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Phasor's Crematogaster Journal

journal crematogaster

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#1 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 13 2021 - 6:14 PM

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Happy Birthday!

 

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If you have been following my Lasius journal, you would have seen my single surviving Crematogaster Queen was starting to take over, since she was the fastest developing. Well, now that she has her first nanitics, I am moving her story to a separate thread, and keeping the Lasius there.

 

Anyway, this past week has been full of anticipation for me. My first workers! Finally I have an actual colony, instead of just a few queens. I was very excited, and was hard pressed to not check in on her frequently to see the pupae getting darker. In fact, last night I set up a time lapse camera to record for twelve hours, because I was convinced that they were just hours away from eclosing. Well, they did not start moving in that time, but I still did catch some really interesting events, including a lot of moving brood around, several new eggs being laid, and even a larvae getting cleaned by the queen to become a pupa! Check it out here!

 

Like I said, when I went to check on them this morning, they had not yet eclosed, though they had to be getting close. Here's a pic I took then, with four pupae a nice dark brown, almost ready to come out of the oven! :P

 

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After this check, I did set up my time lapse camera again, but unfortunately it wasn't in focus this time so you couldn't really see anything... Soon I'll have a much better setup for taking videos like this! And I won't have to use a knockoff GoPro with a phone's macro lens taped to the front.

 

When I went back down to check later this afternoon, there they were! I think. One was moving around, but I lost sight of it. Then I think it was just in the pile with the other. I pulled the tube out where I could see better and watched the new little ones. And little they were! This was my first indication of just how much smaller workers are compared to the queen. Other than pictures and videos I've seen, in person I'd only ever seen workers alone, or queens alone. 

 

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I did catch this adorable interaction where the queen picked up one of the new callows by the head and moved her around, before cleaning her.

 

"Put me down, Mom!"

 

I'm sure the other two nanitics will be up and moving tonight, if they aren't already as I'm writing this. Tomorrow I'll give them a drop of Sunburst, then on Monday after work I'll swing by the pet store and pick up a few feeder insects for them. I hear this species eats a lot! I'm looking forward to having many little mouths to feed.

 

It's actually starting now! I'm an antkeeper!


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#2 Online ANTdrew - Posted February 13 2021 - 6:20 PM

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Cheers, brother! My new queen is coming in right behind yours. Get them nectar asap. Cut a tiny piece of paper towel and soak a drop in it to avoid drowning the tiny nanitics.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#3 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 13 2021 - 7:43 PM

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Is it ok to leave that Sunburst soaked paper towel in overnight? Or should I let her drink for a bit then remove it? The nanitics don't seem to be responding to it.


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#4 Online ANTdrew - Posted February 14 2021 - 3:57 AM

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Totally fine to leave it. Replace daily and offer protein in a few days. The nanitics are probably too young yet to feed. Nice work!
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#5 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted February 14 2021 - 7:34 AM

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I think Crematogaster are pretty much the perfect ant for captivity, besides being escape artists of course, but there are ways to prevent that.


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#6 Online ANTdrew - Posted February 14 2021 - 9:41 AM

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I think Crematogaster are pretty much the perfect ant for captivity, besides being escape artists of course, but there are ways to prevent that.

They definitely adapt very well to captivity.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#7 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 14 2021 - 10:44 AM

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I think Crematogaster are pretty much the perfect ant for captivity, besides being escape artists of course, but there are ways to prevent that.

They definitely adapt very well to captivity.

 

I... third this!!!


Ants I am keeping:

 none for now, planning on being more active this year


#8 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 14 2021 - 11:20 AM

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Gave them another circle of nectar this morning. The other two nanitics are active now, so four workers. They all went crazy when I uncovered the tube, which the queen never really did when it was just her. Still, only the queen went to drink. I'm sure the workers will come around soon.

#9 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 14 2021 - 11:45 AM

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Gave them another circle of nectar this morning. The other two nanitics are active now, so four workers. They all went crazy when I uncovered the tube, which the queen never really did when it was just her. Still, only the queen went to drink. I'm sure the workers will come around soon.

you're going to need an outworld asap probably. They are really active foragers and will often forage even if its just 2-3 workers. This is from my experience.


Ants I am keeping:

 none for now, planning on being more active this year


#10 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 14 2021 - 11:54 AM

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you're going to need an outworld asap probably. They are really active foragers and will often forage even if its just 2-3 workers. This is from my experience.


Like, a full outworld, or just a little feeding chamber? I've got some little tub I could use, but I'm waiting on some escape prevention. What would you recommend?

#11 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 14 2021 - 11:56 AM

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you're going to need an outworld asap probably. They are really active foragers and will often forage even if its just 2-3 workers. This is from my experience.


Like, a full outworld, or just a little feeding chamber? I've got some little tub I could use, but I'm waiting on some escape prevention. What would you recommend?

 

a small feeding chamber will do just as good as a real outworld imo, but its just more fun to watch your ants explore the big outworld and climb everything.


Ants I am keeping:

 none for now, planning on being more active this year


#12 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 14 2021 - 11:58 AM

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a small feeding chamber will do just as good as a real outworld imo, but its just more fun to watch your ants explore the big outworld and climb everything.


I'll probably make one today then. Still might use a small chamber in the meantime... But either way. I'll figure it out.
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#13 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 14 2021 - 1:07 PM

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a small feeding chamber will do just as good as a real outworld imo, but its just more fun to watch your ants explore the big outworld and climb everything.


