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Bleeper's First Time At Ant Keeping - Camponotus CA02

camponotus ca02 mini hearth xl carpenter ants expo tarheelants heat cable tar heel ants beginner

118 replies to this topic

#101 Offline DRpepper - Posted April 5 2024 - 10:21 AM

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Amazing journal! I love your photography. 


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#102 Offline BleepingBleepers - Posted May 29 2024 - 9:55 AM

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Been awhile, guys! :D

 

Thanks for the comments, glad you guys like the pictures, I try my best to give the pictures some purpose / context especially for those that are interested in this species.

 

I'll be back soon to make some updates to the progress of the colony and what I've been up to in the last few months. Definitely learned a few things during the Colony Cooldown period, failures and successes, some interesting stuff I found.

 

Glad to be back though, good to see you're all doing well and here's best wishes to all of you guys on your journals and ant colonies :headbang: 


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JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE


#103 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted May 31 2024 - 8:01 PM

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Any more updates? Would be happy to hear :>
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#104 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted June 1 2024 - 4:15 PM

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My CA-02 is arriving next week, and I've learned a lot from you... I hope your colony continues to grow and prosper! 


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#105 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted June 3 2024 - 5:36 PM

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Yippee!!!! My ants are finally shipped, arriving on Wednesday 6/3/2024 :D


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#106 Offline BleepingBleepers - Posted June 3 2024 - 7:46 PM

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Yippee!!!! My ants are finally shipped, arriving on Wednesday 6/3/2024 :D

 

NICE!  (y) 

 

I'll update this today or tomorrow.

 

I'm excited for you! It brings back memories of when I first got them and how insanely excited I was! I definitely wasn't expecting to find an ant vendor at the show ;)

I'll try to include any extra info I can, hopefully it'll become useful to you. I try to be as detailed as I can. You're getting me worked up, can't wait for you to get your package too!


Edited by BleepingBleepers, June 3 2024 - 7:47 PM.

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JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE


#107 Offline ChenZ - Posted June 3 2024 - 10:13 PM

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Can't wait to see how much your colony has grown! My CA02 finally start to take off this spring, it's interesting to see how their large pile of eggs just diapaused the whole winter even though the room was pretty warm. A few eggs developed into larvae during hibernation but none of them made it though.


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#108 Offline rockaedward - Posted June 4 2024 - 1:19 PM

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Yippee!!!! My ants are finally shipped, arriving on Wednesday 6/3/2024 :D

 

NICE!  (y)

 

I'll update this today or tomorrow.

 

I'm excited for you! It brings back memories of when I first got them and how insanely excited I was! I definitely wasn't expecting to find an ant vendor at the show ;)

I'll try to include any extra info I can, hopefully it'll become useful to you. I try to be as detailed as I can. You're getting me worked up, can't wait for you to get your package too!

 

good to see that you're back. What vendor did you meet btw?


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#109 Offline BleepingBleepers - Posted June 6 2024 - 8:02 PM

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Hope everyone's been well. Had some personal issues to attend to during the week so my mind wasn't on it.

However, finally got a chance. Thanks again for everyone that view and/or participate in this Journal of mines. I hope you find the content to be interesting or even useful ;)

 

 

 

Updated my Timeline to include the attempts of ending the cooldown:


https://www.formicul...-ca02/?p=234278




-------- 02 / 24 / 2024  l=====>  04 / 07 / 2024 --------------


So for those of you that kept up to date on this journal or read back a bit, I started the cooldown quite late (end of Feb). I also gave my reasons as to why. This ended up working and also not working because my house got a bit too warm, even parts of the house that was the lowest in temperature. So learning through experiencing. During this time, I gave them fresh water and sugar water. In the beginning, I tried not to give them much protein but I noticed due to by inexperienced introduction to the cooler temperature, their brood, mostly the cocoons, continue to develop and they still had a mild craving for protein, causing them to eat some of their brood. I gave them some protein after I notice them munching on a pupa or two.

 

Picture of my setup found here: https://www.formicul...-ca02/?p=237268

I had their whole setup, formicarium and outworld, placed on an extra thick plane of glass that I coincidentally had laying around. This worked because I wanted to be able to move the ants around without disturbing them as much; I can move it anywhere in one whole piece.


