So I just adopted a starter colony of ants.
I do not want to have this thread devolve into a discussion about "some people are idiots", let us just accept the fact, sigh, and move on.
so on the German Amazon page, you can buy starter ant farms and ant colonies.
Some kids in Germany get presents for Easter (the holidays were just a couple of weeks ago) and gifting animals to kids still seems to be an issue.
Since time immemorial, kids also quickly lose interest.
Long story short, since I share my enthusiasm about my new ants on Facebook, people are aware of my new hobby.
"Oh, I have seen you are now into ants. And your ants seem to be doing well. We have gotten this ant colony, but the ants are not doing much and they are just not as interesting to the kids as we thought. They also do not like their sugar water. Maybe you would like to try your luck? Here you go. See you!"
So I inherited a small starter colony.
The company who sells the ant farms on Amazon is "Anthouse", a Spanish company, which also made the acrylic nest which my main Messor colony absolutely loves. When they send out ant farms and colonies, they most of the time send some type of harvester ant (Messor).
So the colony I inherited is probably Messor barbarus or similar.
The queen has a red head, which is a bit different from the Messor barbarus queen in my main colony, which is completely black.
But I have read that there are some colour variations.
From having a quick look at the colony, there is a queen and around 10 workers and a few larvae.
"The ants are not doing much"- yeah, that much was right. The queen is still alive, but was positively catatonic (probably with fear). The water reservoir of the test tube the colony came in was nearly empty, the cotton black and rotten, and there were several quite dead ants baked into the black cotton.
So I got a new tube with new cotton and fresh water ready and quickly transferred the colony, together with some seed and sand and a few larvae (there was some brood) into a new glass tube. I also covered the tube with some red foil and put them in a quiet, not frequented (no vibrations!) place.
Together with that colony, I also got a small out-world box as well as a clean, unused acrylic nest.
For now, I will just do a tube setup, and have the tube with the colony in the small out-world, together with another tube with water.
If these ants survive, and if they grow, I can connect the out-world to the acrylic nest. It is similar to the nest I got for my first Messor colony, and they love it, so I think that acrylic nest will be totally fine for them.
For now, I have offered a few seed (in some cute tiny food dishes that came with the delivery), I also gave them a tiny piece of chicken meat and two small fruit flies.
Now these girls really have to calm down.
No idea if the queen will survive the ordeal (as I said, she was pretty catatonic and probably had had a series of heart attacks).
I better leave them alone completely for now.
I never had a small starter colony before, and I know a lot of things can go wrong, especially with a species as prone to stress as Messor barbarus.
This will be a learning process.