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KATLA's Myrmecocystus Mexicanus

honeypot myrmecocystus formicarium terrarium substrate mexicanus deutsch français

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#1 Offline Katla - Posted November 8 2022 - 6:00 AM

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This i hope, will be the start of my journal for my young Myrmecocystus Mexicanus "Foundation"

They have until now been kept in a grouted test tube, set in a "Tubs and Tubes" setup. Overall temperature has been set at 25 to 27 C°


20221030_182047.jpg
(Tubs and Tubes setup)
 

My plan is to give them a new setup as mentioned in my help topic, the tank is; 60cm long, 6.5 cm wide and 30 cm tall. It has and approximative capacity of 12 L about 3.17 Gallons. 

I tried to create a substrate layering, the substrate level is at maximum of 20 Cm deep.
Top layering is a mixture of clay pebble, fine rend sand and thicker reddish desert sand. 
Second layer is a mixture of dirt an clay mixture around 10 cm thick.
Third and bottom layer is made out of Pozzolane for drainage and moisture storage.

 

20221108_145048.jpg
(Actual Tank in the process of curing the top layer moisture)


For moisture i have placed a direct tube to the bottom layer and intend to periodically moisten the top level as in natures cycles.
The composition of the top layer substrate would allow it to Harden, insiting the ants to choose a moiste spot to dig the main entrance.
I did testing for temperature control, i entend to lock overworld temperatures at 30 C° during day using a heat spot. During day cycle the first 10 cm of substrate keep at 27 to 29 C°, lower levels stay at 25 C°. This i hope will allow the ants to choose room level for different temperature and humidity gradients. 

During day time cycle aprx 12 hours, a Thermostate will control a 50W heating bulb and a 20W heat strip. During night time the Thermostate timer will turn off the Heat Light and only rely on the heat strip to keep underground temperature stable above 25 C°.

The overworld is populated bu succulentes and one cactae,  fauna will be also introduced as for now a European garden roach female as found it suitable for her to carry and maybe drop her ootheca, i also have 1 (mated) European earwig.


(I entend to share everything visually with everyone, this topic was started so i can adjust my personal routine. i will in couple of houres be able to share pictures, same goes for the text structure)


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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted November 8 2022 - 1:54 PM

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I like your detailed start. Looking forward to following their progress.
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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.

#3 Offline Katla - Posted November 8 2022 - 6:35 PM

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thank you, at the moment I'm waiting for the pupae to hatch before moving them, and also giving the setup enough time to dry out the top layer



#4 Offline T.C. - Posted November 10 2022 - 12:03 AM

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Monitor and be careful with the 50Watt bulb.  It could heat it up overtime and raise the temperature too high. I accidentally baked a formica colony years ago.


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.


If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.


#5 Offline Katla - Posted November 20 2022 - 9:19 PM

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I decided 2 days ago to move the test tube into the terrarium, all went well before i chose to push them out by light to encourage digging. I as mentioned above baked my Queen, have baked to be honest she has for now retrieved most of her ability's and is under careful watch of mine. I monitor her every move.

The foundation had started foraging the sand covered landscape, very fascinating to see them speed over the corse sand at baking 30C°. I also decided to move before any next newborns because their first repletes where already getting fatty, i don't know yet how they will choose to go underground if they'll use my premade holde into the tough clay substrate surface. As said i choose after 48h to add a small 20w spot from the side, i did see one worker starting to pick up pebbles frome the "premade hole". But then i saw the queen, crimpled together all legs bent towards her thorax, white icy veins over the abdomen. 

My first reaction was to get her out of the tube and identify any death signs, there i saw her 1 leg pair agitate and her antenna and head still smelling like looking around for help (sad feeling to be honest). I slowly gave her coller ambient temperatures and gave water droplets. She started keeping on her normal side again and still agitating her antennas i put her back into the terrarium with the rest of her Colony who had started pilling brood and repletes outside.

They have now started nesting outdoors, i served a new grouted tube they explored but did not invest in. 

unknown.png?width=935&height=701

unknown.png?width=935&height=701

I will continue monitoring closely for now, the queen was able to use at least her two front leg pairs, gaster has gone to usual nectar color. I will not feed them sugar anymore only protein and damp sand for moisture.

20221121_041744.jpg?width=327&height=700



#6 Offline ANTdrew - Posted November 21 2022 - 3:08 AM

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Why would you not feed sugars?
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#7 Offline United-Ants - Posted November 21 2022 - 7:46 AM

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They need sugar or they will die honey pot ants require way more sugar then protein

Sometimes, the only way to heal our wounds is to make peace with the demons who created them. 

Dr Serizawa godzilla

a True soldier doesn't fight because he hates what's in front of him, but because he loves what's behind him. some guy from yt

"You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain."


#8 Offline Katla - Posted November 22 2022 - 6:31 AM

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What i meant was to temporarily stop giving sugar to them for the queen to thin down.

I made a small hole next to their resting place, some scouted it out. After adding a little moisture to the hole one worker did go in and came out with a small lump of sand, some time after 2 others joined her and it started that way. They dug through the night, at one point they lured the queen to enter the cavity but they only made a tunnel for a regular "ant" sized, it did look pretty hilarious having the queens gaster stick out of the ground. Not sure if the queen had recollected her self after the incident from yesterday i stayed and watched to make sure she wouldn't just be stuck and couldn't move by herself, she did manage to get out by her self after all and went back to her corner. The workers went on digging so i left them over night.

