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m99's: T. immigrans — P. imparis — A. picea — L. americanus

tetramorium journal immigrans prenolepis imparis picea aphaenogaster lasius americanus

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#41 Offline m99 - Posted September 24 2021 - 9:24 AM

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Hooray the epic guilt of occasionally shining bright flashlights and lightly tapping their tube can finally end, they moved! And shockingly it wasn't even the easy move into the specially prepared second tube right next door—they caravaned across the entire setup and moved into the Por Amor  UndergroundCiti formicarium woooot.

 

Pics incoming


Edited by m99, October 2 2021 - 8:37 AM.


#42 Offline m99 - Posted September 24 2021 - 9:40 AM

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They stuck it out in the torture chamber for most of a week. In fact they were very acclimated to even the direct overhead light by that point (though not close-up flashlight).

 

This was a couple days ago, about ten minutes after I'd triggered the last mini "GRAB A BEBE AND FLEEEE" cycle with some tapping. I expected them to be moving any time now, I'd rotated the tube multiple times, they haaad to be feeling disrupted enough right??? But seeing that these two girls had taken the "RUNAWAY" opportunity to dash out to the buffet and bring home a fruit fly, which they then acrobat tag teamed, made me realize it was time to get drastic.

 

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And by drastic I mean I did the one thing I realize now I should've done from the very beginning (and probably the only thing that actually really mattered), which was taking the AC tube reducer off the end of their tube and connecting them directly to the portal. doh.

 

Sure enough, 24 hours later I came back from a visit to a friend's to an empty tube!  :yahoo:

 

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After a tiny heart attack when I didn't see them in the second tube either, I looked over and spotted three girls waving fruit flies from the buffet pile over their heads and hauling them into the nest  :lol: so I knew all was well.

 

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(the white stuff over the hydration section is sand, not eggs lol)
 
With so much time to look at them over the last few days, I'm pretty confident they've got 24 or 25 girls (as of last night) running around. And I, uh ... I can quite easily count at least 50 late instar larvae and pupae in those two pics above  :o
 
So looks like mama really is gonna call my bluff. Go lady go  :D  B)
 
I'm sad that I won't see much of her anymore, especially since they've very traumatized by light and vibration right now, so I'll finally let her have some privacy for a while. She's a good girl and a helluva layer, I hope I have her for a long time!
 
Last couple shots of them out in the open:
 
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Spoiler
 
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#43 Offline m99 - Posted September 30 2021 - 2:43 PM

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Holy dimorphism batman!

 

Not really of course lol, but still, a few weeks ago I had suspected I was seeing my first wave of non-nanitic eclosures coming already, and I was correct!

 

Obviously the m99 buffet has the good stuff wutwut  B)

 

Blurry because I had to scramble for the exact moment when one of the oldest girls was in view next to one of the youngest, but still a marked contrast that's even more obvious in person:

 

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Meanwhile I've felt like the first picea eclosures are imminent for more than a week now, but every time I take a peek her pile has just gotten slightly bigger lol. But the two month mark isn't far off, so I guess she's just gonna go ahead and take the maximum amount of window I've ever seen referenced for A. picea first generations. Fingers crossed.

Edited by m99, September 30 2021 - 2:45 PM.

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#44 Offline m99 - Posted October 28 2021 - 12:42 PM

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Overdue picea update: bebes!

 

The first eclosures were a few days after I last posted:

 

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Fell in love with these girls immediately, they're so big and interesting looking, and so curious and active right from the start. They've been getting fruit flies and sugar water from the start, and the queen is always at the front of the line lol
 
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In total they're up to 7 ladies now, and I just hooked them up to an AC portal with a custom sized Por Amor grout insert in the tube across the way. That tube has a reducer and their claustral tube doesn't, so hopefully they'll be encouraged to move in by the time I get around to picking up my hibernation setup. Their claustral cotton is starting to get a little grey and the water's more than half gone so that's my hope.


Edited by m99, October 28 2021 - 12:55 PM.

