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#1 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 18 2021 - 3:38 PM

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Since I use soil setups exclusively I can't observe all that's going on inside the nest.
I've been wondering if you look inside the nest what percentage of workers are actually busy vs the ones who are just chilling?

Might seem like an odd question but I wonder how busy the overall colony is throughout the day since I only really see the active ones.
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#2 Offline MinigunL5 - Posted March 18 2021 - 6:56 PM

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Since I use soil setups exclusively I can't observe all that's going on inside the nest.
I've been wondering if you look inside the nest what percentage of workers are actually busy vs the ones who are just chilling?
Might seem like an odd question but I wonder how busy the overall colony is throughout the day since I only really see the active ones.

It really depends on the species and size of the colony. But generally there's almost always more ants inside the nest than outside. That's why I don't like dirt set-ups. You can't see most of the workers, the queen, or any of the nest activity (which is the most interesting part in my opinion).
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ANTS I KEEP:

Formica subsericea queen with 2 workersLasius aphidicola queens-Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen| Camponotus novaeboracensis queen with ~35 workers10 Solenopsis molesta queens (together) with 5-10 workers| Lasius cf. neoniger queens| Apheonogaster fulva queenBrachymyrmex depilis queen| Myrmica cf. punctiventris queenStenamma brevicorne queen


#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 19 2021 - 2:16 AM

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This is a good question. To generalize, I’d say the vast majority of ants in the nest aren’t doing anything productive. They’re either just idle or wandering about for no discernible reason. 90% of the work is done by 9% of the colony at any given time. Like when I put my Formica in a new dirt setup. Five ants started digging and the other fifty just huddled up in a corner.

Edited by ANTdrew, March 19 2021 - 2:17 AM.

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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.


#4 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 19 2021 - 4:03 AM

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Good to know thanks.
I bet it depends on species a lot.
Formica, lasius, camponotus, messor are very inactive compared to their capacity in my experience.

I'll have to figure out a more active species for my new setup.
Almost thought about getting another manica rubida because they are very active even at a small colony size but I want some variety.

#5 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 19 2021 - 4:10 AM

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What's the most interesting is subjective I guess.
I like to know what's going on inside the nest and to some degree I do see it up against the glass.

The most satisfying aspect to me is the nest building process and how they interact with their (somewhat) natural environment.
The brood raising aspect is pretty simple and predictable once you understand it but I can think for hours why they build a nest how they do and why they have certain behaviors towards other plants and insects.
Pretty much the stuff I observed in nature as a kid.
Only with a leafcutter colony I'd insist on having clear visuals on the inside for obvious reasons. lol
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#6 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 19 2021 - 4:26 AM

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What's the most interesting is subjective I guess.
I like to know what's going on inside the nest and to some degree I do see it up against the glass.

The most satisfying aspect to me is the nest building process and how they interact with their (somewhat) natural environment.
The brood raising aspect is pretty simple and predictable once you understand it but I can think for hours why they build a nest how they do and why they have certain behaviors towards other plants and insects.
Pretty much the stuff I observed in nature as a kid.
Only with a leafcutter colony I'd insist on having clear visuals on the inside for obvious reasons. lol

I agree. Nest activity is basically just the ants huddled around white things. It's pretty much all the same once you've seen it a few times. I like dirt farm style set ups where the ants are forced to dig near the glass, that way you do get a somewhat limited look into their nest, but you can also watch them dig and shape the nest to their parameters.

 

 


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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.


#7 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 19 2021 - 5:58 AM

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Yea what I do is placing a large heating mat against the glass so they will build where I want them to.
That doesn't narrow the space but they will build their brood chambers there
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#8 Offline BugFinder - Posted March 19 2021 - 7:51 AM

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Since I use soil setups exclusively I can't observe all that's going on inside the nest.
I've been wondering if you look inside the nest what percentage of workers are actually busy vs the ones who are just chilling?

Might seem like an odd question but I wonder how busy the overall colony is throughout the day since I only really see the active ones.

 

it depends on the size of the colony, as workers are busy inside caring for brood, caring for the queen, and house keeping at the beginning of their lives, and are busy outside toward the end of their lives.  The spend much  of the middle portion of their lives waiting to be needed for outside work.  And they are literally just waiting around.....   Once they are needed and start working outside the nest, that tends to be what they will do for the rest of their life.

 

As the colony becomes larger, and has more workers out foraging and fighting, they need more ants waiting around in reserve to replace the ones that never return.   So early on in the lifespan of a colony you may not have any that aren't busy, but in the later years of the colony there are lots and lots of ants that spend a lot of time just waiting.   It kind of reminds me of the military in that way.


Edited by BugFinder, March 19 2021 - 7:51 AM.

“If an ant carries an object a hundred times its weight, you can carry burdens many times your size.”  ― Matshona Dhliwayo

 

My Journals:

Pogonomyrmex subdentatus

Camponotus Vicinus

Camponotus sansabeanus

Tetramorium (sp)

Pogonomyrmex Californicus

My Ant Goals!


#9 Offline BugFinder - Posted March 19 2021 - 7:55 AM

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What's the most interesting is subjective I guess.
I like to know what's going on inside the nest and to some degree I do see it up against the glass.