 

IMG_20221122_121633_B001.jpg?width=526&h

 

This morning i had a pretty sight as none but one replete was left in the corner of the overworld, plenty of dugout dark red Substrate from the second sand clay layer so i have an idea of how deep they went and I'm also sure they are actually expanding a main chamber just 5 or 7 cm beneath the surface.

IMG_20221122_150646_B002.jpg?width=935&h


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#9 Offline Katla - Posted November 23 2022 - 12:58 AM

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Again i am just amazed at watching them nanitics franticly rune on the 39 C° overworld, dropping their dirt lumps as fast as they can and sweep back inside the nest. Here just a small update that they reached second substrate level and also started digging against the glass !

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Here the "grey" substrate when dried and dark red when moist 

 

IMG_20221123_095420_B001.jpg?width=526&h

 

And the actual sneak peek of what was dug near the moisture level


Edited by Katla, November 23 2022 - 1:01 AM.


#10 Offline Katla - Posted November 25 2022 - 4:27 PM

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Hello everyone reading !

I have now introduced a day night cycle for my setup, temps won't drop under 25C° in the overworld and not under 18 in the corners. Center segment is on constant heating pad at 25.8 at max 26.5C°. i have "Simulated" rain to rehydrate the top layer and assimilate dug up substrates to the ground still showing the color gradients, the entrance got blocked by clay and i purred a little sand to rescape. The ants have decided on a much small entrance this time only fitting a small worker with a full gaster. I also changed the sugar water as i think the old one had fermented, seems to have been the case as they did not hesitate on the new sugar source.

I found 2 still intact nanitics pupae in the corner of the overworld, but also larger 3 empty cocoons. They now bring up 1st level substrate again so i suppose they expand the main chamber.

The new day night cycle has indeed shown some effect as they do forage more numerous at night when the heat spot is off, i am obviously still open to suggestion especially on their local habits in nature if you people can give me any. I can't say if every one is still alive under there but again foraging and digging is active and they did immediately rely onto the moisture of the bottom pozzolane for hydration as "intended". I am still hoping on finding a small arid plant that would secrete honeydew and or any insects that rely on succulents and produce sugar.

With regards Katla


Edited by Katla, December 13 2022 - 10:34 AM.


#11 Offline ANTdrew - Posted November 26 2022 - 4:01 AM

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I had a kalanchoe houseplant once get fully infested with scale insects. They dripped honeydew all over.
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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.

#12 Offline Katla - Posted November 26 2022 - 8:18 AM

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I do live in temperate climate so maybe these insects don't follow up as the plants do, i can have my Kalanchoe outdoors pretty much all year long and they never had any insects sadly.



#13 Offline Katla - Posted December 9 2022 - 9:21 AM

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The cactus present in the setup seems to have grown two distinct bulb you slightly see them in the pictures above as 2 white dotes, do you think they will produce flowers and if they do will they provide any nectar for the ants to collect ?

 


Edited by Katla, December 9 2022 - 9:22 AM.


#14 Offline Katla - Posted December 9 2022 - 9:22 AM

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image.png


Edited by Katla, December 9 2022 - 9:23 AM.


#15 Offline ANTdrew - Posted December 10 2022 - 3:15 AM

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Those flowers certainly would provide nectar. Ants love to forage on the Opuntia humifusa flowers I have in my yard. Each bloom only lasts a day or so on those, though.
"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 Katla - Posted December 10 2022 - 8:54 AM

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i am thinking of adding a fake cactae to the setup and somehow tweak it so that i can use it as a sugar liquid feeder, i just can't find any suitable replicas



#17 Offline Katla - Posted December 13 2022 - 10:32 AM

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Hello !

No visual news unless i count the substrate that got brought on surface the last week and the cavity that has been dug out in the last showed galerie.

The ants have now adapted to a total night life and only come out once the heat bulb is set off by the timer, they do not forage for dry protein only fresh protein is taken by the colony by now. Which means i have to feed them fresh small to tiny crickets every night once the heat is off (i suppose that's their natural behavior ?). Three new empty cocoons have been dumped outside of the nest entrance, i didn't see any other though i must say i do not meticulously scavenge for any residues in corners, beneath large plants or under dug substrate. I have given them 4 crickets tonight to see how much they will process per day. Sadly one of my succulents didn't make it and died, given the fact that it was the one closest to the nest entrance i feel like she got a small dose of acid sprayed on, bu that's only a guess as i wasnt present to see any activity for a week. I will now use my time to observe their activity through the nights this week, room temperature do drop to 10 C° yest because of the heat mat placed on the back of the formicarium the overworld temps never drop below 20. So far for my observations and findings for this update.

Now to some questions;

Do i need to control overworld temps and give them a chance to drop below 20 during night time ? i suppose the ants come from New Mexico, besides internet meteorologic data i have no way of knowing what happens out there in the desert at night.
Some local advice and suggestions would be appreciated.

Should i stop providing light cover on the side where the ants have dug against the glass ? they seemed very calm during founding in test tubes and had no particular reaction to light in any sort.


I will provide some insight pictures during the week and of the outworld, they started scattering substrate farther away from the nest entrance.

With regards Katla.


Edited by Katla, December 13 2022 - 10:34 AM.


#18 Offline Katla - Posted December 16 2022 - 2:11 AM

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Just a small overview video of the setup after 3 weeks

 


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