One thing that was interesting is that during this time, cocoons still eclosed, even at 60-65F (to my great surprise as I thought they cannot develop unless 74F+). During this time, almost all the cocoons eclosed (about 50~ cocoons) with a small fraction probably eaten. All of the brood, eggs and larvae (50-100 of each) that I thought would NOT be eaten WERE eaten during the cooldown as I saw absolutely no brood left around April. I was told by some CA02 ant keepers that this would not happen, so I'm unsure if it was because of my not so good cooldown practice, my late attempts of a cooldown or simply the info that I was supplied where a hit or miss or for another camponotus.


I also noticed during these past few months that quite a few workers have passed away, I cleaned the outworld here and there, picking up their bodies. At first, it was some of the nanitics and then the workers that came after OR some that were too weak to handle the cooldown. I think in total, during the whole bit, I lost around 50 workers as my guestimation.


I got concerned enough that I brought it up with one of the people that I've been getting advice from. He got a bit annoyed at me and asked why I did a cooldown when he told me not to and I showed him this picture and asked him "how would the ants conduct their usual activities if the travel tube looked like this?" I didn't WANT to do it  :blink:  , I HAD to do it, they were showing me the sign that they wanted a cooldown.

 

J9GBMGO.jpeg

 

 

 

-------- 04 / 07 / 2024 --------------

(Add in 1-2 weeks before or after this date to include the days I tried letting them adjust to my room)

 

Attempt #1 to End the Cooldown

 

With anxiety building up as it was my first cooldown experience, noticing the rise in temperature and the increase in ant body count, I decided to prematurely end the cooldown with only a month and a half for them to rest (I'd imagine in the wild, they'd have at least 3-4 months). I was going to live and learn and see what would happen.

 

I brought the ants into my room (the warmest place in the house) for about a week or two. My room, at this time, ranged around 68-74F. I wasn't sure what to expect and I nervously awaited some reaction from them.

 

To my disappointment, the ants didn't seem to take to it. They huddled even tighter together, seemingly trying to escape the heat. They filled up the large 1/2" ID travel tube I had for them and even started to huddle around the corners of the outworld (a sample picture of this I'll show further down in a bit)

 

I was a bit disheartened but at this point, I developed a "it is what it is" attitude. I moved them back into the laundry room (coldest place in the house) and continued my routine of praying to the ant Gods (behind closed doors so no one would notice me slipping away into insanity :lol:  ) and supplying them with nourishment, hoping they will survive intact for another month or two.

 

 

 

-------- 05 / 22 / 2024 --------------

 

Attempt #2 to End the Cooldown

 

So as the temperature increased even more and it already hitting close to the middle of the year, I decided  3 months is good and to give it another try.

 

During the time, some more ants have died, but not as much. Another interesting thing that happened that ended up working in my favor but also giving me a scare was that the colony ended up completely vacating the Tar Heel formicarium. I looked in there one day and was like "awwwwwww shhhht :/ "  The Queen and all her minions moved into the travel tube connections that I created at the back of the formicarium leading into the nest, all crammed up in there. Panic was setting in and that further pushed me to try again to end the cooldown. I also used this opportunity to switch out the old nest that was used for the first year and was soiled by the ants. It's not terrible, but I've definitely been meaning to switch it out and plan to do it often in the future as I can't stand smells and yes, they do smell for sure.

 

So through some effort, I moved the ant's habitat back into my room, no heat cables yet as to give them a more time to adjust to the gradual increase in temperature. The temperature in my room at this time ranged from 68 up to 76F.

 

Whether they take to it this time was in the back of my mind, but my main task to preoccupy myself from worrying was to switch out the nest on the right side and reconnect everything all the while prevent the ants from pouring out of all the holes and into my room where hell would surely break loose :o

 

During the move, I noticed some scenes that were both concerning but interesting:

 

 

I was happy to see that there were some evidence that showed the ants were already waking up on their own some weeks back.

This picture showed two majors and some workers guarding a batch of eggs in the 1/2" ID travel tube:

 

v3ShUMj.jpeg

 

 

 

And remember me mentioning workers huddling in the corners of the outworld? I also caught the Queen somewhat freaking out and moving about. You can tell she's desperate to find an escape route when she's right near the hole leading to the outworld. There were A LOT more workers huddling out there before, sometimes they move themselves back into the travel tube. I was always somewhat concerned how the colony would REaccept worker ants that have been huddled out there for weeks. However, this didn't seem to be an issue whatsoever as it never became a problem.