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#45 Offline m99 - Posted October 28 2021 - 1:13 PM

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Meanwhile the pavement ladies are booming. I haven't tried counting them for a while, but I assume they're around 75 or so, and will definitely be at 100 once that pillar of brood finishes up  :lol:

 

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They've been a lot more communally active the last ten days as their numbers get big enough to always have a few girls wandering around outside. Their big project has been determining the trash situation, especially with the loads of fruit flies I keep giving them. Unfortunately the younger girls had chosen to put it against the near wall of their outworld, which I can't see in my linen closet setup. A few of the oldest occasionally tried to restart their old dumping site in the AC portal, but they never won the vote ... until—
 
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My first ever confirmed nanitic old age death. :*(

 

I'd watched her frantically trying to get out of the portal lid, and eventually it seemed obvious what was going on. Ten minutes later she was gone. I don't know for a fact that she was my very oldest and fondest, but I'm going to assume she was, and RIP to the OG. You did good little lady, you kickstarted a whole herd of sisters.

 

And as her final gift to me, her choice of graveyard convinced the girls to move the trash out into the portal again, where I can very easily see it to clean it. :*

 

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Edited by m99, October 28 2021 - 1:14 PM.


#46 Offline ExponentMars - Posted November 9 2021 - 11:49 AM

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Uh, speaking of which, I may have killed one of the carpenter queens, Ms. Peggles most sadly. Somehow their apartments got tipped at some point and the water had slowly trickled out, she's totally unmoving in the toppled-over position even after being blown on a bit (no antenna movement either), so I'm guessing I'll be checking again tomorrow and have to give her the goldfish farewell, so sad. That leaves the winged queen, who was frantically trying to get out of the plug with no sign of laying, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything if they were drying out right away and spent several days baking in the heat. She's fully watered and flat now, and I made sure a healthy drop soaked into the grout on her side too, so we'll see.

 

On the plus side, tetra queen number three finally had the cutest little pile of (quite orange, to my eyes) eggs, maybe 7 or 8 in total. I certainly don't have high hopes for her, but since she's apparently decided to have a real go at it, I moved her up into the rack with the other two so she'll be in the full heat zone from now on.

"Goldfish farewell" - That should be the farewell all dead queens and colonies get lol. 


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#47 Offline m99 - Posted December 5 2021 - 12:06 PM

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Haven't had time to put together update posts with the pics I have, but none of the colonies have progressed enough to look drastically different than the last time they've been seen here yet, so it's mostly more of the same. I'll probably do more of an autumn summary around christmas.

 

But for now, finally was able to order the wine cooler I want which is on the way, so hibernation will be imminent!

 

Just some quick updates.

 

Tetra crew: These girls really hate to move. Really really really hate to move. Even when their old nest hasn't been watered for a month and they have to haul all the pupae out into the mini-outworld once a day for climate control reasons lol. But fortunately, after nearly six weeks of being hooked up to their new mini hearth, I accidentally dropped their outworld lid on top of their nest chamber while feeding and that finally triggered the panic wave that led in the right direction, and they finally transferred over.

 

Spoiler

 

Twelve hours later they'd transferred BACK :facepalm: , but were much easier to scare out this time, and I've blocked the inner doorway leading to their old nest chamber with cotton to keep them out. Once they've started slowing down in the cooler during the transition period, I'll detach their old nest and get the hearth sealed up on its own.

 

Preno ladies: Really unhappy to still be living in room temperature. Seem to be eating plenty of sunburst but I never see them in their outworld and they ignore protein. Hopefully they'll start perking up during the temp drop-down month in the cooler and I'll get to see them out and about.

 

Aphaeongaster crew: I love these ants. They're so big and fun to watch. Still sitting at 5 or 6 strong (I can't remember) and after their claustral test tube finally dried out enough they've transferred to a fresh tube with a por amor grout insert where they'll spend hibernation. Since I love them so much and want to give them a good start, I'm planning to keep them properly hibernated for a solid four months. (The other colonies I'll probably start warming up again after 2 or 3).

 

And announcing  :yahoo:

 

Lasius americanus crew: I was fortunate enough to be able to grab one of the surprise late season Lasius colonies at Buckeye, and after an upsettingly long trip here because this country likes to just let a saboteur sit there running the postal system, they thankfully arrived completely healthy.

