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Camponotus piceus- Shiny black beauties!


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#1 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 21 2023 - 12:00 PM

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I live in a small flat.

I do not have the space to have a huge ant room like many other members on here.

So with my ant keeping, I am looking for ants that are manageable (apart from the Messors of course, which can grow to a few thousand workers).

 

I had been looking around for a Camponotus species that is not aggressive, peaceful and avoids conflict with other ants and that has very small colonies.

There is one species, in warmer parts of Germany and Southern Europe, that fits my wishes perfectly.

 

Camponotus piceus!

 

Shiny black beauties.

A small species of Camponotus (the standard workers are the size of Lasius niger), they still have polymorphism (larger majors) and they have small colonies of several dozens to around 100-150 workers.

They are timid, shy, not aggressive, scavengers and can be kept together with other peaceful ants.

 

Then there was also the fact that I had bought this beautiful small founder wood nest from Foranto, which I had planned for the Walnut Empire (my Acorn Ants) but which has been ignored completely. It is just too beautiful to not see any use!

 

So what did I do?

I bought a small cheap plastic box (2 Euro) for a tubs and tubes setup, added some Vermiculite (which I had moistened in the corners) and disconnected the Foranto wood nest from the Acorn Ants enclosure and added it into the plastic box.

 

2106-Camponotus-4.jpg

 

I also used Fluon around the top corners and the lid as escape proofing.

 

2106-Camponotus-3.jpg

 

And I ordered a small founder colony of Camponotus piceus online.

The girls arrived save and sound and they are absolutely stunningly beautiful with their shiny black exoskeleton.

According to the seller, the ants are from Portugal.

 

2106-Camponotus-1.jpg

 

And here they are, the beauties!

 

2106-Camponotus-2.jpg

 

I also provided some wholesome dinner

 

2106-Camponotus-5.jpg

 

The girls are now residing in their arrival tube and I have covered them with some cardboard (like I did with my Rescue Ants).

They have right away started to drag some of the moist vermiculite into the test tube!

 

2106-Camponotus-6.jpg

 

Plus, they also did some exploring

 

2106-Camponotus-7.jpg

 

2106-Camponotus-8.jpg

 

And it looks as if the fluon barrier would work at least with these girls!!

 

2106-Camponotus-Fluon.jpg

 

The box is now sitting right next to the Acorn Ants.

I had been thinking that maybe, when both colonies grow bigger, I might even keep them together since both species are non-aggressive and can be kept with other species.

If I do that, I will just have to have a cooler area where the Temnothorax live, and (with a heating cable) have a heated nesting area for the Camponotus.

But that is dreams for the future.

Right now, I only have this tiny founding colony.

 

2106-Ant-Corner.jpg

 

I hope I can do these girls justice and have them grow!

 


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#2 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 21 2023 - 1:11 PM

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Reading through the forum and especially on fluon barriers-

I have now increased the size of the hole in the lid to about 5 times the size, to increase airflow and keep humidity down.

I realize I might have put too much moisture in.

Luckily it is pretty how here at the moment, so should evaporate.



#3 Offline Yourbasicantkeeper - Posted June 21 2023 - 1:28 PM

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If I were you, i wouldn't try to mix them just to be safe. that's just my opinion ;) , but you can do as you like! :D


They really are beauties!


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"I am here on Earth, and I am only a speck of sand in the desert, a blade of grass in a field. I am no greater than any one of these busy ants who build for each other's comfort. " - King Solomon

 

Currently keeping: Myrmecocystus Depilis, Pogonomyrmex Rugosus

 

Wishlist: Camponotus Ocreatus


#4 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 21 2023 - 1:34 PM

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If I were you, i wouldn't try to mix them just to be safe. that's just my opinion ;) , but you can do as you like! :D


They really are beauties!

I won't even try any time soon, and if I ever do, I will get a proper enclosure with plenty of hiding spaces going. I would never attempt it in these founding plastic boxes as I have them in presently.


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#5 Offline Yourbasicantkeeper - Posted June 21 2023 - 2:43 PM

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If I were you, i wouldn't try to mix them just to be safe. that's just my opinion ;) , but you can do as you like! :D


They really are beauties!

I won't even try any time soon, and if I ever do, I will get a proper enclosure with plenty of hiding spaces going. I would never attempt it in these founding plastic boxes as I have them in presently.

 

Yeah sure!


  • Ernteameise likes this

"I am here on Earth, and I am only a speck of sand in the desert, a blade of grass in a field. I am no greater than any one of these busy ants who build for each other's comfort. " - King Solomon

 

Currently keeping: Myrmecocystus Depilis, Pogonomyrmex Rugosus

 

Wishlist: Camponotus Ocreatus


#6 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 21 2023 - 3:16 PM

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Very nice! These remind me a lot of my Camponotus nearcticus colony.
You did well to increase the opening of your lid. Even with just one tube in a box, the humidity can easily get above 80% which turns fluon into a sticky mess. Apply fluon in smooth strokes, trying to avoid any clumps. ByFormica brand fluon is the best.
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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.

#7 Offline antsriondel - Posted June 21 2023 - 3:18 PM

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Wow nice colony!


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#8 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 21 2023 - 11:40 PM

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Very nice! These remind me a lot of my Camponotus nearcticus colony.
You did well to increase the opening of your lid. Even with just one tube in a box, the humidity can easily get above 80% which turns fluon into a sticky mess. Apply fluon in smooth strokes, trying to avoid any clumps. ByFormica brand fluon is the best.