 

52JV1An.jpeg

 

 

The switching out of the nest on the right (that I mentioned that was soiled by the ants) had some minor issues and took me a good hour or so, but not as bad as I thought. What I did was got some cotton balls and blocked the holes before the ants came pouring out. The trick was to remember to block which holes and so forth. I also decided at this time that I was going to block the left nest that I added prior to the cooldown as an expansion for the growing colony. I did this because I feared they would use it as a trash area and soil it too. I really don't like that at all. After reattaching everything and re-hotgluing the cables back into place, all was good.

 

 

-------- 06 / 02 / 2024 --------------

 

Year 2 Begins!! :yahoo:

 

To my relief, the second attempt at ending the cooldown met with some reaction from the ants.

This was when I also plugged the heat cable back in, set to 77F and began running the nest again.

HOWEVER, I still had some issues. A significant number of the ants were still slow to wake up. To jolt them back to the land of the living, something that I've also been meaning to do was to revert back to the smaller travel tube from before. While a large travel tube was nice, I did find out that the ants tend to end up using it as their home and not so much as the travel tube. I need it to clear out. So again, through much effort, I'd say significantly more so than when I completely replaced the right formicarium and at the cost of a couple of ant lives as they came rushing out at me due me THINKING I was prepared but was not prepared enough, I replaced all of the 1/2" ID travel tube with 3/8" ID tubing. This gave me the chance to wake up the sleeping worker ants. I also woke them up more by blowing into the outworld and irritating them. I also completely disconnect the back travel tube to the expansion nest since they were using it as their nest. I definitely wanted them back into the tar heel formicarium where I can see them and for them to utilize it as how it is intended.

 

 

 

 

So here's my Colony starting for the second year, super late cooldown and super late waking up:

 

 

Queen, 250~ still sleepy but strong Minor and Median Workers, 4 Majors! , 40+ Eggs, 40+ Larvae, no cocoons yet.

Still have a handful of starter Nanitics still hanging around too, probably half a dozen?

 

Since I did noted that a significant number didn't survive the cooldown but a lot of cocoons hatched during the cooldown, I think their numbers evened out to around the same amount prior to cooldown which is about 250

AND JUST A HEADS UP: This time around, with the Majors, shining a light and taking pictures is MUCH harder than before

They're able to sense the light and alert the regular workers that can't sense light. Before, I just had to watch out for the Queen as she can sense light.

I also think that since they've been hiding in the almost completely dark travel tube connector and now being exposed to light, they are extra sensitive and need to get use to it again, maybe that'll help.

 

JwVEeBr.jpeg

 

 

The difference this time? Majors are now guarding them eggs!! (y)

 

SyA5ev1.jpeg

 

 

Which BTW, leads me to today's video! Finally got my handling time with one of the Major ants in the colony. One of my ant keeping goals....CHECKED OFF! :D

 

 

VIDEO:

 

 

 

There's also other differences starting this year. A LOT more workers in the outworld scavenging for food. I still recall the early days when I had 2 workers, then 12 workers.

Now? There's around 70++ workers out there! They're hitting the ground running this year.

 

W63gxKB.jpeg

 

 

GVCqXro.jpeg

 

By the way, as you can see, I use index cards and loose sand in my Outworlds to simplify and also because if anything is dirty, nothing is permanently stuck, I can easily scoop it out and change it like kitty litter. I'm not saying my idea of using index card is ingenious, I'm really just saying I got lazy and it kinda worked out and I'm selling the idea anyways *teehee*. Anyhow, I like to keep it odor free as much as I can for health reasons.

I learned that these ants, before, didn't like the outworld as much because of the loose sand. They prefer something more solid and non-shifting to stand on. Index cards work and they're white which makes the ants easier to see as well, I don't like substrate that blends in with the color of the ants and make them hard to see. When I shop, I usually look out for that the most. Though looking at it afterwards, I have to admit, this color sand wasn't the best choice, but it was the best available at the shops I went to locally. It's not that bad. I think I got the color because it had some whites and it was also for my dark colored Astute ants.

 

 

wEIx4Fw.jpeg

 

 

 

And the garbage pile in the outworld. The white fibers is from the paper towel paper I rolled up and saturated it with water. They tend to abuse and dig into it....naughty ants 

And as you can also see, the unfortunate dead bodies of their fellow workers.

