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Steelplant's UK Ants

myrmica lasius niger lasius flavus lasius umbratus

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#1 Offline steelplant - Posted February 19 2021 - 6:23 AM

steelplant

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Featuring Myrmica species (most likely rubra), Lasius niger, Lasius flavus and Lasius umbratus. I'll add the ants to the journal as they come out of hibernation. 

 

Myrmica sp. 1 queen, 3 workers, a few grubs (one big one). This is my first ever ant queen, caught nearly a year ago. I noticed a swarm of black garden ants, looked more closely and saw they were chasing a red queen. She ran into a test tube and the good folks here on FC identified her. I made so many errors with her and she still didn't have any workers after a few months, so I grabbed her 3 pupae from a wild nest at my allotment (vegetable plot). I didn't dig them up (too invasive for me) but just lifted a bit of cardboard and sucked them up with a homemade aspirator. We use the "no dig" method at the allotment, which is great for ants as it doesn't disturb the underground world. I always feed wild colonies I've raided for brood, and several others as well. 

 

This queen was always a fussy eater and would only take flies, but now the boosted workers are doing the foraging, they're happy with mealworms and crickets. I gave them cricket eggs for the first time the other day. This colony is living in a test tube connected to a small homemade outworld with a plaster cave. 

 

Attached File  IMG_20210218_132104005.jpg   196.3KB   1 downloads

 

Myrmica sp. 6 queen founding colony. I walked into a nuptial flight last August in a church graveyard under a giant redwood tree (sequoia). Redwoods are a rare sight in the UK as they're not native, and usually found singly, planted in the last century or two, so still small for redwoods. I lived in northern California for a while and fell in love with them. This was my dream day. The light was otherworldly and everything so still, clouds of ants glowing in these red golden glades. I caught 6, though I fear 2 might be unmated, as they've never been as settled. They're in 3 tubes in a tubs n tubes set up, so they can choose whether to be together or separate. They were two separate 3Q colonies until the other day, when I merged them. They're now all in the middle tube.

 

Attached File  IMG_20210218_132249346.jpg   210.73KB   1 downloads


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#2 Offline steelplant - Posted March 2 2021 - 3:42 AM

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1Q 3W: We had some sunny days last week and I caught a fly for this colony, as the queen loves flies. Sure enough they took the fly into the nest, so the grubs must be eating well. 

 

6Q: These ants weren't as settled as I thought. I witnessed a few acts of aggression on one queen, who was desperately trying tp leave, so I took her out. Things calmed down. On further inspection, 4 queens were in one test tube, huddled up together around a stack of eggs. The remaining queen was by herself in the other tube, no eggs, so I took her out too. So now it's a 4Q colony with eggs. I've offered the colony to my friend whose Myrmica didn't make it through hibernation, but she hasn't decided yet.

 

I put the two left over queens into a new tub and tubes, with a tube each, and am keeping a close eye. No aggression so far. I hope they pair up, but if they don't then they'll have a chance at single founding. 

 

I did catch them in a 4 then a bit later a 2, so maybe they're all back with their original flight mates. 

 

Will try to get some photos soon.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: myrmica, lasius niger, lasius flavus, lasius umbratus

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