I would greatly appreciate any input on this problem.
Last summer I found a small nest of Aphaenogaster sp. (possibly rudis) and captured two queens who I founded in the same tube. They were quite messy and usually left small cut up mealworm parts in the tubes instead of moving them to the portal, leading to excessive mold on the cotton. Being attached to an AC test tube portal it was pretty easy to manage this, I would offer them fresh tubes and eventually they would move out of the dirty tube into a new one. I think they went through 2 tubes before I decided to move them into a THA bifurcated mini hearth when they reached 60+ workers.
At first they were doing well in the THA mini hearth. Then about a month ago they brought a piece of mealworm down into the hearth, and it was either too big for them to remove up the vertical tube, or they just refused to do so. A bit after that I accidentally put a little too much water in the tower and they had a minor flood. This got the piece of mealworm wet and caused it to mold profusely. They are also stacking the remains of fruit flies in the upper bifurcated part instead of taking them into the out world.
For the past few weeks workers have started dying at an alarming rate. Around 5 or more workers per week have started dying since the mold outbreak, almost one per day. I am wondering the best course of action. Should I attempt to clean the mini hearth by cooling them down in the fridge and then removing the glass to take out the moldy mealworm and fruit flies? Should I move them back into tubes with an AC test tube portal until I can get another housing solution? I have heard this species is pretty messy in general, but I am starting to think that they might be better off in something that has an outworld on the side rather than above to avoid vertical tubing.
Thank you in advance for any advice on this situation.
Edited by Roll Me-Wan Kenobi, August 4 2022 - 8:02 AM.