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Becky's Lasius cf niger

lasius niger

23 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Becky - Posted June 29 2022 - 5:12 AM

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Lasius niger
 

Lasius niger is a smaller ant species native to central and northern Europe.

They are fast-growing, active, curious and brave, which makes them perfect pet ants - if you can keep them contained.

 
 

Basic information
Origin: Pretty much the entire nothern hemisphere except the subpolar and polar regions
 
Habitat: Prefers warm and temperate climate, avoids shady woods and moors.
Is well adapted to urban environments and can be found in cities, parks, gardens and acres, sometimes up to more than 100 nests per 100 m².

Colony form: monogynous, highly aggressive towards other ants, very dominant in areas under it's control
Colony size: up to 50.000 workers
Colony age: up to 25 years
Founding: claustral, up to 25% in pleometrosis

Workers: monomorph
 
Nesting sizes: Soil nests of up to 2 meters in depth, under stones, sidewalks, pavement, sometimes also in dead wood.
Can build (relatively flat) soil mounds, will build roofs over their main ant trails. Often founds satelite nests near food sources.
 
Feeding: Trophobiosis, Zoophagy (liquid sugars und arthropods)

Hibernation: October – March at 5-10°C, stops laying eggs after summer due to an endogenic rhythm, exogenic (temperature-dependent) hibernation, meditaranian and subtropical colonies may have reduced hibernation
Diapause: during dry hot peroids the colony will rest within deeper nest chambers

Reproduction: Nuptial flight in June – August, will swarm on humid warm days during afternoon. Stray queens can often be found until it gets dark.
Nuptial flights are synchronized which leads to massive amounts of queens being ejected from the nests. When these ants fly it is literally impossible to miss them, they're everywhere.
 

Appearance/Coloration
Workers: shimmering black to dark brown, silver hairs
Queen: shimmering black to dark brown, silver hairs
Males: shimmering black to dark brown, silver hairs

Size
Workers: 3-5mm
Queen: 8-9mm (occasionally up to 12mm), chubby
Males: 3,5-4,5mm, thin, small head with big eyes, almost looks like a small wasp
 
 
Development time
 
at 24°C
Workers: 4-6 weeks (sometimes up to 10 weeks)
 
 
Antkeeping information
Recommended for beginners: Yes, but keep in mind that colonies grow fast and can quickly become massive in size. They also require a good escape barrier.
Temperature: Outworld: 18 - 30°C, Nesting area: 20 - 26°C
Humidity: Outworld: 30 - 50%, Nesting area: 50 - 60%
Nest types: Soil nest, sand-clay farm, gypsum, Ytong, acrylics and 3D-printed nests (preferrably with a bottom coat of sand-clay or grout).
The ants need moist areas for their brood, these can be provided by a water test tube attached to the nest.
Formicarium size: Should fit the current colony size.
Formicarium accessories: Optional heat source (heat mate, heating cable or heat lamp).
Substrate type: This species can walk well on most surfaces. Glass, vinyl tubing, acrylics, sand, clay and grout pose no issues. They can also climb vertical and upside down on glass.
 

Temper/Behavior
Lasius niger workers are extremely curious, frequently scout their territory and immediately explore every new space they discover - even relatively small colonies show a lot of outside activity. This, in combination with their small size, makes them pretty good escape artists. Regular barrier checks are a must, if there is a weakness these ants will find it.
 
Lasius niger are very tied to their nest and will often refuse to move even when in a dried-out tube exposed to daylight. Do NOT try to move them, they will move when they need to. Force-moving them may seriously stall their development.
 
! Lasius niger is extremely aggressive towards other ant species. If you keep other ants make sure that the Lasius not only cannot escape their setup but also that they cannot enter the setups of your other colonies. Lasius niger will attack and very efficiently kill off other colonies if they get a chance (that includes aggressive species like Pheidole megacephala and Tetramorium ants).
Lasius niger will not accept other any ant species in their territory.
 
 
Additional antkeeping information
Lasius niger is a very adaptable species that can thrive in a broad variety of nests and nesting conditions.
They don't care too much for vibrations but are still sensitive to bright light. Can get used to daylight though.
Colonies grow fast, so plan ahead. Under good conditions they can easily grow to over 1000 workers by the end of the second year.
Colonies can grow to quite massive proportions of over 50.000 workers – if you wish for a good beginner species that is equaly adaptable but less aggressive and doesn't grow that big take a look at Formica fusca.
Lasius niger are quite resourceful with protein food but will drink a lot of sugar water.
The workers are really fast and very aggressive - do NOT try to feed them inside their tube, workers will inevitably escape and get lost. As soon as they have their first workers put their tube into an outworld and offer food there.
 
Test tubes of 5x150mm are great starter nests. These tubes feature a large enough water tank for several months which means you won't have to move your ants before the colony grew to a good size. The entrance area should be sized down with cotton and a large straw (as passsage) to reduce evaporation.



#2 Offline Becky - Posted June 29 2022 - 5:27 AM

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Hello and welcome to my new journal about the Lasius cf niger queen I found on my balcony today! :greeting:

 

When I found her she still had a male attached to her. She's sitting in a tube and cleaning herself right now.