I still have sooooo much to learn!

The advice with the lid I got actually from one of your old journals where you yourself asked about Fluon.

 

Here is the lid, now opened up wide (and I think I need to re-apply that fluon).

 

Lid.jpg



#9 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 21 2023 - 11:44 PM

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This morning, the new girls had carried some of the moist vermiculite into the test tube and created some sort of "wall".

Since my Rescue Ants in the test tube did the same with sand and seed, I think this is totally normal behaviour and will also help them control the humidity in their test tube better.

 

2206_Camponotus_enclosed.jpg

 

I do not think they will move into the fancy wood nest any time soon, since the colony is still so tiny.

 

I also shared a bit of breakfast egg with them and placed it right at the opening of the tube.

 

2206_Camponotus_Egg.jpg



#10 Offline NelsontheLittle - Posted June 22 2023 - 4:29 AM

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Hello, 

where did you get the camponotus piceus from?

I really like the size and behaviour of this species and I would like to get piceus too.



#11 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 22 2023 - 8:26 AM

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Hello, 

where did you get the camponotus piceus from?

I really like the size and behaviour of this species and I would like to get piceus too.

I got them from a German seller (but I appear to have bought the last colony)

https://www.antbaron...nnen-p540441751

I am actually very happy with that seller because the ants arrived in good shape and well fed (see picture above).

 

Many different species are also always offered on the German tradingsite "Kleinanzeigen" (in German)

https://www.kleinanz...igin=DELETED_AD

 

I have seen that a French company lists them too, but are sold out at the moment

https://fourmicultur...mponotus-picus/

 

You might just have to wait a bit for them to come back into stock.



#12 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 22 2023 - 10:32 AM

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So here is the final setup-

I had ordered another small drinking bottle to feed the sunburst nectar.

I hope it is not too far away and hopefully these girls to some reconnaissance.

In any case, a small feeding dish is right in front of the nest tube with a small cricket and some fruit jelly.

 

2206-Camponotus-Setup.jpg

 

The ants have now well and truly erected a wall inside this test tube using the vermiculite. The nest is secure.


Edited by Ernteameise, June 22 2023 - 10:33 AM.


#13 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted June 22 2023 - 10:41 AM

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I have found that almost all ants love to block up their test tube entrance it limits airflow and makes them feel more comfortable. I put test tube inserts from esthetic ants to make them feel more comfortable. Nice setup. This seems like the one of best species to keep. Good luck!
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#14 Offline NelsontheLittle - Posted June 23 2023 - 3:34 AM

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Hello, 

where did you get the camponotus piceus from?

I really like the size and behaviour of this species and I would like to get piceus too.

I got them from a German seller (but I appear to have bought the last colony)

https://www.antbaron...nnen-p540441751

I am actually very happy with that seller because the ants arrived in good shape and well fed (see picture above).

 

Many different species are also always offered on the German tradingsite "Kleinanzeigen" (in German)

https://www.kleinanz...igin=DELETED_AD

 

I have seen that a French company lists them too, but are sold out at the moment

https://fourmicultur...mponotus-picus/

 

You might just have to wait a bit for them to come back into stock.

 

Thank you!  :)


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#15 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 23 2023 - 10:16 AM

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I also got a heat cable to keep the colonies warm in autumn and spring (during winter they will be kept cooler for diapause).

Apart from the acorn ants (who have true hibernation) my other colonies are from Spain or Portugal so they won't do a true hibernation, just a rest period.

I have been told that I must have the most pampered ants in Germany.... :P

 

2306-heat-cable.jpg



#16 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 24 2023 - 1:20 AM

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I was too slow with my camera, but I just watched a forager eat from the fruit jelly.

So yay! They are eating.

 

The colony right now consists of 6 workers and a queen and some larvae.

One of the workers, the smallest (and I assume the oldest!) is doing most of the work- building the nest wall from vermiculite and also doing the foraging.

The others are sitting on top of the brood with swollen gasters (they appear to have been well fed by the seller).

 

From what I have read, this is pretty much what is expected (since in many colonies, only around 20% of workers are the active work force).



#17 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 25 2023 - 9:25 AM

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A nicer view of the brood pile of this colony.

Looks as if I will have new workers, soon.

 

2506-Camponotus-Brood-Pile.jpg


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#18 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 28 2023 - 11:26 AM

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I am very happy to announce-

this colony has another worker!

With this, worker count has now gone up to 7.

And they are also sitting on a nice pile of brood.

Plus, all of them are FAT. Seriously, these are the fattest of all my ants.

 

2806-Camponotus-7.jpg

 

2806-Camponotus-brood.jpg


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#19 Offline Ernteameise - Posted July 1 2023 - 2:06 AM

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These girls also seem to be doing well.

I got a couple of better shots of their brood pile today.

They continue to look pretty well fed.

 

0107-Camponotus-brood.jpg

 

0107-Camponotus-brood-2.jpg


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#20 Offline Ernteameise - Posted July 4 2023 - 10:27 AM

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OMG.

These girls are basically exploding.

Look at this amount of brood!

 

Just fed them some more fruit jelly and a small cricket.

 

0407-Camponotus-2.jpg

 

0407-Camponotus1.jpg






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