The most satisfying aspect to me is the nest building process and how they interact with their (somewhat) natural environment.
The brood raising aspect is pretty simple and predictable once you understand it but I can think for hours why they build a nest how they do and why they have certain behaviors towards other plants and insects.
Pretty much the stuff I observed in nature as a kid.
Only with a leafcutter colony I'd insist on having clear visuals on the inside for obvious reasons. lol

I agree. Nest activity is basically just the ants huddled around white things. It's pretty much all the same once you've seen it a few times. I like dirt farm style set ups where the ants are forced to dig near the glass, that way you do get a somewhat limited look into their nest, but you can also watch them dig and shape the nest to their parameters.

 

 

 

Drews "Dirt Box" nest is the best I've seen for that so far.


“If an ant carries an object a hundred times its weight, you can carry burdens many times your size.”  ― Matshona Dhliwayo

 

My Journals:

Pogonomyrmex subdentatus

Camponotus Vicinus

Camponotus sansabeanus

Tetramorium (sp)

Pogonomyrmex Californicus

My Ant Goals!


#10 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 19 2021 - 8:10 AM

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Yes, I own two of them. They're excellent.


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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.


#11 Offline BugFinder - Posted March 19 2021 - 9:01 AM

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i wish he would make more.  i would buy two right now! lol.


“If an ant carries an object a hundred times its weight, you can carry burdens many times your size.”  ― Matshona Dhliwayo

 

My Journals:

Pogonomyrmex subdentatus

Camponotus Vicinus

Camponotus sansabeanus

Tetramorium (sp)

Pogonomyrmex Californicus

My Ant Goals!


#12 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 19 2021 - 1:29 PM

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That makes a lot of sense BugFinder.
I don't know if that makes a difference but my ants have a lot of predators in their tank like spiders centipedes and even another small ant colony.

I mostly feed them small fruit flies so there's a lot of hunting for smaller amounts of food.
Since I started doing that the overall activity increased drastically.
Manica rubida have a pretty small social stomach for their size as well so they can't hang around too long like camponotus would.
10 of them dig in a month what my lasius dug up in over 3 years they are very busy ants

#13 Offline MinigunL5 - Posted March 19 2021 - 2:13 PM

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Good to know thanks.
I bet it depends on species a lot.
Formica, lasius, camponotus, messor are very inactive compared to their capacity in my experience.

I'll have to figure out a more active species for my new setup.
Almost thought about getting another manica rubida because they are very active even at a small colony size but I want some variety.

It definitely depends on species. For example, my Camponotus novaeboracensis colony has 0-3 workers foraging at any given time, I don't think I've seen anymore than 3 out at any given time. Usually though it's one or none. In contrast, my Pogonomyrmex occidentalis colony with a similar amount of workers almost always has at least 1-3 workers foraging and sometimes even more.

ANTS I KEEP:

Formica subsericea queen with 2 workersLasius aphidicola queens-Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen| Camponotus novaeboracensis queen with ~35 workers10 Solenopsis molesta queens (together) with 5-10 workers| Lasius cf. neoniger queens| Apheonogaster fulva queenBrachymyrmex depilis queen| Myrmica cf. punctiventris queenStenamma brevicorne queen


#14 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 19 2021 - 2:19 PM

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AA, you should get Crematogaster scutellaris. They would be super active, plus they look great.
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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.


#15 Offline MinigunL5 - Posted March 19 2021 - 2:52 PM

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I also suggest you try normal formicariums if you haven't yet. 


ANTS I KEEP:

Formica subsericea queen with 2 workersLasius aphidicola queens-Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen| Camponotus novaeboracensis queen with ~35 workers10 Solenopsis molesta queens (together) with 5-10 workers| Lasius cf. neoniger queens| Apheonogaster fulva queenBrachymyrmex depilis queen| Myrmica cf. punctiventris queenStenamma brevicorne queen


#16 Offline AntsUtah - Posted March 19 2021 - 5:35 PM

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Since I use soil setups exclusively I can't observe all that's going on inside the nest.
I've been wondering if you look inside the nest what percentage of workers are actually busy vs the ones who are just chilling?

Might seem like an odd question but I wonder how busy the overall colony is throughout the day since I only really see the active ones.

Ants forage in different amounts throughout the day, during my set feeding time during the day, the colonies seem more active in the outworld, even the nocturnal ones. Based on my knowledge, Tetramorium has about 1:10 workers foraging for everyone in the nest. My Temnothorax colony has about 1:6. Camponotus have the smallest amount of foraging ants per member of the colony in my experience. Ants that store food also don't dedicate many workers to collecting food versus other colonies that almost constantly forage, such as Crematogaster and Formica.


Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My DIY Formicariums

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#17 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 19 2021 - 6:01 PM

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AA, you should get Crematogaster scutellaris. They would be super active, plus they look great.


They look cool they might be something for when i make a smaller setup.
For my big one that I make I wanna have a larger species but I have no idea what yet.

I'm almost tempted to get another manica colony because it's my favorite species native to me.
In germany/austria you can buy non natives legally but I'm not ready for that. You can even get diacamma and acromyrmex.
I'd had to have properly secured room to be comfortable with that




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