I'll probably make one today then. Still might use a small chamber in the meantime... But either way. I'll figure it out.

 

yes. to be honest, at the current numbers, a small chamber is the best. Outworld is probably better for 5+workers. this is because they start trying to come out because of how active they are.


Edited by antsandmore, February 14 2021 - 1:08 PM.

Ants I am keeping:

 none for now, planning on being more active this year


#14 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 14 2021 - 2:42 PM

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Okay, I attached my little tub to their tube, and honestly I'm absolutely terrified that I did something wrong and they're all gonna die. The little paper towel soaked with nectar I was giving them would dry out very quickly, so I was replacing it every few hours. I think I was bothering them too much, because they moved all the brood away from the entrance and heat cable, and right up to the water cotton. Maybe it was just getting too dry with the tube getting opened up, and they moved to better humidity...

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Still, this is the first time I'm really altering their habitat, so I just know if there's ever a time for me to screw up and kill them all, it's now. I just know I did something wrong and I'm gonna pay for it, ugh, damn this anxiety.

Here's what I added to the tube...
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It's got a bit of talcum powder around the top to hopefully keep them in when I feed them, and a qtip full of nectar that hopefully will last longer than the paper towel, since I don't have a liquid feeder small enough to fit in here.

I guess I'll just... Leave them to eventually discover the new area.
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#15 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 14 2021 - 3:10 PM

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Ahhhh nope nope nope.

I've gone and convinced myself I did something wrong and was gonna kill the whole colony, so I backed out and put the cotton back. Still using the qtip, but they haven't really seemed to give any issues so far in the tube, so I'm gonna leave it alone.

My biggest fear was that the talcum powder I used was medicated, so it had menthol and other stuff in it, and I dunno if that would be bad for them. I have better baby powder and also fluon coming, so I'll just wait for that to get her Tuesday.

#16 Online ANTdrew - Posted February 14 2021 - 4:55 PM

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Yeah, you’re good to keep feeding them in the tube. Don’t worry too much about spontaneously killing them. You’re dealing with one of earth’s dominant life forces, not some faerie beings. Use best practices and common sense, and they will thrive.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#17 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 14 2021 - 5:06 PM

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Alright, yeah. I mentioned at the beginning I was gonna have some anxiety with this. There's a reason I probably won't get a cat for a long time, even if I want one. Being responsible for keeping another being alive, even something like an ant, is enough to stress me out.

Anyway, the qtip I'm using has a hollow stick, so I can refill the nectar without having to unplug and reach into the tube now, so hopefully they aren't as bothered. Although tomorrow I'll have to when I bring them meat

#18 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 16 2021 - 4:51 PM

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Update 2/16/2021

Not a Saturday I know, but yesterday I swung by the pet store to pick up some feeders (which was super stressful btw, my first time trying to get live feeders) and gave my little Crematogaster colony their first taste of MEAT.

They weren't too happy about that.

So the first thing I noticed is they had brought their brood right up against the Qtip soaked with the ant nectar I had stuck into their tube. When I uncovered the tube and turned on the light, they all started scrambling around and rushing all the brood back against the water cotton, probably because they realized I was about to open the cotton and wiggle the Qtip as I had been doing. And which I then proceeded to do again.

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(In bringing the brood to safety, the workers stuck a bunch of the eggs to the Queen's gaster. It was silly)
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Anyway, I cut the butt end of a mealworm off and slipped it into the tube, replacing the sugar and cotton. Then I watched and waited.... And of course they didn't do anything. I didn't know if the mealworm was bad or too full of poo, or if they were just too young and scared. I covered then back up and let them be, to discover it in their own time.

I checked again several hours later, and it didn't look like they had touched the mealworm yet. They had also moved the brood back on top of the nectary Qtip.

It was about this time that I realized, they weren't moving the brood to the sugar.

I had put the sugar in the exact spot that the queen had been keeping her brood the entire time. So it's my fault.

Anyway, it didn't seem like they liked the mealworm, so I chilled and smushed a few fruit flies I had picked up, and dropped them into the tube as well. Again I replaced the sugar and cotton, but I was careful to keep it away from that spot, and I also moved the tube further over the heat, so they wouldn't need to be so close to the front. I watched them for a bit more, but they didn't do anything so I covered them back up and went to bed.

Today, after work, I came home and checked on them again. They had moved the brood back to the warm spot they like, but it was well clear of the messy sugar and food. I also noticed a fresh new callow worker moving around! Maybe a second. I'm gonna say two, so my colony is now up to six workers!
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I also noticed one of the workers marching around carrying a fruit fly! It seems they found some food they liked, so I'm happy.
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I actually took a short video of her munch munching on the fly, but I don't want to upload it to YouTube and I don't know how to embed a video here, so I won't bother. Maybe someday.

Anyway, I'll let them eat that today and tomorrow afternoon I'll give them a bit more, maybe try mealworm again? But the colony is growing, and it looks like a few more pupae are getting darker! I'm sure soon I'll be ready to attach that little feeding chamber and not have to worry, and feeding will get a lot easier.

This is getting fun~
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#19 Online ANTdrew - Posted February 16 2021 - 5:31 PM

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It sounds like they’re doing great.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#20 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 16 2021 - 7:13 PM

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