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Stressed out/fatigued Camponotus queen; cotton ball entanglement

camponotus pennsylvanicus camponotus cotton cotton ball tangled stressed

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#1 Offline drawpositive - Posted June 20 2021 - 10:07 AM

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I have a recently caught Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen that I put in a standard test tube setup with distilled water, cotton ball plug, etc. and then covered with aluminum foil.  I left a little bit of the test tube not entirely covered with foil as I heard that C. pennsylvanicus is ok with a little ambient light when founding a colony.

I placed the whole setup near a 15 watt heating cable, allowing for her to choose her temperature gradient.

 

Unfortunately, I checked on her today and she was moving very slowly and had a lot of cotton fibers clinging to her legs and abdomen.  I've read that it is normal for this species to mess around with the cotton and pick at it, but it now looks like she is truly exhausted and perhaps frustrated/stressed? 

 

This morning I carefully removed the bulk of the cotton fibers from her using forceps.  I replaced the cotton stopper holding the water back with a cutting of a bunched up cotton t-shirt.  I figured the woven cotton fibers of the t-shirt will not come apart from her chewing and picking at it (at least not as easily as the simple cotton ball).  So far, it seems to be doing the work of the cotton stopper just fine.

 

Right now she has about 3 body lengths of space in the test tube to use as her founding chamber.  

Do you think she needs more heat?

Should I try to feed her some honey water in order to help her regain her strength after all of that struggling with the cotton?

I don't want to lose her.  What can I do to calm her down/ make her happy?  How much room should she have in the test tube?  



#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 20 2021 - 10:18 AM

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Keep her totally in the dark. If she still has wings, never laid eggs, and refuses to settle down, I would assume she is unmated. Aim to keep her in the mid 80s for temp, but DO NOT heat her tube directly with a heat cable. It is much better to heat up a whole box the she is in by putting the cable on the opposite side to create a mini greenhouse.
  • drawpositive likes this
"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 drawpositive - Posted June 21 2021 - 6:35 AM

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I did make sure she was totally in the dark.  She did not have any wings when I found her.

 

Unfortunately, she passed this morning.  I did catch her outside on the sidewalk on the site where I work.  They do spend a lot of money annually on landscaping, etc. and I wouldn't be surprised if they regularly spray for insects/pests.  I'm not making excuses for why she died, but it could play a minor role in why she did not make it.  I have several Tetramorium immigrans queens, a Pheidole sp. queen, and a Lasius neoniger queen that are all doing exceptionally well so far. 

 

I will be more vigilant with my next Camponotus sp. queen, should I acquire one this season. 

Last night I finished construction on an incubator (will post photos later) but still figuring out the temperature controls within the main incubator chamber before I transfer my ants over to it.



#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 21 2021 - 8:38 AM

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Sorry, man. That’s an unavoidable part of the hobby. Camponotus have a real knack for kicking the bucket, too. Keep at it with your other queens.
  • drawpositive likes this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: camponotus pennsylvanicus, camponotus, cotton, cotton ball, tangled, stressed

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