The first ant queen I ever got is still with me, and she still has no colony. That said, I check on her every week, she is always lively moving about a bit. She will drink a drop of honey now and then and has eaten some fruit flies (not to mention some brood... but we will get to that)
I thought for a long time she was lasius niger, but she might be neoniger. I'm in the US and she was a gift from a parent of a student who is into ants. He's a good keeper but not all that interested in scientific names. So I don't know if when he said "she's lasius niger" if he meant that. English also isn't his first language so confusion abounds.
But I was very happy to have her and thrilled that she was laying eggs. I probably put her in a founding formicarium too soon. One of her first two nanitics escaped, the other just ... died. But she laid more eggs and in a few months had two more. She didn't want to leave the founding formicarium for a test tube. There were mold problems and she was stubborn. The second nanitics didn't last either.
At last I got her back in a test tube. I fed her and she cheerfully ate. She will take a fruit fly right from the tweezers sometimes. But I was not surprised when she didn't lay anymore eggs. She's probably just exhausted.
So I gave her about 3 of the brood from my very productive and happy lasius neoniger colony... twice. I was able to get her to unwrap one of them. I saw them interacting and it was walking around... then the next day it was gone. She's always excited to take the brood, she seems to care for it. Then it just... disappears.
I'm reluctant to disturb my productive neoniger colony again for her. I've just been keeping her in a quiet spot and offering food once a week. My theory is maybe she'll have a shot next year? After diapause?
But do ya'll think I should give her brood again? I have this feeling she's been killing them... or maybe. IDK. Why does she struggle so? Mostly my fault for not just leaving her in the test tube in the first place I guess. Also the founding formicarium was terrible, not really escape proof in sand, even one grain got under the lid.
But the past is the past.
I joke "maybe she doesn't want to raise a colony, maybe she wants a career instead"
She doesn't seem sick or low energy at all. When I check on her she runs to the test tube opening and is interested in whatever I give her.
I'm happy to have a queen who's just like a pet spider I guess.
Edited by futurebird, July 17 2021 - 3:33 PM.