 

rdiD1b1.jpeg

 

 

 

And how's the Queen this time?

Seems to be doing good! Her abdomen is a lot smaller, I would think she's no longer utilized by her colony as the main REPLETE so her function is more to just producing eggs. Will her tummy get as bloated again though? We'll see.

I think during the cooldown, she was able to rest up, clear out her system and perhaps reprioritize (or maybe that's just me ;) )

 

SBPT653.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Here's my current setup. You can see at the bottom left of the picture, my horrific dungeon surgical torture tools (joke of course, just some tools to feed and maintain the ants and whatnot)

So BOTH formicarium nests are brand new, unused. The left one is currently sealed off and I will open it once the ants reach probably another 50 workers with another 50 eclosing out of cocoons.

 

fRLLvQ3.jpeg

 

 

And here's the setup in the back of the formicarium. Recall the times I mentioned the ants hiding in the traveling tube connections and whatnot. They're hiding in that tube connector there (from Home Depot). The Queen started making that as a nest.

You can see how I hotglue the heat cable. This time around, I avoided running it behind the water tower as to not have excessive amount of humidity and water condensation on the glass surface made it hard to see the ants and attracted dirt and dust that made it unsightly to look at (these ants don't need nearly as much humidity as some and therefore don't need it). I also said before that I like using hot glue because it contains just the right (not perfect) but right enough adhesion but nothing permanent so with a little prying, you can take it off and hot glue some place else. This is an older picture of when I was using the 1/2" ID travel tube, they're now 3/8", 1/4" ID vinyl tubing that came with the nest is way too small for this species.

 

LpVhN7j.jpeg

 

 

 

And in connection to the video, here's handling picture of the Major I finally caught wondering in the outworld. He was definitely wondering what the hell is happening to him.

 

Btw, I've been Crapped / Pissed on before in real life (figuratively speaking of course), so this is nothing new, but it still felt a bit gross!

Major taking a leak on my hand

 

nV990vZ.jpeg

 

 

 

Here he is again. Check out that video too of me handling him, it's only a minute long.

 

0Pl0P3X.jpeg

 

 

 

Here are the ants already diving into the protein source. Excited to see with so much protein, how it'll be in a few months of Year 2!

 

fG6qxjy.jpeg

 

 

 

Another look at the larvae / egg pile that's coming up. This is just about half of it as some are in the travel tube connector and on the water tower. The ants have gotten use to using the white travel tube splitter that I pictured as a nest. They will sometimes go in there if the formicarium is disturbed such as vibrations or lights.

 

RQ2jnvb.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Differences In Year 2 for this Colony:

 

1. Majors are up and running and the colony feels a lot more secure

2. A LOT more out of the nest and busy in the outworld. There's around 70+ of them now out and about, finding food and water.

3. The ants also seem A LOT more aggressive / defensive this time around. I still recall my early days with this species and even telling everyone how these ants are cute little buggers that barely ever attack. This has now changed :*(. When they sense my hand anywhere in their outworld or definitely their nest, they're out in full force. However, their first year, regular worker mandibles are laughably weak on the areas of my hand that have thick skin. I can feel it on the thinner parts but they're definitely not much of a threat yet. I have been swarmed by some bigger workers around 5 of them, that was alarming and I can feel a bit of their attack. I do notice that the Majors don't seem to do as much, more show of force rather. They don't really break apart prey and as you can see from the handling, show little aggression. But I do notice that overtime as the ants transition from nest to outworld scavenging jobs, they do change a bit.

 

 

 

What I learned from this experience:

 

1. Have further confirmed the lifespan of these ants, which is about 6 months to a year. The cooldown this year was a bit 'messy' so I believe I lost more than what I should.

2. To start the cooldown process a lot sooner  by giving them some temperature dives during the night, probably to 65F and see if they start huddling / idling in the outworld. So the sign are worker ants idling around, kinda in a 'sleepy' manner. Next time, I'll start the cooldown around late November. This year I will start late December though since the warm up started really late. So objective is to start late November and end around late Feb or early March. I will also update the first page care sheet to reflect this. (edit: and wanted to add, a lot more gradually, lowering the temperature over the course of 3-4 weeks or so instead of 1 or 2 so the ants can prepare themselves better)

3. They seem to like mealworms quite a bit. I need to retry fruit flies again, but my current culture didn't make it last month so need to find more elsewhere to get a restart.

