dumping them.  Remember, these are desert ants, they don't need a lot of humidity.  

 

I just throw them in test tubes and forget about them until they have workers, then I wait until they are too crowded in the tube and I'll move them shortly after.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: novomessor, novomessor cockerelli, workers die, nest, humidity, pupae, help

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