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Formica montana (Large Photos & Updates) by FormiCanada

formica montana journal antkeeping formicanada antsnational

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#1 Offline FormiCanada - Posted February 6 2024 - 9:48 AM

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Hi all,

 

 

It's been a long long time since I've kept any active journals on any of my personal colonies. This colony of Formica montana was purchased by one of my FC colleagues two years ago at an expo. On first glance, they're smaller than most Formica that I've seen here in Ontario. They're about half-to-a-third of the size of Formica subsericea workers. Where they lack in size though, they make up for in tenacity.  The colony itself is at around 200 workers and has lots of room to grow. Like most other Formica, they tend to customize their nest with excess dirt for reshaping chambers & tunnels for added humidity. The formicarium used for this colony is a Pro-Series II with a basic round foraging arena. 

 

I've kept this colony for approximately 6 months now and I absolutely love them.

 

 

Escape Prevention Measures:

 

I've noted that these ants are some of the fastest ants so good escape-prevention is recommended. What I use is PTFE spray in the form of WD-40. I use this for all of my ants and it works perfectly, is cost-effective and a can lasts forever. Where I've seen people saying that WD40 kills ants, I've yet to see a single ant die from it in the past 5 years that I've been using it. I simply spray a little on a piece of paper towel and then wipe the top inside 1" of the foraging arena. I then follow up with a second wipe to remove any excess and drips. I leave the container open for a minute and then close it. I'm unsure what others may be using but I have never experienced any deaths or issues whatsoever. The active and main ingredient in WD40 is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE), which is also what Fluon is. I'm no chemist, but I do notice they cannot climb it. 

 

 

Husbandry & Feeding Schedule:

 

These ants are really interesting in their activity to remove soil & debris from their territory. What I've noticed is that they will clear out everything around the outside of the nest & bring it inside to formulate their own tunnels and chambers. The added substrate in the nest helps increase humidity and possibly insulation, which is why I think they do this. I keep my formicariums at varying levels of humidity and for these ants, I keep the nest at around 75% humidity. They love it. As you can see, there's tons of brood in all varying stages. 

 

The ants also are voracious when it comes to food and will take in as much sugar-water and prey as possible. Prey food I use for these ants:

 

- House Crickets

- Mealworm / Superworm

- Wax Worm

- Butter Worm

 

The method that I use to prepare prey is boiling water & dropping the prey food in it. Not only do I feel that it instantly kills them and saves them from a painful, prolonged ant death, it also kills off all potentially harmful Acarus mites. I then mix the prey food into a small cup of sugar water, which is also made from boiled water, granulated sugar, teaspoon of raw fruit juice (citrus is excellent for repeling mites if you have that issue) &  half a drop of blue food coloring. I normally remove any food that has been left over after 2 days, but with these ants, there's never any left-overs!

 

A colony of this size takes in approximately 2-3 medium-sized crickets per feeding, and I feed them 2-3 times per week. I use blue food coloring because it helps me see who's eating and who isn't.

 

 

Updates:

 

Although it's only February, these ants were put in early hibernation nearing the end of September. Generally, the rule of thumb in my experience is 4 months of hibernation. These girls had around 5 months and now they've gone into production overdrive. I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress this year. The first callows of the year have emerged and there's huge mass of eggs larger than the queen, along with tons of larvae and pupae. 

 

I only view these ants in the process of redlighting

 

You can find info on redlighting and more in my "Tips & Tricks to Antkeeping" in my FormiCanada Subforum.

https://www.formiculture.com/topic/20925-tips-tricks-to-antkeeping/ 

 

 

 

Until the next update,

 

FormiCanada,

Ants National Team (A.N.T) & A Cultured Legacy Productions

Attached Images

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Edited by FormiCanada, February 20 2024 - 8:53 AM.

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#2 Offline UtahAnts - Posted February 6 2024 - 10:49 AM

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Cool pictures and setup! F. montana look very similar to Formica neorufibarbis as seen below - I often confuse the two. I documented a colony for a few years in this journal. While I don't usually use the "red-lighting" technique, these ants in particular do seem to appreciate it. Great colony you got there, will be following!

 

 

gallery_5683_2157_8601.jpeg


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Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

DIY Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Honeypot Ant Journal --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#3 Offline FormiCanada - Posted February 6 2024 - 11:28 AM

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Cool pictures and setup! F. montana look very similar to Formica neorufibarbis as seen below - I often confuse the two. I documented a colony for a few years in this journal. While I don't usually use the "red-lighting" technique, these ants in particular do seem to appreciate it. Great colony you got there, will be following!

 

 

attachicon.gifgallery_5683_2157_8601.jpeg

 

 

Thanks UtahAnts, I just went through your journal and I love it. The queens look very similar, I'll try to catch a photo of the workers on a better camera. Is there anything you'd like me to get a closer look at and take a photo of specifically to discern a proper ID?

 

Cheers!



#4 Offline BleepingBleepers - Posted February 6 2024 - 11:44 AM

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Already loving the way you're starting the journal, the format is pleasing to the eyes and I love the pictures you posted up there.

 

Awaiting some cool future updates from you!  ;) 


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

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


#5 Offline FormiCanada - Posted February 6 2024 - 12:31 PM

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Already loving the way you're starting the journal, the format is pleasing to the eyes and I love the pictures you posted up there.

 

Awaiting some cool future updates from you!  ;)

 

 

Thankyou kindly Bleepingbleepers!

 

I will be posting more Journals in the coming few days so expect frequent updates ! I love the Comic Sans MS font & I feel like it's important to make journal entries easy-reading for all members! Cheers!


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#6 Offline FormiCanada - Posted February 21 2024 - 8:10 AM

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It's business as usual for this colony as we swing into the deeper days of February. Although the temperatures outside here in the GTA are fluctuating drastically, the colony is kept warm and cozy, enjoying the earlier exit from diapause. Where there's a colony of Formica, there's always action

 

It's been approximately just under four weeks since they were initially taken out of hibernation and just over 2 weeks and these ants haven't missed a beat. They've been consuming everything in their path and they're poised for a big growth spurt. The colony currently sits at around 200 individuals but they're about to add another 50-75 individuals to that on pupae alone. The mass of larvae number too much to count, but there's at least 150 final-instar larvae. The ants have been diligently feeding them on a diet of superworm quarters saturated in blue sugarwater. There's a mass of eggs that's larger than the size of the queen herself. 

 

I call this an ant superfood, as it gives the ants sugars, vitamins, water and the necessary proteins to really optimize growth. They also never leave anything behind except the husk which tells me that they love it. The microorganisms take care of the rest. 

 

I hydrate the nest around once a week, but it's retaining very well and I haven't had to top it off for the last ten days. This most recent model I've made has really exceeded my own expectations. I'll make a post regarding these formicariums when I find the time to take some proper photos. 

 

 

Enjoy the colony photos & feel free to ask any questions! 

 

 

 

Until the next update,

 

FormiCanada,

Ants National Team (A.N.T) & A Cultured Legacy Productions

Attached Images

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#7 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted March 19 2024 - 8:10 AM

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Some stunning ants you’ve got there!

A question about using WD-40 as a barrier, would you suggest letting the fumes air out before allowing ants into the space, and if so, how long?

Ants are small creatures... but together... they can rule the world.

 

 

 






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