4. That the regular workers don't seem to sense light, but the Majors and Queens do....and MAYBE the Medians as well. They're the one that freak out and tell the regular workers to evacuate.

5. It seems like the best time to clean the outworld and work around it is probably early in the morning around 7 AM, the ants seem to be the least active around that time, not always but many times.

6. The ants don't seem to like substrate that shift underneath their feet like sand. Was wondering why they didn't take to the Outworld as much and now I understand why. Can probably saturate and pat the sand down some, but beware of them moving the Queen out there if it's humid. The index cards and whatnot helped and it does clearly show their preference to stand on that instead of the sand.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for patiently waiting for this update. I said I'd update sooner but I gotta be in my mode / mood to type this up and as you can see, I'm quite thorough and descriptive in what I put down. I try to put quality and context into my posts. For those that appreciate it, I appreciate you for seeing that.

 

As always, it's fun to talk to you guys so leave a comment on your thoughts and whatnot. Hope to talk to you guys and see you guys around the forum.


Edited by BleepingBleepers, June 8 2024 - 9:16 AM.

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JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE


#110 Offline GOCAMPONOTUS - Posted June 7 2024 - 9:29 AM

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My camponotus don't like mealworms I use fruit flies or you could try crickets/


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Currently keeping: 2 C.vicinus colonies.2 C.sansabeanus. 1 C.leavissimus. 2 C.Ca02. 1 V.pergandei. 4 T.immigrans.1 F.pacifica. 1 C.hyatti

1 M.ergatognya

 

 

 

 

Trying to get my hands on :C.modoc,A.vercicolor, and Any Honeypots

  

 

 


#111 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted June 7 2024 - 10:31 AM

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what a post, thank you. great info and neat images. Jelly of getting to handle the ants. I got pogonomyrmex occidentalis. They want to get on you, but it will not be a polite visit.

 

I notice you suggested the major was all "what's going on?"

But just say'n, if i were in prison, i'd pee on the warden first chance i got too. ;)

 

Also curious what's the little capped off side tube on the nest about? Why/when did you put that on?


Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, June 7 2024 - 10:32 AM.

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#112 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted June 18 2024 - 10:43 AM

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Bleep, my CA-02 arrived a week ago, and following your advices I fed them proteins in surplus. Mealworms, crickets, cricket legs, literally anything I can find, even lobster meat! Their brood pile sky-rocketed in just a few days, lol. I learned a lot from you and I check up on the post regularly every day. Antkeeping is truly awesome!


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#113 Offline NotAxo - Posted June 19 2024 - 3:44 AM

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How many workers does your colony have Ljimmy?

Currently raising : C. Parius (2x), C. Vitiosus (2x), Carebara Diversa (1x), C. irratians (2x), M. brunnea (1x)

Have raised : Solenopsis

Enjoy anting, NotAxo :D


#114 Offline Locness - Posted June 20 2024 - 6:16 PM

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Nice journal, detailed observations and vibrant photos. Now I need these in my collection lol.
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#115 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted June 26 2024 - 10:23 AM

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How many workers does your colony have Ljimmy?

I 7 workers with 4 yet to eclose.


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#116 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted June 26 2024 - 11:46 AM

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By the way, bleep, how often do you feed your ants protein? I'm supposing like once a day, right? I feed my CA-02 once a day protein and they would gourge themselves in it even thought they are only 7 workers strong. They have more than 20+ eggs because I power-fed them, lol.


Edited by Ljimmy009, June 26 2024 - 11:54 AM.

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#117 Offline BleepingBleepers - Posted June 26 2024 - 5:43 PM

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My camponotus don't like mealworms I use fruit flies or you could try crickets/

 

Are you referring to your own CA02 or another Camponotus? Because it's interesting to note and study their food preferences.

 

One other CA02 keeper also had the same experience as me, that they don't like crickets, don't care for fruit flies, like mealworms, got use to roaches and eat them just fine now.

 

Guess your CA02s got use to crickets if that's the case. I tried giving mines cricket 3-4 times, fresh prekilled AND frozen and they turned their heads away from it.