 

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They came with four and a pupae or two, but the queen jumped on the protein I fed them and quickly boosted a total of 5 into pupae. We've since lost one mega-fatty due to a tragic dried-sunburst-glue-trap situation (I think she might have cannonballed straight into it by all appearances lmao) but they've still got eight. I love how calm and beautiful the queen is, and how cute and hyperactive the workers are when they do their shudder sprints.

 

I'd love to be able to turn this crew into a desk colony in my new house next year, so we'll see.


Edited by m99, December 5 2021 - 12:22 PM.

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#48 Offline m99 - Posted January 2 2022 - 10:21 AM

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I keep wanting to get pictures and forgetting, but so far hibernation has been reasonably dramatic, mostly because I don't like leaving the wine cooler on when I'm out of the house and am currently in a house search so I have to be gone for a lot of days.

 

All of which is to say everybody in hibernation is getting a lot of temperature swings and I'm checking up on them frequently to make sure nothing's gone terribly wrong. So far nothing has, other than a HUGE overwatering for both the tetras and the prenos which had both their mini hearth glass fronts absolutely dripping this last week. Fortunately that grout is very good at dispersing the humidity, especially once I swapped one of the THA plastic plugs for a cotton plug on the preno's formicarium after noticing some funky smell coming from them (which has gone away thankfully).

 

BUT the real development is that the very first time I had transitioned the cooler down into the low 50s, my preno ladies suddenly SPRANG to life! After nine solid months of NEVER taking protein unless it was literally shoved in their faces in the old claustral test tube, they're now GORGING on fruit flies! They've probably taken in about 15 in the last ten days, which is huge!

 

And though they're (very annoyingly) using the top chamber of their bifurcated mini hearth as trash so I can't clean it, I can see in the pile that they are genuinely eating the flies and leaving mostly exoskeleton—not much waste.

 

So if you've got snow ants and have struggled how to get them eating into the second year, temps in the 50s seem to be the sweet spot! Which, unfortunately, I know is usually warmer than the average regular fridge. But if you've got a wine cooler or a garage/cellar that can fit that range, my advice is to try moving them there for sure and see if they perk up!

 

I still NEVER see them in the outworld, but they clearly ninja out to grab the snacks.


Edited by m99, January 2 2022 - 10:22 AM.

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#49 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 2 2022 - 2:29 PM

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Why not leave the wine cooler on?
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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.

#50 Offline m99 - Posted January 2 2022 - 4:34 PM

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Mostly because I don't trust the wiring in this place and I DEFINITELY don't trust my cat's attraction to both LED lights and glass surfaces (the door), and for the moment it has to be kept on the floor in easy access to her. So, better for everyone if I just tape the door shut and leave it completely dark when I'm gonna be out for more than a few hours.

 

Next house I'll have a nice broad kitchen counter with wiring that's not older than my parents in it to solve both problems lol


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#51 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 3 2022 - 4:16 AM

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I see. Maybe freeze some water bottles and pop them in when you leave?
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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.

#52 Offline m99 - Posted March 13 2022 - 10:37 AM

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Hibernation is approaching its close here, even for the wild ants outdoors. So, even though my house swap is STILL IN PROGRESS  :mad:  :mad:  :mad: I've got no choice but to start shifting gears and let them begin the spring here in the old home.

 

My girls have been in the full 45-50deg. deep cool range 24/7 for about 6 weeks now, and just about three months of total hibernation under 64degrees.

 

I hooked the Lasius and picea girls up to fresh test tube portals today to prep for spring feeding, and finally got around to disconnecting the pavement gang's old formicarium from the autumn. Though I'm glad I ended up keeping it attached all winter, because they'd moved their entire dumping grounds in there by the end making it very easy to clean up the season's waste. They are definitely filling up the mini hearth even after mild winter losses, so I'm gonna have to hook them up to the Mini XL in a week or two here before I bring them out of the cooler completely.

 

Snow ant ladies seem to be doing okay. They're taking tons of protein but I suspect letting a fair chunk of it sit around molding in their nest, so I'm gonna wait until they're the only ones left in the cooler (or at least the only left on their shelf in there) to arrange them where I can keep a more direct eye on their activity through the glass, before I start feeding more vigorously for their summer estivation. I'm hoping if I keep them in the cooler near the 50-60 range, I can convince them all to gorge up and be at max stores for the second year's laying. Fingers crossed!

