This thread will be used to track the Pheidole sp. queens and colonies I've captured. This is my first experience with ant keeping.
2014: Became interested in ants sometime in 2014. Became discouraged when I learned I would need to capture my own queen. While it sounded fun, I assumed it was extremely difficult for some reason.
6-22-2015: Found a dead Pheidole sp floating around my pool early in the morning. Thought it was a wasp of some kind, but then remembered what I had learned about ant queens. Finding one resparked my interest in ants.
6-24-2015: Caught some bees. Thought they were ants. Considered giving up entirely. http://imgur.com/a/I2cJs
6-25-2015: First Pheidole sp. queen captured at about 5:30 A.M. Found with wings attached and doing backflips, which I now know was caused by her trying to reach her wings. http://imgur.com/a/cWiVK
6-26-2015: Checked on queen about 24 hours after capture. Wings removed, small clump of eggs have been laid.
6-27-2015: Second queen found on pool deck at about 5:15 A.M. Watched her and the male land. She immediately removed wings and the male lay dying. I scooped her up and put the male out of his misery. http://imgur.com/a/gbpty
6-28-2015: Third queen found on pool deck pulling her wings off at 5:30 A.M. Placed her with the others and checked on the the other two around 6:00 A.M. I believe the first queen has laid more eggs and the second queen has started to lay a few of her own. Pulled about 15 other queens (same species) from pool before heading inside. Found large worker which I successfully identified as Odontomachus clarus.
6-29-2015: Pulled about 15 more Pheidole sp. from pool. Took 2 queens for a total of 5 queens now. First 3 queens all have eggs now I believe, with queen #1 having a somewhat large pile.
6-30-2015: Heavy rains last night. Went outside around 5:00 A.M. (this is the sweet spot for this Pheidole sp. in Phoenix). Saw about 20 of the same Pheidole species, but nothing new unfortunately. I've ordered a "GroTube XL" from byformica through Amazon. Should be here Thursday at the latest. I've also ordered a desk temperature/humidity gauge which should be here Thursday as well. I'm starting to question how hot I should be keeping the queens. My initial feeling is that they are use to a hot environment here in Arizona (well over 100F), but I'm afraid I'm cooking them.
7-9-2015: It's been two weeks since I first caught queen #1. She and queen #2 were both caught running around on the ground and both have removed their wings. Queen #1 is doing well and I believe her eggs are no longer eggs and are now larva. I think I can see one with a tiny black eye even! Queen #2 is doing equally as well, and I think she may have more brood, although they aren't quite as developed. The other three I believe all have eggs, but only a few and they don't seem to be growing nearly as fast. Maybe them landing in the pool has some how impaired them?
Unfortunately, I accidentally flooded queen #1s tube.. It was with maybe a few drops of water but all of her larva got soaked. I took some tiny tweezers and pulled slightly on the cotton which wicked up most of the water. I let her be for about an hour and came back to her moving her larva towards the center of the tube. I then tilted the tube upside down and tapped it several time with a pen until they all slid down to the dry cotton cap. I let them sit a bit before sliding them back towards the middle. Hopefully it dried them out quickly and none of them have died. I was concerned that the test tube was too dry. Queen #1 particularly was trying to stuff her eggs/larva inside the cotton rather than next to it like the others. I guess we will find out in a few days. I took a few quick pictures. I'm currently in the process of shopping for a real camera so hopefully these cell phone photos won't be around much longer.
I'm planning on keeping queen #1 at the very least, and possibly queen #2. The rest I will most likely release assuming everything goes fine with queens # 1 and 2.
Edited by Herdo, May 28 2017 - 9:30 AM.