 

I still need to get a new batch of fruit flies to see if Year 2 will show different results as fruit flies are among the top 'vital foods' on the menu.

 

 

what a post, thank you. great info and neat images. Jelly of getting to handle the ants. I got pogonomyrmex occidentalis. They want to get on you, but it will not be a polite visit.

 

I notice you suggested the major was all "what's going on?"

But just say'n, if i were in prison, i'd pee on the warden first chance i got too. ;)

 

Also curious what's the little capped off side tube on the nest about? Why/when did you put that on?

 

 

Hey, sorry for the long overdue reply, I've been thinking of your post often. My mind hasn't been good so if you or anyone wonder why it take so long for me to reply to posts, it's because of me being so out of it, so sorry for any delays and whatnot. Just want to put it out there in case any one of you guys think I'm just ignoring you, it's not on purpose. It's just me, I've been having a lot of mental health and anxiety issues. But I've always greatly appreciate the posts and questions and enjoy the interaction so please keep it coming!

 

To partially answer your question for now:

It's a bathroom fixture. Trying not to spoil it because I plan to make a post very soon, including a short video of how it works and how to make it work, cons and pros, along with other little things I do for the ants on the side that I think is interesting.

 

So I'll more thoroughly talk on this soon. Hope you check back ;)

 

Edit: And haha yeah on the major relieving itself on my hand. Other funny thing is, I got the same deal when I handle my tarantulas. They use the occasion to take a 'leak', like a dog finding the fire hydrant lol. I think sometimes as well that when they're out and about, it gets their fluids moving through their body. Kinda like when you're half awake and you don't think about going to the bathroom as much but when you become more alert and tossing around, you suddenly realize that you're hungry, you need to take a leak, you need to do this and that. And the same deal with me and the astute ants that I keep, I don't handle them even though I really want to, they're WAY more aggressive and WAY more capable of making me regret it. I can tell they pack a significantly stronger bite just simply because they can bite so hard, when they bite my stainless steel tweezers and slip, they're literally ejected / catapulted backwards from the force of their jaws closing...so it's that and that they can sting.

 

 

 

 

Bleep, my CA-02 arrived a week ago, and following your advices I fed them proteins in surplus. Mealworms, crickets, cricket legs, literally anything I can find, even lobster meat! Their brood pile sky-rocketed in just a few days, lol. I learned a lot from you and I check up on the post regularly every day. Antkeeping is truly awesome!

 

 

That's good to hear! I try to update the care sheet info on the front page too in hopes of it serving some purpose.

 

Very excited for you. Consider making a CA02 journal of your own here as well and share, with cough nice pictures to look at because I love looking at pictures :blush:

Here if ya ever need it and best of luck to you and your colony.

 

These guys definitely seem especially keen on seafood, raw and boiled. Though I avoid giving them anything that has seasoning added to it, boiled with plain o' water and straight to their mouths....and some to our dinner table :P

 

Nice journal, detailed observations and vibrant photos. Now I need these in my collection lol.

 

Thanks for the appreciation! I definitely try to put some substance to the posts that I make. Almost like a scientific study into behavior and husbandry / living condition requirements for these ants.

 

Will make another post in a few days, hope to see you then!

 

 

 

 

By the way, bleep, how often do you feed your ants protein? I'm supposing like once a day, right? I feed my CA-02 once a day protein and they would gourge themselves in it even thought they are only 7 workers strong. They have more than 20+ eggs because I power-fed them, lol.

 

 

 

I'm also surprised as you are on your colony being so into the protein source so early! In my eyes, that seem to be a good thing as it is showing strong initiative towards growth and the thriving of your colony (y) . I'm very excited for you that you have such a promising colony in your possession!

 

In the early stages of my colony, they seemed to be a lot more into finding a sugar source with just a nibble here and there of protein and even then, they were very shy and weren't eagerly munching apart whole prekilled prey. They seemed to be more after exposed guts / innards after I cut them in half etc.

 

I noted it in this journal on when they REALLY started going after protein. I can't remember but prob when they hit around 40 workers or more.

 

My current colony goes after protein all the time. They'll straight up let you know and they let you know all the time. I'll make post soon to show ya what I mean :D

 

As to your question, how often? Just feed them as much as they're willing to eat, but as long as they can finish it up in about 2-3 days. So don't put in too much that it rots in there. I usually try to feed the appropriate amount, ration it. Prey item that they can't finish in that time, I usually try to fish it out, trying to use the least intrusive method. I'm making another post / video to show more of what I'm talking about.