 

I hope she will do well. :yes:

 

The colony doesn't have a name yet - suggestions are welcome! ;)

 

 

 

 


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#3 Offline Becky - Posted June 29 2022 - 11:55 AM

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I already prepared the setup for my new ants although it will still take some time until the colony moves in.

It looks almost like my former one but I like it anyway. :yes: ;)

 

 


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#4 Offline Becky - Posted July 2 2022 - 5:18 AM

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Hello everyone! :greeting:

 

Yesterday I prepared my ant farm so I don't have to do it when there are enough ants to settle in. ;)

This time I used blue aquarium gravel because it looks so nice.

I still have to clean the upper part of the ant farm later.

 

 

 

 

The outworld slowly starts drying. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few minutes ago I took a look at my queen and she had few little surprises for me.... :yahoo:

 

 

 


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#5 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 2 2022 - 6:21 AM

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Looks good, but be careful they don’t move into one of those sea shells. You’ll never get them out.
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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.

#6 Offline Becky - Posted July 6 2022 - 7:48 AM

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Hello, :greeting:

 

the queen has laid some more eggs and is caring for them. :)

The outworld is now dry, the farm not so much.

 

 

 


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#7 Offline Becky - Posted July 6 2022 - 7:53 AM

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Looks good, but be careful they don’t move into one of those sea shells. You’ll never get them out.

Thanks, but I don't think this will be a problem with Lasius niger.
The sea shells are baked into the ground - there is a chance they may burrow under them but Lasius niger still need humidity so they won't move under a shell entirely. :)


Edited by Becky, July 6 2022 - 7:53 AM.


#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 6 2022 - 7:58 AM

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Ok, but don’t forget Myrmy’s Law: all things being equal, ants will always do the opposite of what you want or expect them to do.
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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.

#9 Offline Becky - Posted July 12 2022 - 4:52 AM

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Hello,

 

I guess some of the eggs hatched and became larvae! :good2:

 

It's interesting the queen still has her wings. :unknown:

 

 


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#10 Offline Becky - Posted July 20 2022 - 10:18 AM

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Hello,

the larvae finally are big enough to be seen clearly! :yess:

I'm wondering how long it will still take for them to become workers.

 

 


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#11 Offline Becky - Posted July 21 2022 - 2:22 PM

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Hello everyone,

 

the larvae grow ever bigger! :good2:

I didn't expect this amount of larvae and eggs so early. :huh:

 

 

 


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#12 Offline Becky - Posted July 23 2022 - 6:19 AM

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Hello,

I guess the queen is in a great hurry, some of the larvae became pupae. (y)

Maybe the hot weather helps with development. :hot:

I should start preparing the escape prevention for the outworld. :D

 

 



#13 Offline futurebird - Posted July 23 2022 - 7:01 AM

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I filled the shells I use as decorations with plaster. They totally will move into the shell. You might also want to consider having a little less sand on the bottom. They will dig it up and make strange tunnels. Ants are masters of working with whatever you give them and using it to HIDE. Some of my carpenters hollowed out a decorative bit of driftwood and have a satellite colony in there. (I don't mind... but if this happened when the colony was small I would have been sad to miss seeing anything at all)

Lasius are decent climbers, but not as good climbers as some camponotus, I've found that an upside down surface with fluon is basically impossible for them. 

But I'm still not risking having an "open top" enclosure. I won't even do that with the Pogonomyrmex who can't climb glass at all.

lastly it's good that you got the glass tank, they hold up so much better over time than plastic. 


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Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#14 Offline Becky - Posted July 24 2022 - 6:07 AM

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Hello,

there are either 8 or 9 cocoons. :iamsohappy:

Some of them already turn yellow. :clapping: 

 

 


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#15 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 24 2022 - 7:40 AM

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You definitely need to get some sponges next time. I'll bet the larvae actually used that cotton mess to help spin their cocoons, so it wasn't all bad.


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#16 Offline Becky - Posted July 26 2022 - 2:11 PM

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Hello,

I count 13-14 pupae now! :yes:

 

I'm still not sure what species she is because her third gaster segment is shimmering instead of the second one - I thought that would be typical for Lasius niger. :unknown:

She also has noticeably yellowish legs.

 

 

 


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#17 Offline Becky - Posted August 4 2022 - 12:33 PM

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Hello,

 

she got more and more eggs while the amount of pupae has increased to probably 18.

I'm still waiting that the first workers arrive. :seeking:

 

 

 


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#18 Offline Becky - Posted August 5 2022 - 10:29 AM

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Hello,

 

today I prepared the barrier for my outworld.

I used powder and alcohol, mixed it up and put it on the glass frame.

I will replace it later with Fluon but for now it should be enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

 

19.50 pm european time I looked into the tube and discovered two teensy-weensy ants. :greeting:

 

 

 

 

The second worker is probably hiding under the queen here. :warning:


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#19 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 5 2022 - 11:12 AM

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Congrats!
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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.

#20 Offline Becky - Posted August 6 2022 - 1:40 PM

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Hello,

 

over the last night they went up to five workers. :)

The new workers darken really fast. :huh:

 

They got their first meal, a drop of sugar water and a tiny cricket. :yum:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put a straw into the tube and put it into the outworld, so they can explore their new home. :iamsohappy:

 

 

 

 

 


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