I dug up a bunch of these Crematogaster queens on August 16th in Big Bear, California. This was the first time I ever found Crematogaster queens by spotting their founding chambers. I normally catch them on a black light. This is the first time I ever caught them up in these higher elevations as well. These also looked completely different than any other Crematogaster queens I have caught before. They're really short and the gaster is really big and wide. I'm hoping their unique shape might help me ID them if I ever try to. I usually don't waste the time with a genus as difficult as Crematogaster.
This is one of their founding chambers.
These next two were in the process of digging their founding chambers.
Here one of them is digging a founding chamber in a Dirt Box formicarium.
Strangely, a month or so went by before a few of these finally started laying eggs.
I now have three colonies of these, the largest with about 20 workers.
These built a little structure to close off the nest entrance a little bit just like other species of Crematogaster I have kept before.