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MG's P. imparis, a possibly Tragic Tale (but maybe not!)

antkeeping formicaria prenelopsis imparis canada ontario winter ant false honeypot ant polygyny

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#1 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 11 2021 - 12:23 PM

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This week (April 8-10 2021) I caught and identified a queen of P. imparis, whom I promptly lost attempting to switch to a secure chamber, and then I promptly caught another. in the following days i caught 3 more.

 

I was wild with excitement. I needed proper tubes! Things! Things that cost money!

 

But I did not need money.

 

See, my Gramma had all sorts of stuff and I got some of the treasure over the years... Including one of those incredible dangerous old-school Chemistry Sets, the kind that come with hydrochloric acid. You know, for kids. It was never opened, I just had it to have it. And chemistry sets mean test tubes.

 

IT WAS PRISTINE. Sort of. The chems are a hazmat nightmare but the glassware was completely unbroken. I cleaned it all nicely and set up 4 claustral chambers, one for each queen, and got to researching how to care for who I'd caught. Some of that research led here (and there was much rejoicing).

 

I check on my 4 in the morning. I failed in my responsibilities and did not set up a chamber properly, drowning the poor lass. My OG wingless and 2 winged girls were fine. I removed the tube and rinsed it, setting it up with more care just in case.

 

My care was warranted when stepping out on my deck last night, I saw a disturbance in a water-dish and to be sure, it was a wingless queen. Into the tube she went, on a dishtowel under a napkin, as I was loath to open the bower yet again that day.

 

This morning I placed her in the Ladies' Bower (a drawer in a mostly dark, mostly quiet room) and made sure of life. Life was confirmed. 2 winged, 2 wingless, all alive.

 

JUST NOW before I started writing this novella, I took the advice of several experienced keepers and went to combine my queens in pairs, thinking to put the matching pairs together. To my absolute delight one of the winged queens broke her wings off in the last several hours. i put her with her winged sister and put the two caught grounded in a single tube. In no tube were eggs seen at this time, but the queens seemed to greet each other with some amount of pleasure and I do not think they are fighting, they appear to be washing each other like teeny tiny cats. Will try for pics soon.

 

Thanks for reading, I hope to have non-tragic news shortly!


Edited by mantisgal, April 11 2021 - 12:25 PM.

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#2 Online ANTdrew - Posted April 11 2021 - 12:39 PM

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Research and use good ol’ common sense, and I guarantee you will have no tragedy.
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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.


#3 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 11 2021 - 12:40 PM

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When you put the queens in pairs, they have more eggs, and supercolonies are just really cool.


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#4 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 11 2021 - 12:44 PM

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When you put the queens in pairs, they have more eggs, and supercolonies are just really cool.

You got eggs really fast! Am trying hard not to be jealous!


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#5 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted April 11 2021 - 6:29 PM

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When you put the queens in pairs, they have more eggs, and supercolonies are just really cool.

A duo of queens is not a super colony...
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#6 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 11 2021 - 7:26 PM

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When you put the queens in pairs, they have more eggs, and supercolonies are just really cool.

A duo of queens is not a super colony...

 

maybe all 4 will lay and I can blend them in estivation someday. It would be super-er than a monogyne anyway ;)



#7 Online ANTdrew - Posted April 12 2021 - 2:34 AM

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If you want to join them, it would be best before they lay eggs.
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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.


#8 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 12 2021 - 7:31 AM

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I am resisting the urge to do anything to them today. I am Doing Science now! I do not plan to move anytime soon, so it is entirely likely that I have P. imparis on tap for the foreseeable future. As a neophyte I am trying not to take too big a bite of this delicious formic pie, and am thinking that if I am successful with this capture, I will try for a more crowded claustral chamber of however many I grab (but probably not more than four to six) at my next opportunity.


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#9 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 12 2021 - 7:35 AM

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Yeah, after they lay their first eggs(and probably before) you shouldn't bother them too much. They could get stressed out.


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#10 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 13 2021 - 5:44 PM

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I am a failure. I did not resist and I looked at them yesterday. They were very chill and the Wingless crew was napping I think. Wing & Wingless pair showed 1 pretty active and 1 very chill, respectively.

Q: will an infertile queen alate harm the eggs of a fertile queen in the same nest? Should I find a way to let her go if she hasn't shown signs by end of week?

