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BCAntKeeper's Formica aserva Journal


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#1 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted May 31 2022 - 9:12 PM

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The parasitic/slave raiding ant Formica aserva is my favorite local ant species, and I have been observing/learning about them since I was a little kid, which is why I attempted to keep them even though it was my second year of ant keeping. They are most commonly found in the mountains in my area, where there is an abundance of hosts. After climbing over 13,000 vertical feet in a day in August 2021, I decided to celebrate by finally collecting a Formica aserva queen. Once I had some small host pupae, I hiked the rest of the way up and paraglided down to make her a test tube. I gave her around 30 host pupae in a bare tube sitting against her setup to see how she would react to the overabundance. As expected, she neglected them for a while, and the workers were emerging deformed from the low humidity. She also chewed into a few of them, but once some healthy workers appeared the brood was moved into the normal setup. The colony ended up with about 15 host workers, and 8 biological workers when it was released. 
 
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Other than being skittish and hypersensitive to vibration, they were not hard to keep and proved to be similar to my Camponotus novaeboracensis in terms of care requirements. I decided to collect another queen in late September and give her 6 host pupae. She did not lay any eggs before hibernation since it was later in the year. They did very well over the hibernation period, which lasted until March 15, and have been growing fairly quickly. I counted over 35 aserva workers today and the colony is active and healthy looking. Someone is still borrowing the camera I was going to use, and the photos from earlier this year somehow got lost, but I will add some later. 

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Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#2 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted February 8 2023 - 4:01 PM

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How they doing now?



#3 Offline antsriondel - Posted February 8 2023 - 5:36 PM

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Yeah, what happened to them? Are they still alive?


Edited by antsriondel, February 8 2023 - 5:37 PM.


#4 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted February 18 2023 - 11:37 AM

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The colony stopped growing after my initial post. I put them into hibernation late November. A spider killed several of my workers, and a similar amount have died during hibernation. Ant keeping has been pretty flawless for me until I joined Formiculture. Hopefully things will turn around this spring.


Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#5 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted March 19 2023 - 8:50 PM

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Taken out of hibernation yesterday. The colony now has 11 aserva workers (the last host worker died earlier this month).


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Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#6 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted April 16 2023 - 9:37 PM

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9 workers now. The die off is probably natural. The queen started laying eggs for the first time in 10 months and I have some full sized larvae. If all of the brood matures the colony will be back to the size it was last May.


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Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#7 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted April 17 2023 - 1:00 PM

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I will give my formica oreas queen tons of host pupae in the next month or so. Try to find a fusca group colony collect them, that way when they start getting their own pupae you can steal some and give the pupae to your aserva queen.



#8 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted May 31 2023 - 9:55 PM

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The queen stopped laying eggs last month and I only got 5 or 6 workers from the original batch. For the last 30 days I have been replacing their carbohydrates within a few hours. Maybe maple syrup spoils in a day or two or I got a bad batch of sunburst but my ants have been thriving ever since I made this change. A good amount of brood is maturing so there should be a big population boom over the next few weeks.


  • BDantsalberta likes this
Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#9 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted June 1 2023 - 9:15 AM

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If they seem to be struggling, try giving them some host formica brood fusca or so on.



#10 Offline AntObserver - Posted June 21 2023 - 5:50 PM

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The queen stopped laying eggs last month and I only got 5 or 6 workers from the original batch. For the last 30 days I have been replacing their carbohydrates within a few hours. Maybe maple syrup spoils in a day or two or I got a bad batch of sunburst but my ants have been thriving ever since I made this change. A good amount of brood is maturing so there should be a big population boom over the next few weeks.

 

I'm sure you know but also a healthy amount of protien, especially to encourage more egg laying and development of larvae. Sorry its not working out, hope they pull through. 


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#11 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted June 29 2023 - 1:46 PM

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They are doing well like I said in the last update. The colony has 25-30 workers now and has been growing at a steady pace.


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Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#12 Offline BCAntKeeper - Posted December 30 2023 - 10:05 AM

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Stopped growing after the last update but I quit using byFormica feeders at the beginning of this month. I saw a small batch of eggs two days before hibernation which is surprising for this time of year. My Camponotus journal has more details but it looks like I have figured out the problem for good now.


Keeping: Formica aserva, Lasius pallitarsis, Tetramorium immigrans, Camponotus novaeboracensis
 
Have kept: Camponotus modoc

#13 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted January 23 2024 - 1:00 PM

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Interesting. I think that formica, if not properly hibernated right away in the fall, will keep laying eggs even into the winter. I have some right now that just started getting their first bio workers a week ago and show no sign of slowing down



#14 Online BleepingBleepers - Posted February 4 2024 - 10:22 PM

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Very interesting. I also use byformica feeders mainly for water and my thoughts on that is a bit mixed. I think people 'train' their ants by filling it up with sugar water first?

 

I dunno, maybe it's working and I don't notice it as I also don't see them drink water as much either. Kinda feel like a lot of it is gone due to evaporation (which isn't so bad with byformica) but still.

 

Anyhow, hope you drop some more updates with interesting pictures to see. I'm still a new ant keeper, started my journal not so long ago as well, so I love seeing pictures of other people's ants and colonies too. Quite fascinating. Good luck with your colony.


JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE





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