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When to feed camponotus herculeanus colony and how


20 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Deanmontague - Posted July 24 2022 - 11:04 AM

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Hello :)

I’m new here - seems to be more active than the antscanada forums here.

I’ve got a herculeanus queen who’s just about to eclose her second worker after the first one came about a week ago.

The first worker seemed really docile and disorientated - I have a flavus colony with 5 workers who are super active and moving around - so I was confused by this. I thought it was going to die, so I gave them some honey on foil - I’ve done this before and the queen hates it and ate all her eggs and chews through the foil. So I was reluctant. Did it anyway. She did it again - lunging at it, leaking brown stuff from her booty which I assumed was formic acid? The worker didn’t even move the whole time so I took it out.

What’s the best way to feed these and when should I…

https://photos.app.g...QSvh8zRT2fX4Ff9
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#2 Online ANTdrew - Posted July 24 2022 - 11:14 AM

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For really jumpy ants, the best thing is to open the tube and place it in an escape proof foraging container. Put sugars and proteins in the container and trust the ants to get what they need.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#3 Online Serafine - Posted July 24 2022 - 11:20 AM

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Get a small container (acrylics pencil case, IKEA Godmorgon pastics box, etc.), some substrate (sand-clay mix or grout works well), put the tube into the outworld and serve the food on a small dish/foil in front of the tube.

 

Camponotus have ginormous gasters so they probably won't be out often - they usually fill up as much as they can (mostly during night) and then sit in their tube for a week or more. Small food items like wild flies (-> electric fly swatter) or fruit flies are best, so you can see when they take something. There is no fixed feeding schedule you just have to observe what your ants take.

 

This is one of my founding boxes (3€ plastics box, fine steel mesh, a tube of aquarium silicone (to glue the mesh to the lid) and some reptile digging substrate mix):

 

 

Nurbs made these from pencil cases:


Edited by Serafine, July 24 2022 - 11:24 AM.

We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal


#4 Offline Deanmontague - Posted July 24 2022 - 12:25 PM

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Thank you both for your quick replies !

I was planning on buying a fancy formicarium for them once they’re big enough (how big do you think they need to be to be moved out of a tube?) so wasn’t planning on going big on the DIY stuff with grout etc - but I can see it’s quite cheap and probably easy to do and I like your version!

I’ve so far got ready a plastic box with lid, drilled 4 holes in the lid and stuffed them with cotton wool, and will probably place them into there with the test tube cellotaped taped down so they can’t roll as my stop-gap version until they’re big enough for a nice formicarium I think.. any thoughts against this or will it do for now?

I’ve got crickets I bought and froze not long ago so I’ll defrost them and give them half or a full one of them I think - I was advised to put the cricket on a tooth pick so they can’t take it back to the nest incase of mould though?

Edited by Deanmontague, July 24 2022 - 12:26 PM.


#5 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted July 24 2022 - 1:34 PM

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I was planning on buying a fancy formicarium for them once they’re big enough (how big do you think they need to be to be moved out of a tube?) so wasn’t planning on going big on the DIY stuff with grout etc - but I can see it’s quite cheap and probably easy to do and I like your version!

I’ve so far got ready a plastic box with lid, drilled 4 holes in the lid and stuffed them with cotton wool, and will probably place them into there with the test tube cellotaped taped down so they can’t roll as my stop-gap version until they’re big enough for a nice formicarium I think.. any thoughts against this or will it do for now?

I’ve got crickets I bought and froze not long ago so I’ll defrost them and give them half or a full one of them I think - I was advised to put the cricket on a tooth pick so they can’t take it back to the nest incase of mould though?

 

I personally feed my colonies in their tube until it gets hard to open the tube to feed them without escapees, then I give the tube an outworld. But you can also give them an outworld right off the bat, both methods work fine. I would move them out of the tube whenever it looks like its getting too crowded (though you could also just offer them another tube).

 

Your current setup sounds good. I would make sure that the tape doesn't have any of the sticky side exposed that ants could potentially get stuck on.

 

I don't pin any of my feeder insects down and I've never had an issue with excessive mold. Some ants are just dirtier or cleaner than others. If you have a colony that's determined to be messy a toothpick wouldn't stop them, they can just break off pieces and still carry them to the nest anyway. Especially for a young colony, being able to carry food back to the nest makes it easier for them and is what they often do instinctively, so I personally don't see a reason to add a roadblock to that process.


