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Busted the end off a prenolepis first-year tube wooops!

antkeeping test tube founding claustral

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#1 Offline m99 - Posted July 25 2021 - 11:47 AM

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I didn't grab any pictures in the heat of the moment, but it's a simple scenario.

 

I've got a first-year winter ant colony that was given to me in a glass tube (mistake number one, all my other starter gear has been plastic and I see now that's how it shall always remain haha) with about 5-8 workers (at least one very newly eclosed) and about a dozen brood in varying stages. They are (to my best guess) just about ready to finish up their summer estivation (is that accurate? I'm in NY for climate reference) but I would've assumed probably on course to spend their lives in that same tube until at least next year, until they discovered their landlord is a hamfist.

 

Now that plan seems out of the question. Fortunately it was only the top inch or so of the tube that broke completely off, and I've got them re-sealed with cotton and their actual living space hasn't been impacted by the cracks. I'm confident they'll be fine as-is until they need to be handled again, but then all bets are off. 

 

I'd had them connected to a test tube portal from AC already in anticipation of easy feeding later in the year when their brood kicks off (though still blocked with cotton inside the adapter piece to prevent drafting), and assumed I'd have an easy-peasy time of using that to transfer them into a formicarium of my choice next year. Now I'm not sure how to proceed. Should I be aborting that plan and resetting for some kind of tube-n-tub setup? Would that even be appropriate for winter ants, or would they hate it? I'd hoped to be transferring them into a tarheel mini hearth (probably bifurcated) next year but that's obviously multiple steps past my problem now, and it seems obvious I'm gonna have to do something before then.

 

could keep them as-is and just gingerly hope I don't kill myself on the jagged shards still stuck to the end of the tube or crack it even further and suddenly find myself with a handful of colony, but that seems like a losing bet for obvious reasons. Since they're for sure gonna need more food than "nothing" for the rest of the year (lol) what would some game plan suggestions be? My understanding is prenolepis haaaate relocating to begin with, so I'm worried I mighta doomed my babies before they even got a shot at their first winter.


Edited by m99, July 25 2021 - 11:54 AM.

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#2 Online TennesseeAnts - Posted July 25 2021 - 11:55 AM

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I would keep them in test tubes until they are big enough to move into the Mini Hearth. My largest colony has about 30 workers now and are still living comfortably in a test tube, but I plan on moving them to a Mini Hearth with stalactites here after their estivation period. 


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#3 Offline m99 - Posted July 25 2021 - 11:59 AM

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I would keep them in test tubes until they are big enough to move into the Mini Hearth. My largest colony has about 30 workers now and are still living comfortably in a test tube, but I plan on moving them to a Mini Hearth with stalactites here after their estivation period. 

 

Yeah I know they're still a long way off from not-tubes, but how do I manage a transfer on a colony still in its founding summer, and when? I'd only had time to even offer them a bit of sugar and protein once (which is how the tube broke, re-attaching it to the AC portal adaptor with cotton padding) so I'm still not 100% sure how often they even want to be fed right now. The original owner mentioned they'd been fed a couple times, but didn't give a schedule. But literally every time I pick that tube up and have to pull the plug out to feed them now, I'm risking total failure, so I feel like they can't stay there for long no matter what.

 

But how do I safely get them into another tube, given how young they are and how reluctant (as I understand it) the species is to move even in ideal conditions to begin with?

 

*edit* To be clearer, because I realized I wasn't—the glass is obviously so cheap that I think the risk of further cracking/crumbling is really high. If I just try and leave the colony in that tube for the year and feed it veeeery carefully I still think there's a high probability I end up with the whole thing cracking open in my fingers eventually. So I think I have to get them moved into another tube before long, I just don't know how to do it without hurting them, or how long to wait since they've still got fewer than 10 nanitics. 

 

If prenolepis were an easily-moved species I'd just try and keep them safe until they have at least a dozen workers then tape them to a new tube, but I feel like that wouldn't work, given their reputation. Thoughts?


Edited by m99, July 25 2021 - 2:02 PM.


#4 Online TennesseeAnts - Posted July 25 2021 - 2:56 PM

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I just hold the end of the tube to another and dump them in. It might harm repletes if there's any in your colony, so move them gently by hand.



#5 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 25 2021 - 4:56 PM

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Why wouldn’t they like tub and tube setup?

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#6 Offline m99 - Posted July 25 2021 - 5:02 PM

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Mostly because they're literally still on their first batch of nanitics and wouldn't otherwise be interested in leaving their claustral chamber for quite a while presumably, if the tube wasn't broken.



#7 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 25 2021 - 6:09 PM

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Put the tube in a small box and place food right at the opening. The ants will find what they need, nanitics or not.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#8 Offline m99 - Posted August 2 2021 - 1:55 PM

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Got what I needed for their tub setup today. They've eclosed enough new workers that I don't feel so frantic about the thought of their tube potentially being more open to the elements now, and I'm pretty hopeful about their ability to make it to second year laying. Here's hoping for a fun winter in their little blue outworld.

 

 

https://imgur.com/a/jYyisbL

F0cw9An







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