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TigrisDK Messor Barbarus Journal (First time ant keeping)

messor barbarus jorunal

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#1 Offline TigrisDK - Posted February 13 2021 - 6:27 AM



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I have the same journal in another place, but i will also post it here
Info about the colony
I got the Messor Barbarus queen + about 15 workers (i didn't have any way to count them but a quick look, looked to be 15 workers). I got them 06th October 2020.
I got them from anthouse.es, because they was free if i bought something like an outworld and such, which seemed like a nice thing to try out.
I have followed some ant channels for a few years, and i have always been fascinated about ants but never really knew much about them, but after the few years i followed the ant channels on YouTube i decided to try out the hobby.
The setup
Up until 12th February 2021 the ants have been housed in a 24cm x 20cm outworld, with two test-tubes for housing, covered by a brown carton shelter (see journal entry 30-12-2020 for picture).
Apart from that, there is two food bowls in their outworld for seeds and other food stuff, and on test-tube filled with water, so that i can always see they have water, without needing to lift the shelter and disturb them too much.
As of 12th February their setup is as like the picture here.
05-01-2021 - 20 Visible in out world, and 5-10 in the tube that isn't countable
Food the colony likes (i will update this as i test more things, i will try to remember to mention in the journal entries when it's updated)
- Grass seeds
- Canary seeds
- Rapeseeds
- Flax seeds
- Oat
- Hemp seeds
- Green apple
- Sugar water ratio 1:4
Food the colony dislikes/don't touch (i will update this when i discover more, i will try to remember to mention in the journal entries when it's updated)
- Honey (I will try it again later, when the colony has become bigger)

Edited by TigrisDK, February 13 2021 - 11:17 AM.

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#2 Offline TigrisDK - Posted February 13 2021 - 6:37 AM



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Journal Entry 21-12-2020
Recently there was an ant laying dead at they garbage site, and i decided to buy a USB microscope, so that i could look at small things, like dead ants. i bought a Daniu S09 Digital 25x-600x 2.0MP USB microscope and got the following pictures.
I think the dead ant is a nanitc after speaking with out more experiences ant keepers, but because of it's size (about 5 mm long) and if nanitcs only live for about 1 year that would fit pretty good as with 15 workers the queen is likely around a year for what i know.
Picture of M. Barbarus Nanitic full body
M. Barbarus Nanitic Antenna
M. Barbarus Nanitic Legs
Picture of M. Barbarus Nanitic head closeup
Journal Entry 24-12-2020
Today i tried giving the ants 2 small cubes of ecological green apple, as there would come a few guests in the house so there could be more shaking than usally so i wanted them to have the ability to have a bit extra energy, even tho they are hibernating. The seemed to like it as there though the evening pretty often was atleast one worker out eating a bit of it
Added Green apple to food they like



Journal Entry 30-12-2020
At Christmas i got 3 food bowls from Simants with a nest i will give the colony when they are out of hibernation there is a small, medium and large
I gave the M. Barbarus colony two of the "food bowls". In the left one (see pictures)(the medium size) i put some grass seeds that i got from anthouse.es when i bought the colony, which i know they like because they collect a lot of it, i also put some seeds from the "Type I seed mix" also from anthouse in the medium bowl.
I also gave them the small bowl where i put seeds from the "Type I seed mix" in, to see what kind of seeds they collect, so that i can get an idea about which seeds they maybe like the most, (i know right now, it's probably mostly they grass seeds they will take as they don't have majors and therefore have trouble with the bigger and harder seeds)
Small food bowl with only "Type I seed Mix"
Medium food bowl with some grass seeds and "Type I seed Mix"
Picture of how the bowls is situated in the outworld 
The brown thing is a "shelter" for the two testtubes the ants have for houing right now

The Type I Seed Mix from Anthouse.es contains the following seeds: Canary seeds, rapeseeds, flaxseeds, oat, hemp seeds and cereals.

Edited by TigrisDK, February 13 2021 - 11:16 AM.

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#3 Offline TigrisDK - Posted February 13 2021 - 6:47 AM