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#6 Offline Deanmontague - Posted July 24 2022 - 4:07 PM

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Thank you!! I’ll do that then - and how soon do you feed them? 2nd worker is about to eclose, should I wait till there’s more ?

#7 Offline ColAnt735 - Posted July 24 2022 - 4:10 PM

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I’d feed them once you put them in the container as getting the queen fed is of the upmost importance at the moment. It will also go to feed the brood.

Edited by ColAnt735, July 24 2022 - 4:11 PM.

Keeping ants since 2020 

I keep:

Myrmicinae: Solenopsis molesta( 2 queens). Tetramorium immigrans ( 3 colonies with the biggest nearing 800 workers!),

Crematogaster cerasi  :yahoo:  ( 1 colony with a worker). Temnothorax  curvispinosus ( 1 queen with colony of 2 workers).

Formicinae: Prenolepis imparis ( 2 single queen colonies). Lasius brevicornis  :yahoo:( 19 founding queens) haven't seen many journals of them. Lasius Neoniger (a founding queen).Formica incerta( 1 colony with 22 workers)

 

Previously kept: Pogonomyrmex occidentalis   ( 1 colony with 9 workers). 

 

As you can tell I like ants


#8 Online Serafine - Posted July 24 2022 - 4:56 PM

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The size of the outworld doesn't really matter, if it's a big one they just won't make much use of it for a while.

I gave my Camponotus a 60x30cm outworld when they had 4 workers and it was fine. A 5x10cm box would have been totally sufficient at that point though.

 

 

I'd leave them in the tube until they move on their own or it gets super cramped. Mine were in a 3x20cm glass tube and left at around 80 workers when the tube accidentally flooded due to low water (they were already about to move though as they had gradually moved closer to the entrance and they had eaten a ton in the week before, probably stocked up on supplies before the move).


We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal


#9 Offline Deanmontague - Posted July 25 2022 - 12:53 AM

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Okay thanks !
Another thing I could possibly use/do is - I have one of those test tube swap over compartments - one where you can attach a tiny outworld/transfer box to get them to move tubes. Attached a pic for reference.

Could I use this instead? And just plug one of the holes with cotton - the top plastic slides off - albeit it’s a bit stiff and I can’t see through it so If there are any workers in there when I go to feed them it could be problematic. Which method is better?

https://photos.app.g...Lrh6KNsSmKbgeR8

#10 Offline FloridaAnts - Posted July 25 2022 - 6:50 AM

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Okay thanks !
Another thing I could possibly use/do is - I have one of those test tube swap over compartments - one where you can attach a tiny outworld/transfer box to get them to move tubes. Attached a pic for reference.
Could I use this instead? And just plug one of the holes with cotton - the top plastic slides off - albeit it’s a bit stiff and I can’t see through it so If there are any workers in there when I go to feed them it could be problematic. Which method is better?
https://photos.app.g...Lrh6KNsSmKbgeR8


So like an AC test tube portal? The only error with this is there isn’t a whole lot of separation between the trash pile(If they actually make one) and the nest. I recommend a box, like Serafine and ANTDrew said, as that way you can have a little feeding dish, a feeders or offer more food items.
Check out my Camponotus socius journal!
https://www.formicul...socius-journal/
Check out my Florida Carpenter Ant journal!(Camponotus floridanus, and Camponotus tortoganus)
https://www.formicul...naltwo-species/
Check out my Odontomachus ruginodis(Trap-Jaw ants) journal!
https://www.formicul...urnal/?p=215735
Check out my Trachymyrmex septrionalis(Fungus farmers) journal!
https://www.formicul...onalis-journal/

#11 Offline Deanmontague - Posted August 4 2022 - 7:07 AM

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Okay so I followed your advice here guys and this is where I’m at with my camponotus colony:

https://photos.app.g...F7NxJwAHCjVuVe6

The problem is they haven’t touched the cricket on the feeder which has been there for 3-4 days now. I find the cricket dries up pretty quickly, especially with the heat mat that a quarter of the tub is on.

Are they not hungry? How am I supposed to know when to feed them.. I have no idea what protein they’re currently surviving on. I’ve seen one worker go up the byformica feeder so they at least know about the sugar water.