Anyways, they appeared to be fine. I did much better today and did not open their personal drawer, though I did carefully slide open a drawer underneath. I needed a thing! It's my kitchen! Yes their placement is terrible please don't yell at me I already yell at myself. I'm making a nice dark box for their tubes and hope to have them in there by end of week, when I will probably be bothering them but as slowly and smoothly as possible. To satisfy my ant-watching needs I spent some time with the Prennies outside. Saw a bunch of lads and at least one queen alate still in there. They've been very busy the last couple days so I think someone's getting a new chamber down there 😀 I wonder if a new queen joined them...

Q: would adding wild workers help or harm?

#11 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted April 14 2021 - 9:36 AM

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Q: will an infertile queen alate harm the eggs of a fertile queen in the same nest? Should I find a way to let her go if she hasn't shown signs by end of week?

A: They probably won't. It can take a while for queens to lay eggs so you can keep her for longer than a week. If you want to release her do it during a flight, but if flights are over I would just keep her and see how it goes.

Q: would adding wild workers help or harm?

 

Most likely harm, but there is a method using vinegar that may work. You could dunk the workers in vinegar as this seemingly gets rid of their colonies pheromones, which basically means they no longer belong to a colony and it should be safe to introduce them to your queens. However, things could go wrong and the queens and workers may slaughter each other.


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#12 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 14 2021 - 10:10 AM

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Thank you very much for the information, I think I will leave things as they are. I do think the remaining Winged Lassie would be fine in the wild nest, as it may even be hers, and I'm not sure but I think some fertile queens waltzed in there and are being accommodated because a lot of excavation is going on under the patio. I've seen more alate-types with entourages in the main entrance but not like the crowding a Mother Queen is often barely seen under, so it is possible there may be a last flight in my yard

Edited by mantisgal, April 14 2021 - 10:10 AM.


#13 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 15 2021 - 10:14 AM

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It is cool and rainy today, so I cannot look at the wild colony in comfort. I am the Resisty! I am resisting the urge to check for life, though I did complete a cardboard sleeve for the two test tubes that I think they'd be more cozy and dark in.

Do I check on them NOWNOWNOWOMGDOITNOW and put them in their new box at the same time if they still live?

Or do I wait for my calendar-alarm to remind me it is ant checking time, like a good and patient keeper, and put them in their box then?

#14 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 15 2021 - 10:45 AM

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Do not check on them now. I made that mistake and one of my queens ate all her eggs. Just one though. And she has more now, but now I'm leaving them alone for a while.


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#15 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 15 2021 - 11:10 AM

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Ugh, fine. :)



#16 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 15 2021 - 11:12 AM

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It's for the queens own good. But I know how tempting it is to look at them.


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#17 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 15 2021 - 2:53 PM

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I am not the Resisty, but it was for a good cause!

 

The kitchen drawer, although conveniently dark, was not conveniently quiet. Thus I spent some time with my spare test tubes, a small cardboard box and an x-acto knife to make a little darkbox for them, it holds 2 tubes. I was aiming for 3 but I mismeasured on the last cell, however 2 is enough for my current purposes, the next box I make will be much better. I placed the finished box on a shelf unlikely to be jostled or experience vibration, along with a thermometer. Some hours later I saw the temp on the shelf was about 21-22C, compared to 19-20C in the kitchen. I didn't think this was high enough to force early estivation, so...

 

I Opened the Bower. It has been 3 days since my last transgression against My Ladies Fair.

 

All were alive and apparently happy in their pairs, though I have growing doubts about the one Winged Sister's validity as a Queen, she is not nearly as rounded as the other three. Hope springs eternal, etc. They seemed to be quite calm, the dim light in the room didn't seem to bother them much, and There Were No Eggs. Hoping the added degree aids their comfort, since underground can be warmer than aboveground for all that they can forage in snow so I'm considering a Queen chamber metres underground might be warm-ish


Edited by mantisgal, April 15 2021 - 2:54 PM.


#18 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 16 2021 - 7:01 AM

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Whelp, because it was raining today in MA I would of said that there was going to maybe be a flight of Preno, but it ended up snowing instead.....


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#19 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 16 2021 - 9:08 AM

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aw nuts. all of mine were caught on cool sunny days after rain but that could be the Toronto microclimate bubble at work. is it still snowing?



#20 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 16 2021 - 9:40 AM

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Currently when I posted this is it raining. We got little snow, but we still did get snow. The snow it melting quickly.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: antkeeping, formicaria, prenelopsis imparis, canada, ontario, winter ant, false honeypot ant, polygyny

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