 

Some things I also noted: I have better success power feeding ants directly in their nest as opposed to dropping it in the outworld. However, you'll need to know how much your ants are usually willing to eat and have a way to fish it out before it rots and molds in there. If you can't, just feed them close to the entrance, try to anchor it down, expose the guts and let them slurp it up so they're less likely to try to pull it back to the nest and more likely to eat the protein.

 

Sugar water is also important, I'm thinking it's about 50-60% of the diet. The way I keep mines, I tend to keep their sugar source low so they'll have more stomach space for protein. Sugar gives them energy, big growth comes from protein. I always have fresh water ready for them, but sugar water, I only give every 2-3 days.

 

Nice thing about roaches is, like with Dubia roaches, there are instars (growth stages of roaches, how big they get after each molt), like when my ants started out, I'd just prekill a 1st instar roach, which matches with how much they're capable of eating within 2 days or so. As a colony of 250~, I know in 2-3 days, they can eat a 2-3 instar dubia roach in that time. I also give them a short half a day break to rest up. I also switch up the protein source so they don't get tired of it as well....along with giving them some variety for the sake of nutrition.

 

Temperature also plays a big role in how much they'll eat, higher heat means higher metabolism. But from this journal, I'm more about slow and steady. Kinda like driving a car IMO, if you drive fast, you gotta watch out more, you're more prone to accidents and you MAY....OR MAY NOT get there faster, risk and reward might not match. So slow and steady, they eat less, you don't have to worry about them as much, etc. I prefer to keep them at 77-78F, tho it sometimes hits 82 for short periods. I don't want them growing faster than they already are haha. Slow is good, less stressful.


Edited by BleepingBleepers, June 30 2024 - 9:10 PM.

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JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE


#118 Offline GOCAMPONOTUS - Posted June 26 2024 - 6:05 PM

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My camponotus don't like mealworms I use fruit flies or you could try crickets/

 

Are you referring to your own CA02 or another Camponotus? Because it's interesting to note and study their food preferences.

 

One other CA02 keeper also had the same experience as me, that they don't like crickets, don't care for fruit flies, like mealworms, got use to roaches and eat them just fine now.

 

Guess your CA02s got use to crickets if that's the case. I tried giving mines cricket 3-4 times, fresh prekilled AND frozen and they turned their heads away from it.

 

I still need to get a new batch of fruit flies to see if Year 2 will show different results as fruit flies are among the top 'vital foods' on the menu.

 

 

 

 

my own Ca02 when they first got workers I tried all three mealworms,fruit flies,And crickets(all separate days) and they preferred fruit flies the most. Their least favs were the mealworms, with crickets in the middle.


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Currently keeping: 2 C.vicinus colonies.2 C.sansabeanus. 1 C.leavissimus. 2 C.Ca02. 1 V.pergandei. 4 T.immigrans.1 F.pacifica. 1 C.hyatti

1 M.ergatognya

 

 

 

 

Trying to get my hands on :C.modoc,A.vercicolor, and Any Honeypots

  

 

 


#119 Offline Ljimmy009 - Posted July 1 2024 - 9:36 AM

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Hey Bleep, TYSM for the answer. I liked your analogy use of driving cars  :D

 

Best of luck to you, too in your antkeeping  B)

 

Also, my ants don't seem to have a problem with sugar as they just give the queen the excess sugar, so the workers don't have any full stomachs. However, what I've seen is they would just stuff the newly born workers with honey, as their exoskeleton are probably still hardening so it's more easy to stretch their stomachs. (I feed them sugar everyday and protein everyday and they seem to always consume the whole crickets and earwigs I give them) So, no matter how many times I feed them, they always finish their food except for their sugar. The bugs always seems to be a dried, empty, and cut up no matter how. Even with 8 workers (A new worker emerged yesterday) they have a huge appetite. Until yesterday, where they stopped eating, probably because I force fed them so much protein they got sick of just earwigs and crickets  %)


Edited by Ljimmy009, July 1 2024 - 9:42 AM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: camponotus, ca02, mini hearth, xl, carpenter, ants, expo, tarheelants, heat cable, tar heel ants, beginner

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