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Oak Galls as nests

formicaria oak gall natural material

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64 replies to this topic

#21 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted December 9 2020 - 6:11 AM

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Seems to be working... :)

 

 
 
 
You can see the sawdust they threw out on the rock below

 

YES! this is awesome! i wish i had some of these around me!

 

Next time I go for a hike I can collect some for you. I mostly find them up mountain paths, well away from settlements and pollution. Not sure when my next hike will be though...

 

umm... i would love some, but i am pretty far away. but thanks anyway!


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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

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#22 Offline FSTP - Posted December 9 2020 - 6:39 AM

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what a neat idea. I had a similar idea to use walnut shells, but this gall looks really nice!


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#23 Offline ANTdrew - Posted December 9 2020 - 7:37 AM

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This is so flippin' cool. I can just imagine how excited the ants are to dig into those.


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

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#24 Offline Devi - Posted December 9 2020 - 2:50 PM

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This is so flippin' cool. I can just imagine how excited the ants are to dig into those.

Yes.  That is probably very stimulating for them.  I bet they'd love them!  I wish I could experiment with these!  Thanks for posting this skocko!  Very interesting.


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#25 Offline EthanNgo678 - Posted December 9 2020 - 3:05 PM

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https://www.youtube....h?v=lOgP5NzcTuA

 

Do you think any gall would work? I wonder if small pheidole would like them? 


Edited by EthanNgo678, December 9 2020 - 3:06 PM.


#26 Offline steelplant - Posted December 9 2020 - 4:58 PM

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I guess there's a slight danger of parasites or disease left by the departed wasp. Maybe steaming them would reduce the chance of that.

#27 Offline NickAnter - Posted December 9 2020 - 7:30 PM

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Steaming would probably introduce unwanted humidity.


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Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

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#28 Offline skocko76 - Posted December 10 2020 - 2:18 AM

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https://www.youtube....h?v=lOgP5NzcTuA

 

Do you think any gall would work? I wonder if small pheidole would like them? 

 

I believe any gall with a hard shell and cork-like interior would work... Those spiky, fuzzy, soft ones probably not...but I've never seen them.

Local Pheidole pallidula don't use them (to my knowledge), but Pheidole californica do:  https://www.antwiki....ole_californica

I know for a fact that Crematogaster scutellaris, Colobopsis truncata and various Temnothorax species use the kind of gall that is local to me.

I would also bet that they would be great for any kind of semi-arid Camponotus, subject to size.



#29 Offline skocko76 - Posted December 10 2020 - 2:33 AM

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I guess there's a slight danger of parasites or disease left by the departed wasp. Maybe steaming them would reduce the chance of that.

Hm perhaps... The funny thing is, I have never seen a gall with an exit hole.... All galls I've seen people collecting as DIY ornaments, and all I have collected were whole. I only collected those that have fallen off to the ground.

It was believed until a couple decades ago that the gall is oak defence mechanism against the wasp. A callus, if you will.

We have a special semi-evergreen type of Dalmatian oak that is quite different from your regular oak. It is shrub-like and rarely grows taller than as high as you can reach with your arm. Even the leaves don't look oak like: https://hr.wikipedia...ki/Hrast_crnikaIt can grow tall but that takes a hundred years and fires in this arid region don't allow for that much.

So it's quite possible these galls are different than those from regular oaks. Possibly produce a lot of "failed" ones. I would bet it is due to harsh dissecting sun. If your mom did not have the savvy to induce the gall in the shade, under thick leaves, you're toast little wasp.
I believe these to be well dissected and sterilised by the heat/UV, at least around here.


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#30 Offline skocko76 - Posted December 16 2020 - 1:43 AM

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We've had a temperature drop a couple of days ago, but the temperature has normalised now.

The colony was inactive for the two cold days, and has forgotten about its excavation venture.

They have excavated about half a thimble worth of material. Now they just stand guard at the entrance hole.

 

I restricted the size of their nest hole, preventing them moving the queen into the gall. I did that once I realised they had the intention. I never would have gotten the queen out without harming her. I want to split the gall in half to see the galleries. Perhaps their enthusiasm waned due to that.


Edited by skocko76, December 18 2020 - 3:14 AM.

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#31 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted December 16 2020 - 5:59 AM

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We're had a temperature drop a couple of days ago, but the temperature has normalised now.