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Journal Entry 05-01-2021
So today I wanted to checkup on the ants, and decided to lift the "shelter" that I have over the testtubes to give them some dark and privacy. It was a good thing that I did it, because testtubes under the shelter was dry (they have water in the outworld to they haven't been without water)
I replaced the tube that they doesn't really live in, with a tube with more water, which should let them have water for some time now.
I know it's a low quality photo but i couldn't hold the camera still enough sadly, but for what i can see i can count about 20 outside the tube, so there most likely is 25-30 workers in this colony now.
There also is what looks to be brood or larvae, i also saw something a bit bigger than this but it had a worker trying to hide it from the camera so i couldn't get a picture of it.
And the most important member of the colony seems to be doing good, she moved a bit when the cover was removed but seemed to relax pretty quickly which I'm happy to see.
A thing i noticed is that it's mostly canary seeds they have in their tubes, and then use the grass seeds for closing up the entrance together with some cotton.
-Added countings to intro (top of this channel)
-Forgot to take comparison pictures of the food bowls, but i will not disturb the colony more today, so that will have to wait
Journal Entry 06-01-2021
Just a small update for today. For the nest i want to give the ants, i also got a airvent thingy, which also fits on tubing, so i decided to put it to god use until the i need it for the nest.
Journal Entry 11-01-2021
So today i wanted to try and give the ants some cucumber as i have heard that some ants like that, and thought i would give it a try too, i have cut off the skin of it, as if there should be some bad stuff on the cucumber it would most likely be the skin where most of it was on, but it is ecological so it should not be too bad.
Here you see the medium bowl (the one with grass seeds and "Type I Seed Mix". Left picture is from Journal Entry 30-12-2020 and the right picture is from today (11-01-2021)
Here you see the small bowl, which contains "Type I Seed Mix". Left picture is from Journal Entry 30-12-2020, and the right picture is from today (11-01-2021)
For what i can see there has been removed a bit of everything in the small bowl, and mostly grass seeds from the medium but i is a bit hard to see with the medium, i should maybe take a bit better comparison picture later today.
Journal Entry 02-02-2021
(so i haven't really updated this much as there hasn't happend much but here comes what have happened since last)
15th January 2021
So it didn't look like they really ate anything of the cucumber, they might have drank a bit from it but not much, and it had dried out so i decided to remove it, give them a cotton ball with some sugar-water with the mixture of 1:4 sugar to water.
16th January 2021
A worker spend most of the day moving sand, which was a bit odd, but also cute, she moved it from around the outworld, and onto the zoom empty medium feeding bowl, which had had the mixture of 'Type I Seed Mix' and grass seeds.
Video of the worker moving sand (not timelapse)
Video of the worker moving sand (timelapse) (i need to get a stable mount for my phone when taking a timelapse i know)
And a picture of the result of the hard work.
18th January 2021
I emptied the sand out of the medium food bowl and put some new grass seeds in it, so that it only contains grass seeds for now.
28th January 2021
So for some reason the when i woke up there was like 5-6 workers out at the water-tube in the outworld drinking, I got a bit worried that the "living quarters" test-tube that I had replaced with new water had dried out again, which it hadn't (did a quick check). So maybe the ants are starting to wake up a bit from their hibernation, even though it's about a month too early, I don't really know.
You can here see 4 workers in the watertube. (Sorry the picture isn't focused it was pretty early in the morning)



29th January 2021
If it's the case that the ants are starting to wake up, i want to be prepared, at Christmas i got a 'SimAnts Pro S V2 - Typ2' which I want to house them in, as their first real nest, so i went out and got a thermostat of the type 'MicroClimate B1 Dimming Dimmer' and a heat mat of the type 'ReptiMat 14cmx15cm 5W', though the mat I got was bent, but got it for free and then i could see if I could get it straight did the shop keeper say.
(I'm in no way sponserede or anything by either the store i bought the things at or MicroClimate or ReptiMat)
31st January 2021
I used the weekend to try and get the mat straight, which i couldn't so I decided to go out and buy a new one, which was not bent, got it at a discount from the same shop, because of the trouble I had, so everything was good, now i just need to test the thermostat, and figure out what I fill in the water-reserve box below the nest, and what to set the thermostat on to give the ants the best living space.
02nd Febuary 2021
I'm in the process of finding out what to use in the water reserve box, under the nest, i have looked at some aquarium filter cotton, but the only place close buy where i can find some, recently merged with another store and doesn't sell that anymore. I have also looked at Perlite, but the stores that sells that, is also closed because of corona. 
So right now i'm using a yellow sponge that a guy who makes ytong nests, suggested i could use, for a ytong project (that i dropped again) so that's what's going on right now, the ants are still not in the nest, because as told, i'm still testing, and they have gonna a bit down in activity again, so maybe they are not totally awake yet.


Journal Entry 10-02-2021
So i have been testing what the best way to set up the nest and heatmat, so that the ants can decide what they like the most.
My biggest concern is that there is about 9C difference between the hottest and coldest place in the nest, which i think is quite a lot, but the coldest fits with my room temperature, so i guess that as summer hits, the room temperature will go up, and the same will the cold side of the nest, but it also gives me the ability to see what configuration the ants like the most.
I will go with test 1 as the way the nest should be on the heat, as i gives a hot 'wet' and dry place, and a cold 'wet' and dry place, which i think is the best option.

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#4 Offline TigrisDK - Posted February 14 2021 - 1:32 AM



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Journal Entry (12+13)-02-2021

This is a journal entry that covers both 12th February 2021 and 13th February 2021.
12th February 2021 i did a check on the ants, and discovered that there was mold in their test tubes, not so much in the tube that the queen is in, but quite a bit in the other tube, so i was thinking that it would be best, to give the ants the new nest, so that they could move when they felt like it would be best.
This is the end result of their new setup.
Within an hour or so, the workers started to explore the nest the new nest, they seemed to like it a lot.
My biggest concern with the new nest, is that it apparently is a bit too wet as it can be seen.
For my concern with the too wet nest, was put to "shame" as the queen now resides there, so i guess she likes it.
13th February 2021
As there didn't happen much, I went to bed, and let the ants have peace to do their thing. When i woke op, and went to check on the ants, i saw the queen with her royal follow exploring the new nest, i was really surprised as i expected it to take longer for her to move, but i went fast apparently, and they had emptied the testubes they lived in for seeds and bought them into the new nest too.


For my concern with the too wet nest, was put to "shame" as the queen now resides there, so i guess she likes it.

Edited by TigrisDK, February 14 2021 - 1:33 AM.

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