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Camponotus herculeanus from zero journal

camponotus herculeanus queen test tube starting colony journal

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#1 Offline Max_Connor - Posted June 13 2021 - 10:00 PM

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Hi everyone!

So this is going to be a Camponotus herculeanus colony journal (hopefully if the colony grows to some extent).

 

I want this topic to be a convenient way of keeping track of the starting colony and place where you can leave some advice for everyone, because it's my first time keeping camponotus ants like these.

At this point it's just a queen with a pile of eggs, which seem to bee fertilized, as soon as she is keeping them close to herself. She was caught in northern Central Asia by the way.

Here's the timeline:

 

2021

 

May 24th

Queen caught wingless, placed into the test tube set-up (no dirt or wood pieces). Body length ~16-17 mm

 

May 31st

Has laid about 10-12 eggs, holds the pile in her mouth. The pile is placed more to the wet side of the test tube. The eggs' insides are reddish.

IMG_20210531_091929.jpg IMG_20210531_091924.jpg

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June 7th

Everything is ok. 2 eggs are separated from the rest of the pile, and the queen kinda ignores those two. Offered her some sugar syrup, she immediately absorbed it.

 

June 10th

Everything is still.

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Offline Max_Connor - Posted June 16 2021 - 8:36 PM

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Update

 

June 17th

Eggs appear larger, but none of them have hatched yet. The queen seems to have problems with the test tubes' diameter - it's a 16mm test tube, and when she turns around her petiole really bends that gaster closer to the body. Do I need to rehome her into a 20mm test tube at this point, or wait until the first workers before rehoming? And is it bad for the queen to be in such a narrow space, or she prefers it?

 

IMG_20210617_100104.jpg

IMG_20210617_100156.jpg

IMG_20210617_100210.jpg



#3 Offline DIACAMMAWORLDCOOL - Posted June 16 2021 - 9:16 PM

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I don't think the size really matters.



#4 Online ANTdrew - Posted June 17 2021 - 9:13 AM

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Size doesn’t matter in this case.
"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 azzaaazzzz00 - Posted June 17 2021 - 1:21 PM

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She's probably fine in there :).


Been keeping ants since January of 2021

 

Always try new things, even if its hard, hard is not impossible. We are smart and it's good to be smart but not too smart for your own good.


#6 Offline Max_Connor - Posted June 23 2021 - 5:48 PM

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Update

June 24th

 

Finally there's one larva and a pupa! All the other eggs look the same as before.

 

IMG_20210624_083702.jpg

 

IMG_20210624_083623.jpg

*Her morning stretch*


Edited by Max_Connor, June 23 2021 - 5:49 PM.


#7 Offline Max_Connor - Posted June 24 2021 - 10:39 PM

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So it took about 25-30 days for one of the eggs to develop into pupa, while the average temperature was 23-24 C with 4-5 warm days at 26-27 C.

Edited by Max_Connor, June 24 2021 - 10:40 PM.


#8 Offline Max_Connor - Posted June 30 2021 - 5:18 PM

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Update July 1st

(after 5 weeks)

There's 3 pupae and 2 larvae, all the other eggs look the same. Does it mean that there's gonna be only 5-6 nanitics, and the rest of the eggs are gonna be eaten by the queen? Or they will just stay there for a few weeks and start developing after nanitics show up?

 

I also caught a vagus queen about 3 weeks ago, she still has her wings on and hasn't laid any eggs. Is there any point of keeping her?


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#9 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted July 1 2021 - 8:43 AM

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Often times extra eggs are laid to be used as food for the larvae.

#10 Offline Max_Connor - Posted July 7 2021 - 7:55 PM

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Update July 8th
(6 weeks)
The queen is fine, there's 5 pupae present and 2 small larvae, so I expect a first worker in about a week.

Edited by Max_Connor, July 7 2021 - 7:55 PM.

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#11 Offline Max_Connor - Posted July 12 2021 - 7:40 PM

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Update July 13th

(47 days)

 

The first nanitic is finally here! Body length is about 7-8 mm.

Gave them some sugar syrup, and I don't know how often I should feed them - maybe twice a week with sugar syrup and a piece of fruit?

 

 

IMG_20210713_101950.jpg

 

 

IMG_20210713_100305.jpg


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#12 Offline Max_Connor - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:28 PM

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Update July 18th

(52 days)

 

And we got 3 workers, which were pulling the cotton ball to get out. Offered them a piece of apple and a little frozen and then thawed worm, they got excited!