The colony was inactive for the two cold days, and has forgotten about its excavation venture.

They have excavated about half a thimble worth of material. Now they just stand guard at the entrance hole.

 

I restricted the size of their nest hole, preventing them moving the queen into the gall. I did that once I realised they had the intention. I never would have gotten the queen out without harming her. I want to split the gall in half to see the galleries. Perhaps their enthusiasm waned due to that.

well, at least you have shown they like them! 


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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

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#32 Offline skocko76 - Posted December 18 2020 - 3:19 AM

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We're had a temperature drop a couple of days ago, but the temperature has normalised now.

The colony was inactive for the two cold days, and has forgotten about its excavation venture.

They have excavated about half a thimble worth of material. Now they just stand guard at the entrance hole.

 

I restricted the size of their nest hole, preventing them moving the queen into the gall. I did that once I realised they had the intention. I never would have gotten the queen out without harming her. I want to split the gall in half to see the galleries. Perhaps their enthusiasm waned due to that.

well, at least you have shown they like them! 

 

 

Yeah, it's kind of weird... normally you can't make Crematogaster move nest no matter how hard you try. I pop in a gall, and they mobilise in a couple of days... They really do like it a lot.
I would guess C.truncata and Themnotorax would react the same (as they nest in them), probably other kind of Camponotus as well, while the colony is small. I wonder what other species would love them. I'll try with my C. laterallis next..I bet they would react the same as my C. scutellaris.


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#33 Offline ANTdrew - Posted December 18 2020 - 4:16 AM

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North American Crematogaster are just as stubborn about moving.
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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.


#34 Offline skocko76 - Posted December 18 2020 - 4:07 PM

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Well bummer... While I wasn't looking, they widened a hole in the rubber stopper I placed at the nest entrance, and moved the queen into the gall. I just caught them in the last stages of moving the larvae. That's how much they liked the gall! I have no idea how I'm gonna make them leave to split the gall in half... They outmanoeuvred me  :blush:

 

IMG 20201218 183520

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#35 Offline ANTdrew - Posted December 18 2020 - 5:31 PM

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It looks like the Death Star.
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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.


#36 Offline OhNoNotAgain - Posted December 21 2020 - 8:53 PM

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Ah, I wondered how you stopped the queen from moving in. Determined ants have nothing else to do except problem-solve ;)

Actually at first glance I wondered if you had cut the gall in half and glued it to the wall, like one of those bird houses that attach to a window.


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#37 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted December 22 2020 - 7:01 AM

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well, if the queen likes it, why not let them stay? it is the most natural formciarium they could have!


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

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#38 Offline AntsDakota - Posted December 22 2020 - 7:33 AM

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Perhaps you could split another oak gall in half, glue it to the wall so you can see them, and moisten it and make it more appealing?

"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


#39 Offline skocko76 - Posted December 22 2020 - 9:19 AM

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Yeah, I'll think of something yet.
Meanwhile, they continued digging. I am unsure if they are expanding the galleries, or they are just throwing out the pre-dug material they took back inside. I've seen them do it, taking dug out material back in.
I put the other, less preferred gall inside of C. laterallis outworld. There is only a single forager in their colony of 13, and she was very excited about the gall. She found the entrance immediately, and kept inspecting the gall for many hours. No excavation or other activity yet.
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#40 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted December 22 2020 - 9:28 AM

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Yeah, I'll think of something yet.
Meanwhile, they continued digging. I am unsure if they are expanding the galleries, or they are just throwing out the pre-dug material they took back inside. I've seen them do it, taking dug out material back in.
I put the other, less preferred gall inside of C. laterallis outworld. There is only a single forager in their colony of 13, and she was very excited about the gall. She found the entrance immediately, and kept inspecting the gall for many hours. No excavation or other activity yet.

these things work so well! i need some of them! the ants just swarm to them! you should sell them for like 5 dollars for 2 or something! i need them!


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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

My Journals

General Journal

Camponotus novaeboracensis Journal

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Attention Ant-Keepers in South Dakota! Join the SoDak(Society Of Dakotan Ant Keepers)

Learn about our website AntsDakota, and help us develop and publish it

Join ouDiscord, where you can discuss your anting ideas in peace, and learn more about AntsDakota.com






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