 

Once everyone's out of the cooler it'll be easier to start snapping some pics again too.


Edited by m99, March 13 2022 - 10:42 AM.

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#53 Offline m99 - Posted March 23 2022 - 11:13 AM

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Just a quick look at the girls' winter setup. The pavement ladies will be coming out this weekend most likely, then get hooked up to a mini-XL. The rest I might leave in there for another week or two at the highest temp setting (64 deg).

 
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#54 Offline m99 - Posted March 27 2022 - 11:04 AM

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And they liiiiiiive!

 

Welcome back to life little pavement ladies!

 

Not that they needed to be told, because they've secretly been making babies for at least 6 weeks! Probably more, considering they were in chilled air at the time. But still, the very first greeting I had when I put them back on the shelf was this little callow girl stumbling around on the glass all golden and gorgeous.

 

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The preparation and connection of the Mini-XL went off without a hitch thankfully, assuming I don't discover any secret gaps in the coming days.

 

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I'd known all winter that they didn't seem to be suffering many losses, and if anything I think they grew about 10% in there—though it's hard to remember what they looked like in the old setup last year. Still, plenty of activity running around, and definitely a growing brood pile on the floor.
 
With those masses and then the equally large groups hanging out on the ceiling over the water tower, I'm going to guesstimate that they're up to around 2-300ish at the moment.
 
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I'll take the Lasius crew out in a day or two probably. They'll be even easier, just a quick plonk on the shelf since they're now connected to the tube portal.

Edited by m99, March 27 2022 - 11:18 AM.

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#55 Offline m99 - Posted March 27 2022 - 1:17 PM

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omfg I just realized. I guess my girls read the AntBoi3030 journal too when I'm asleep, because they're copycatting the Great Wall O' Larva above the water tower there. I didn't realize all those slightly darker spots are ...  :o

 

Okay I'm very glad I hooked up the XL lol.


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#56 Offline m99 - Posted March 29 2022 - 10:29 AM

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And welcome back to the Lasius ladies.

 

Mama is definitely coming out much smaller than she went in, so I hope they jump on the food and get her juiced up quick. Still, they obviously had a completely fine hibernation because they're coming out of it with at least 3 more girls than I counted going in, and they've got a healthy pile of larva waiting to boost.

 

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#57 Offline m99 - Posted April 2 2022 - 10:24 AM

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Unfortunately the Preno ladies at some point stopped managing their fruit flies so well, as I expected, and now they've got a kingdom of mold in that mini hearth. I wish the newbie antkeeper that I was last year had been better prepared with a small formicarium to transfer them into after their tube broke, because this nest is definitely too big for them. Perhaps if I EEEEEEVER get to actually move into a new home I'll hook them up to a test tube setup again there, and give them the option to move out if they want.

 

But in the meantime I think I'm gonna have to perform some emergency surgery and slide the glass down to clean out at least the top portion of their birfucated hearth with a q-tip. Hopefully they'll transfer some of the corpses sitting in their man chamber up there, if not the outworld.


Edited by m99, April 2 2022 - 10:34 AM.

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#58 Offline m99 - Posted April 2 2022 - 10:27 AM

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Meanwhile the Lasius ladies haven't been doing any real eating, but they all seem content to fuss over the pile of larvae, so hopefully once eclosures start happening they'll perk up.

 

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Edited by m99, April 2 2022 - 10:33 AM.

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#59 Offline m99 - Posted April 2 2022 - 10:28 AM

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Over in Pavement land the ladies have gotten very comfortable using the mini-XL outworld as their hunting grounds. Here they are exploring a new sugar feeder while a few girls take care of a pile of frozen fruit flies.

 

Sorry about the orientations, had the phone held weird while shooting I guess, and rotating the images ends the animation.

 

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Overall feeding response is definitely getting stronger from these girls, and they're regularly wandering around both outworlds now.

 

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Edited by m99, April 2 2022 - 10:35 AM.

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#60 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 2 2022 - 3:20 PM

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You could try to get some springtails or booklice going in the Prenos setup to clean up. Those Lasius look like they have plenty of food up in their cabooses for now.
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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.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: tetramorium, journal, immigrans, prenolepis, imparis, picea, aphaenogaster, lasius, americanus

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