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How do I get ants to move their trash outside?

antkeeping help trash nest outworld garbage pile heap

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Offline SkallYeen - Posted May 7 2021 - 9:24 PM

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My Camponotus chromaiodes colony keeps their trash pile in their nest and refuses to move it out. It's in one of the most humid areas of the nest, it's unsightly, it's staining the material, it can't be cleaned without relocating the whole colony, and while I haven't had issues with mold in awhile it's making me a bit nervous.
I'm told that ants do this when a nest is too big for them, but this colony is housed in a mini hearth and they're some 50-60 workers strong, so they seem to fit pretty snugly.

SPOILER_image_15.jpg

And as you can see, they have a hefty pupa pile as well, just waiting for a huge population boom.

image_17.jpg

I've found myself concerned more about overcrowding the nest than underfilling it, especially considering how formic acid buildup could occur in a crowded nest and be a problem for the ants. But they still have that ugly trash heap in the corner... what do I do?

Should I hold off on expanding their nest until they've taken the trash out, even after the population boom hits?
Should I heat under the trash instead of the left side so they'd have incentive to clear out the space for brood?
Would either of those work? Would either of them risk the colony's health?

Am I mistaken as to how well this nest fits the colony?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



#2 Offline Queen - Posted May 7 2021 - 11:01 PM

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While I don't have your Camponotus species, I am responding based on my personal experience of other species that I have kept inside a Mini Hearth XL that have left trash inside and stained the nest.

 

Should I hold off on expanding their nest until they've taken the trash out, even after the population boom hits?

I never expanded their nest. I have just let them be and eventually they take it out. However, while mold wasn't an issue, booklice was. I suppose booklice is supposed to be good for the nest and trash piles since they eat them and prevent the spread of mold... but at a certain point enough is enough.

 

Should I heat under the trash instead of the left side so they'd have incentive to clear out the space for brood?

I can't really tell where the trash is from the picture you posted, but I have my heat cable run perpendicular to and under the glass on the left side (opposite of water tower). The ants will figure it out in terms of getting that heat, whether it be moving the trash away or other substrate (I have sand in some of my colonies).

 

Would either of those work? Would either of them risk the colony's health?
Am I mistaken as to how well this nest fits the colony?

In my opinion I think it fits well. I'd probably opt for the XL if it were up to me. However, I am more cautious on feeding insects when ants aren't taking out the trash. For example, I'd feed less to make sure they are able to eat it all and not stockpile leftovers. While the actual nest is mold resistant, I actually have had mold grow on the dead insects. A way to clean it out is to put the nest in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and then quickly take off the glass and vacuum it out (or tweezer). If the trash has mold or is really bothering you, I'd clean it. If it isn't, I'd leave it. Ants know what's best for them in my experience.

 

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need a picture of how I set up my heat cable as described above.


Edited by Queen, May 7 2021 - 11:02 PM.


#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 8 2021 - 2:10 AM

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That looks way cleaner than all my nests. Honestly, I wouldn’t even worried about it. As the colony grows. They will keep the space cleaner inside. The mold phobia in ant-keeping is way overblown in my opinion.
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#4 Offline AleeGuy - Posted May 8 2021 - 7:38 AM

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They might take all that trash out once they ran out of free space, that's at least what my Camponotus did.

#5 Offline Antkeeper01 - Posted May 8 2021 - 8:13 AM

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My Camponotus chromaiodes colony keeps their trash pile in their nest and refuses to move it out. It's in one of the most humid areas of the nest, it's unsightly, it's staining the material, it can't be cleaned without relocating the whole colony, and while I haven't had issues with mold in awhile it's making me a bit nervous.
I'm told that ants do this when a nest is too big for them, but this colony is housed in a mini hearth and they're some 50-60 workers strong, so they seem to fit pretty snugly.

SPOILER_image_15.jpg

And as you can see, they have a hefty pupa pile as well, just waiting for a huge population boom.

image_17.jpg

I've found myself concerned more about overcrowding the nest than underfilling it, especially considering how formic acid buildup could occur in a crowded nest and be a problem for the ants. But they still have that ugly trash heap in the corner... what do I do?

Should I hold off on expanding their nest until they've taken the trash out, even after the population boom hits?
Should I heat under the trash instead of the left side so they'd have incentive to clear out the space for brood?
Would either of those work? Would either of them risk the colony's health?

Am I mistaken as to how well this nest fits the colony?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

damn that's one clean nest my Pogonomyrmex occidentalis have turned some of the Fortress I have them in black


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1X Solenopsis molesta 10 Workers (mono)

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#6 Offline Canadant - Posted May 9 2021 - 9:13 AM

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What trash? Lol. My Camponotus cleaned out their trash when the colony size grew. I'm having the same problem now with my Formica sp. They however they seem fine living with a garbage pile in their living room. They are ants though. We can't put too much human expectations on the little guys.
"You don't get what you want. You get what you deserve".





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: antkeeping, help, trash, nest, outworld, garbage, pile, heap

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