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Help solve a mystery? Why is the Queen is DEAD!?

queen death tetramorium immigrans

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Ozymataz - Posted June 25 2021 - 10:56 AM

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Hi all, I’m new here and hoping some of y’all can help me figure out what happened. I’ve been ant keeping for just shy of a year. Back in November I acquired a Tetramorium Immigrans queen with a small brood colony of about ~15 workers. Initially I left this colony in the test tube setup in which I received it. However, it was growing fast and so I purchased an inception chamber from Tar Heels Ants and the colony moved in right away. About a month later, all of the workers died! I thought the colony was lost because I had moved them too soon. The queen was alive and looked fine, so I just left her alone. After a couple months, she started laying eggs and the colony is now between 200-300 workers.

But last night I noticed that the queen was outside the nest in the foraging area and being swarmed by workers. She was not moving, but appeared alive. I thought perhaps the nest was too dry, so I added some moisture and fresh food, spruced it up (it also has a red plastic cover over it) and shined light on the foraging area. She didn’t return to the next and workers continued to swarm around her. I thought perhaps the nest had become too small and she was looking for a new nest area, so I bought a new formicarium.

However, this morning when I checked on her, I noticed that the workers had removed most of her legs and detached her head! The queen was dead!

I have no idea what happened or what this means. I’d love to hear if anyone has had any experiences similar to this, as well as what I should do with the colony and the massive brood (probably a hundred eggs and larvae in various stages).

PS - I read that tetramorium queens can lay eggs that become fertilized queens and that colonies can have several queens, though usually some are killed until the dominant queen remains. I’m wondering if there is any chance that something like this happened.

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Edited by Ozymataz, June 25 2021 - 11:32 AM.


#2 Offline yaboiseth - Posted June 25 2021 - 11:36 AM

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I'm not entirely sure why a colony would kill a healthy queen but a queen alate would have to mate in order to be fertilized. They do not hatch fertilized queens. Are they any other queens in the setup?

#3 Offline Ozymataz - Posted June 25 2021 - 11:57 AM

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No other queens that I know of. So perhaps she became sick and died?

#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 25 2021 - 12:20 PM

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What were you feeding them? What temperature and general conditions were they kept in. Anything out of the ordinary happen before this?
I doubt the workers killed the queen. She was probably dying or already dead.
"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 Bugging3out - Posted June 29 2021 - 9:39 AM

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I think it’s because of the temperature. It happens to me if the temp is to high they kill the queen for survival. I don’t know why they do that but they do.


peace!  :afro:


#6 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted June 29 2021 - 2:56 PM

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I think it’s because of the temperature. It happens to me if the temp is to high they kill the queen for survival. I don’t know why they do that but they do.

Temperature has nothing to do with whether the queen lives or dies. Her life is prioritized over the workers.

#7 Offline Ozymataz - Posted July 4 2021 - 3:39 PM

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I think it’s because of the temperature. It happens to me if the temp is to high they kill the queen for survival. I don’t know why they do that but they do.


My best guess at this point is that the heat change made the queen uncomfortable and she left the nest. Then it seems that stress plus the constant attempt of the workers to try and drag her back into the nest all contributed to her demise.

#8 Offline Ozymataz - Posted July 4 2021 - 3:43 PM

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Ok, so the queen has been dead a week. There are something like 300+ workers and at least a hundred eggs.

I need to figure out what I’m going to do with them. Some people have suggested I just euthanize them all. Others have suggested letting them be and eventually die out. I’ve also been encouraged to see if the new Tetramorium queen I caught just off her nuptial flight will adopt the brood.

I’ve started with the last suggestion, and it does seem that the new queen has gathered the other queen’s eggs into her own brood.

Any tips or suggestions? Also, as I said, there are hundreds of eggs from the old queen in various stages. Should I try and have her adopt them all, or just a few? Open to any suggestions. Thanks!

#9 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted July 5 2021 - 8:28 AM

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Ok, so the queen has been dead a week. There are something like 300+ workers and at least a hundred eggs.

I need to figure out what I’m going to do with them. Some people have suggested I just euthanize them all. Others have suggested letting them be and eventually die out. I’ve also been encouraged to see if the new Tetramorium queen I caught just off her nuptial flight will adopt the brood.

I’ve started with the last suggestion, and it does seem that the new queen has gathered the other queen’s eggs into her own brood.

Any tips or suggestions? Also, as I said, there are hundreds of eggs from the old queen in various stages. Should I try and have her adopt them all, or just a few? Open to any suggestions. Thanks!

I would let her take care of as much of the brood as she can and let the workers die off. She might not be able to care for all of the eggs, but you will have another colony of the same size in no time if you do that.

Edited by Kaelwizard, July 5 2021 - 8:28 AM.






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