Oh also they ate two of the pupae when I moved them across - I may have damaged them in the transfer to a new tube but I was very gentle. I don’t know why they’d eat the pupae and not the rest of the brood they have here.

https://photos.app.g...cuEvNXmUc86bYx5

#12 Online ANTdrew - Posted August 4 2022 - 10:56 AM

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A tiny colony like that will need very little protein at first. One worker probably filled up on cricket juice while you weren’t watching and is feeding the colony from her social stomach. Stay patient and replace the cricket every few days. Camponotus are good at tanking up on food and doing nothing for long periods of time; it’s basically their modus operandi.
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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.

#13 Offline Deanmontague - Posted August 4 2022 - 1:26 PM

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Okay thanks! Is there any indicator as to when I should feed them protein again like any signs or should I just replace the protein consistently ?
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#14 Offline FloridaAnts - Posted August 4 2022 - 1:31 PM

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Okay thanks! Is there any indicator as to when I should feed them protein again like any signs or should I just replace the protein consistently ?


Just replace the protein every few days. As they get larger they may begin to drag it into the nest or “attack” dead prey. My Camponotus did this and it was kind of funny :lol:
Check out my Camponotus socius journal!
https://www.formicul...socius-journal/
Check out my Florida Carpenter Ant journal!(Camponotus floridanus, and Camponotus tortoganus)
https://www.formicul...naltwo-species/
Check out my Odontomachus ruginodis(Trap-Jaw ants) journal!
https://www.formicul...urnal/?p=215735
Check out my Trachymyrmex septrionalis(Fungus farmers) journal!
https://www.formicul...onalis-journal/

#15 Online ANTdrew - Posted August 4 2022 - 1:54 PM

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Another indicator is the fullness of the workers’ gasters. Well-fed Camponotus get quite distended gasters revealing the lighter colored connective tissue. If all the workers have small, thin looking gasters, you probably need to feed more. Just keep renewing small bits of protein every few days and keep nectar always available. The ants will figure out what they need.

Edited by ANTdrew, August 4 2022 - 1:54 PM.

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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.

#16 Offline Deanmontague - Posted August 4 2022 - 3:01 PM

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Thanks guys !!

#17 Offline Deanmontague - Posted August 5 2022 - 6:00 AM

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Side note; my flavus colony are burrowing into their water chamber cotton - worried they’ll flood it - is this normal ?

#18 Offline FinWins - Posted August 5 2022 - 10:03 AM

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Side note; my flavus colony are burrowing into their water chamber cotton - worried they’ll flood it - is this normal ?

I’ve heard of Lasius doing this and if the workers get all the way though they will drown and possibly flood the test tube. I would recommend you move them into a small nest if they have 30+ workers and if they have less then 25 worker you should just move them into a new test tube or, a tubs and tubes setup ideally.
I keep:
Camponotus modoc (colony)
Camponotus sansabeanus (queen)
Pogonomyrmex rugosus (colony)
Pogonomyrmex californicus 2x(2 queen poly)
Pogonomyrmex magnacanthus 2x(queen)
My Pogonomyrmex rugosus journal: https://www.formicul...us/#entry215040
I’m looking for: (Stigmatomma sp.), (Pseudomyrmex sp.), (Odontomachus sp.), (Myrmecocystus mexicanus or mendex), (Formica sp.), (Polyergus sp.)

#19 Offline Deanmontague - Posted August 6 2022 - 2:45 PM

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Hey Serafine! I followed your advice about the straw cut in quarters and put at the entrance of the tube with cotton - (may have been another post where I saw your advice on that) I did it and it works great! It’s only a paper straw - but Should this be big enough for the queen to fit through? I think it might be a tight fit for her gaster. She might JUST squeeze through

#20 Online Serafine - Posted August 6 2022 - 2:57 PM

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Generally the queen should be able to pass - depending on your species the majors can get even bigger than the queen (especially the storage majors) i don't think that's the case for herculeanus though.

You can still look for a bigger straw later (there are those really big long party straws used for Sangria buckets but regular coffee straws should be sufficient for most Camponotus), for now it should be fine.

If they need to move soon you can also just remove the entire cotton plug.


We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal





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