 

 

 

 

IMG_20210718_101846.jpg

 

 

IMG_20210718_101812.jpg


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#13 Offline eea - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:40 PM

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Update July 13th

(47 days)

 

The first nanitic is finally here! Body length is about 7-8 mm.

Gave them some sugar syrup, and I don't know how often I should feed them - maybe twice a week with sugar syrup and a piece of fruit?

 

 

attachicon.gifIMG_20210713_101950.jpg

 

 

attachicon.gifIMG_20210713_100305.jpg

what i do is i feed my colony honey water every 3 days and on the 6th day i give them protein, works for me


-camponotus sansabeanus: 20 wokrers


#14 Offline Max_Connor - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:52 PM

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what i do is i feed my colony honey water every 3 days and on the 6th day i give them protein, works for me

 

 

 

 

The thing is there's only 3 workers so far, and I don't wanna disturb them too much.

 

They have some larvae left there though, so I think more protein would make them raise extra workers before hibernation.

 

And I should start their hibernation in just 2.5 - 3 months...


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#15 Offline Max_Connor - Posted July 22 2021 - 9:28 PM

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Update July 22nd - 23rd

(56-57 days)

 

So now there's 4 workers, which are too hungry somehow, cause they can't help but pull the outer cotton constantly and even pull the water-plugging cotton. Giving honey water and a bug pupa didn't help. At first I thought the problem was that the cotton whick led to water wasn't actually letting enough water through itself, and half of the water had already gone, so I decided to move the ants into another, larger test tube:

 

 

 

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It took them 24 hours to move into the new home. And still 1-2 of the workers were trying to chew the water-plugging cotton in the first test tube, which could only mean they needed even more food. Fed them some honey water and squished almonds.

 

Their brood consists of a pupa and several larvae, maybe they're trying to raise the larvae as fast as possible before hibernation, and they would want protein even more often?

 


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#16 Offline Max_Connor - Posted July 26 2021 - 8:03 PM

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Update

July 27th

(61 days)

 

And there goes the fifth nanitic - that was the last pupa in the first pile of workers. She's a little larger - about 8-9 mm.

There's also a decent amount of small larvae - about 10-12 of them, which means the queen has laid the second batch!

 

And the cotton ball was really torn apart, even though they had some almonds left in their test tube. Gave them some honey water; a piece of melon, which they really liked; and a piece of mealworm.


Edited by Max_Connor, July 26 2021 - 8:04 PM.

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#17 Offline Max_Connor - Posted August 2 2021 - 6:23 PM

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Update

 

July 30th

(64 days)

 

Everything was still, I fed them a few honey water drops, there was almost no mold in the test tube.

 

 

August 3rd

(68 days)

 

Sad news! There appears to be a lot of black mold in the set up (which has grown in just 3-4 days), and two of the workers are dead!

 

IMG_20210803_084348.jpg

 

 

IMG_20210803_084621.jpg

 

 

Now, my guess is that there was too much stress on these two during the moving and the mold finished them. I feel like I've overfed them a little and there were a couple of nut and bug larva pieces lying near the watered cotton ball...

 

Is this camponotus species really susceptible to mold, and they don't usually clean their set up?

 

The larvae from the second batch seem to be larger. Will they be able to replace the dead workers before hibernation?

 

 



#18 Offline Max_Connor - Posted August 9 2021 - 9:55 PM

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Update

August 10th

(75 days)

 

I've been checking on them every 3 days, had to rehome them into another test tube due to the mold, there's still 3 workers and developing larvae. The larvae don't seem to get larger though


Edited by Max_Connor, August 9 2021 - 9:55 PM.

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#19 Offline Max_Connor - Posted September 27 2021 - 7:19 PM

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Update 

September 24th

(120 days)

 

I'm not giving this journal up, but nothing important is gonna happen in next 6 months - there's still a queen and 3 workers alive, a pile of larvae and soon I'll put them on hibernation.


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#20 Offline Max_Connor - Posted November 2 2021 - 8:29 PM

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November 3rd

(160 days)

 

Camponotus will hibernate in the same old test tube, put in a box placed on windowsill. I've been decreasing temperature and feeding them sugar once a week for about a month now.

It went from 24 - 25 C to 14 - 16 C, and it should be 2 - 10 C for a proper hibernation.

I read that for my region hibernation should take as long as possible, and that's about 5-6 months.

 

All the ants and brood are ok.


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