It's summer and I'm bored so I thought, why not start and antkeeping journal. I think I'll make this one about the Formica queen I caught a few weeks ago since I don't know much about them and might need some help later on.
I caught her running on an asphalt trail, with a lawn to one side and trees to the other side. She was very physogastric and looked healthy. The first picture is of when I first caught her on the 5th of July.
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I put her test tube in a small box on my top shelf in my bedroom. Up there it's consistently over 75 F, usually 80+ at the hottest time of the day. I try to only check my founding queens on Sundays, but usually I'm not responsible enough to maintain this habit. For the Formica queen, though, I managed to stick to the routine. I first checked on her on Sunday the 10th. As you can see, there are some eggs and maybe young larvae.
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I checked on them again on the next Sunday, the 17th, but I don't have any pictures of them on my computer right now. The queen had a bunch of larvae in various stages of development, though none of them looked mature. I checked them again yesterday and she has around 8 pupae and 2 mature larvae. Assuming that all her brood are maturing at a similar rate, then that means the pupae probably spun their cocoons very recently. The difference in the queen's body is dramatic. After feeding her brood she's not physogastric at all anymore.
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At this rate, by Sunday of this week it's not likely for there to be workers, but it's not impossible. Most of them will probably eclose next week. I'm looking forward to that so I can finally key the workers and figure out which pallidefulva-group species they are. Afterwards, I'll give them a diet of sugar water mixed with honey, wild caught termites (cuz I have no feeder insects), and meat, unless any of you know a better diet for Formica. In fact, if there's anything I'm doing wrong or anything I could to better, please tell me.