As a South Dakotan, hibernation is a given for all ants that we find(i wish it was a given for humans too but oh well). This year i realized that due to the quantity of queens that i caught, buying a simple cheap fridge was not going to work. And, being the cheap person that i am and not wanting to purchase a larger one, i decided to create my own with a Peltier unit. Needless to say, although it worked, the Peltier unit i bought was not designed well(because it was cheap )enough to regulate the temperature down to the levels i wanted(only about 50 degrees F) and also i need to find some way to fix condensation freezing on the unit itself. Anyway, I digress. basically my ants did not have a proper hibernation this year, but that is not the point of this topic. Upon pulling my ants out of their Peltier chamber, i discovered, to my pleasure, that all of my main colonies were doing great! With the exception of the die off of most of the workers of one of my crematogaster colonies(my fault for not feeding them more before hibernation), i was in a relatively good mood. Then i pulled out my two myrmica queens, and found a 100% mortality rate. I can literally not keep these queens alive. My thought was because the hibernatin was not down to proper levels, they stayed active and died from lack of food but who knows. Seriously someone needs to write a guide on this genius. Next i unpacked my Lasius brevicornis colonies, and found a 0% mortality rate among them, although it appears that this species is particularly sensitive to mold as i noted an inverse relationship between the number of eggs and the mold on the cotton of their tube. I would love some clarification as to L. brevicornis rearing conditions if anyone has any experience. I also noted that a singular colony had actually reared a worker during hibernation that had died due to lack of me seeing it and feeding it(because they were supposed to be hibernating ) which appears to support the idea that brevicornis do not require hibernation to raise nanitics, or can do so before winter depending on the year. However, i noted that only one of my six three-queen colonies had any brood above the egg stage. Next i removed my Lasius neoniger colonies. Here, there was about a 20% mortality rate, probably due to infertility, although i cannot be positive. At any rate, this is the first time i have gotten these queens to have eggs, which confirms the fact that L. neoniger in northern regions probably need hibernation before rearing nanitics(although there may be exceptions or confusions with L. americanus i need to sort out). From what i have noticed, these ants do not have any preference between substrate or not, although it appears that they are very sensative to light, as the queens that were near my window immediately ate their eggs after coming out of "hibernation" due to the presence of light(because i was dumb and forgot to cover them ). Finally, i unearthed my parasitic lasius(aphidicola, claviger, interjectus). Here i found a mortality rate of 100%. I have a couple of thoughts about this and would like some advice as to what i can do better in the future to raise these tricky ants. Firstly, we can rule out that hibernation killed them as all of my other ants are alive. Here are my theories. (1) because this was not a true hibernation, perhaps they lost the will to live due to not being able to escape and find a host colony. (2) they were just being usual parasitic lasius and died for no reason(unlikely as i had over 60 queens) (3) perhaps(also unlikely) they were not mated as most of them were caught with wings(i know not positive indicator) and the day had been windy, and no males were ever found, so perhaps mating did not go as well as planned. At any rate, i would love to hear formiculture's opinions and/or advice as to what i can do better in the future!
Edited by Ants_Dakota, April 7 2023 - 5:41 PM.