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(A Beginning Antkeeper's) Journey of a Solenopsis Queen

solenopsisfire ant beginner queen new the_gaming-gate first colony advice needed advice

82 replies to this topic

#1 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 8 2024 - 4:39 PM

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NOTE THAT THIS QUEEN HAS DIED. TO SEE MY NEWEST INVICTA QUEEN AND HER WORKERS, "QUEEN FIRESTORM," GO TO PAGE TWO.

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, I caught a fire ant queen (suspected Solenopsis Invicta.) It would be my first time seriously trying ant keeping, but I thought it would be a fun learning experience.

Fast forward to now, she's still alive in her test tube, and has created a large burrow in her water blocker thing. She stays in here all of the time, and it prevents me from getting any good pictures, as she is always in there, and even when she leaves, if I turn on a light around her, she runs into the tunnel. (Will get pictures eventually, promise!) I suspect the queen has her eggs in there, but since I can't prove this without removing the queen from the test tube and disturbing her, I simply brood boosted her. (Also gave the queen some Lasius brood as a snack, but I know that at least half of the brood in there is from fire ants.)

Any suggestions regarding her care would be very helpful, as this is again, my first time trying to start up a colony, especially with ants like these, I'll need some help. For reference, she's in a test tube as of now, and has been there for about 2 weeks. She has 5 - 6 larvae, and at least one pupa (I know for a fact the pupa is a fire ant)

Signing off.





Edit: I found one of my old pictures from when I first caught the queen. It has horrible camera quality, however. (The queen barely looks like a fire ant in it!)

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Edited by The_Gaming-gate, April 2 2024 - 2:34 PM.

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

 

 

 


#2 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 8 2024 - 6:38 PM

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Just wait once she has workers, and then you can start to feed her colony. Make sure your starting with a very small quantity though, and then bumping up the food quantity (making it larger) as they grow.

Keeping:

3x - S. molesta 

1x - C. chromaiodes

2x - F. pallidefulva

2x - C. cerasi

1x - B. depilis

2x P. imparis (colonies) 3x P. imparis queens (1x queen in test tube, 3x queens in test tube, and 6x queens in another test tube. Can't wait to see the results!)

 

Check out my C. chromaiodes journal here: https://www.formicul...aiodes-journal/


#3 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 9 2024 - 5:10 AM

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Got it! I have plenty of food for her, once nanitics arrive.

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

 

 

 


#4 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 10 2024 - 5:13 AM

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It’s a bad photo, but it isn’t terrible. There are still some features in it that make it look like S. invicta. Try taking the photo in light though.

Keeping:

3x - S. molesta 

1x - C. chromaiodes

2x - F. pallidefulva

2x - C. cerasi

1x - B. depilis

2x P. imparis (colonies) 3x P. imparis queens (1x queen in test tube, 3x queens in test tube, and 6x queens in another test tube. Can't wait to see the results!)

 

Check out my C. chromaiodes journal here: https://www.formicul...aiodes-journal/


#5 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 12 2024 - 12:06 PM

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It’s a bad photo, but it isn’t terrible. There are still some features in it that make it look like S. invicta. Try taking the photo in light though.

Got it.


Edited by The_Gaming-gate, February 15 2024 - 3:54 PM.

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

 

 

 


#6 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 15 2024 - 3:42 PM

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UPDATE, 2/15/24

 

 

Queen is still alive, and seems to have finished work on her burrow. The brood died, as it seems the queen didn't care for them. This is my error, introducing a clutch of brood spanning two species likely confused the queen. I was so worried about the workers accepting the queen, that I didn't factor if the queen would accept the brood. I'm planning to give her a clutch that is ONLY Solenopsis. I think I really startled the queen, as she tried to escape by digging at the top of the tube, I feel bad for her, I wonder if she's better off living in some guy's backyard.

 

 

[Edit]: I guess I'll keep trying, as it's a bit too late and I already have the invasive queen ant. Fire ants live everywhere in Florida, I'll be able to find some pupae for her. I just want to say to the queen (as AntsCanada has proven by talking to trees, talking to the wildlife is useless.) I'm sorry, little queen, if I really am ruining your life. I'll start your empire somehow, I promise, that until you die, I'll keep trying to help you. Just hold on


Edited by The_Gaming-gate, February 15 2024 - 3:49 PM.

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

 

 

 


#7 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 15 2024 - 5:54 PM

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Try and feed her (honey or protein) That might help her lose some of that stress. Good luck! I know that queen of yours will survive.

Keeping:

3x - S. molesta 

1x - C. chromaiodes

2x - F. pallidefulva

2x - C. cerasi

1x - B. depilis

2x P. imparis (colonies) 3x P. imparis queens (1x queen in test tube, 3x queens in test tube, and 6x queens in another test tube. Can't wait to see the results!)

 

Check out my C. chromaiodes journal here: https://www.formicul...aiodes-journal/


#8 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 17 2024 - 5:43 AM

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Update 2/17/24: "Second Chances"

 

 

I made a new test tube setup (with 100% less dead Lasius brood.) threw in a few extra larvae to help out the queen and let her move herself and anything else she wanted to bring into the tube. She really likes this one and seems to feel much safer. Now that the clutch only has fire ant brood, she started to clean it, and organize the brood into a pile. Even better, one of the pupae are eclosing! It's turning a bit yellow, so I am hoping later this weekend she'll have her first nanitic. The thing worrying me is that some of the extra larvae I found for her are very big, and I'm scared they'll just hatch into alates, but with the queen's wing muscle food, they could just end up as majors, or large workers, so I'm going to keep them in there. Now for what you were waiting for, pictures!

mgQFnvOelGeusMxAHGp761hOi3nBVy2kF7ITmXVe
Queen when first introduced to new test tube set up.
 
 
 xihBFsGyTjEuw1Ecg_AQ8arE-S24yA2zqkTGX8LM
(Blurry) Inside the test tube; brood pile and queen. Low resolution, but golden worker pupa visible near center.
 
 
 
 
I'm excited for the new era of this queen! I've ordered a starter formicarium for when enough workers arrive, and I'm really happy for the queen! I won't give up on her. 

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

 

 

 


#9 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 17 2024 - 6:40 AM

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Well, as in majors; I’m not so sure. The queens wing muscle storage is much less weaker than you think. This depends of the species of course. For larger species like Camponotus, the queens wing muscle storage will be much more powerful. She’ll be able to feed at least four, or eight nanitics (depends on her starting clutch size in her founding stage). But for Solonopsis, from what I’ve seen with my many S. molesta, their wing muscle storage isn’t as much, and they can only feed about 1-2/3 of their clutch, meaning that you have to feed them pretty early if want to raise them successfully; especially under heat. On the other hand, you said that they were likely going to be alates, which I’m positive, a sure that they are. Don’t touch that brood and leave it alone. This is because when the nanitics raise it, depending on which colony the nanitics were taken from (like the same colony with the large brood you were talking about) they will raise it to much, and too far; giving all resources to that larva, or brood (whether it’s male or female).

Also, do you mind sharing what kind of nest you got. Just curious. Good luck once again!

Keeping:

3x - S. molesta 

1x - C. chromaiodes

2x - F. pallidefulva

2x - C. cerasi

1x - B. depilis

2x P. imparis (colonies) 3x P. imparis queens (1x queen in test tube, 3x queens in test tube, and 6x queens in another test tube. Can't wait to see the results!)

 

Check out my C. chromaiodes journal here: https://www.formicul...aiodes-journal/


#10 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 18 2024 - 10:04 AM

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Well, as in majors; I’m not so sure. The queens wing muscle storage is much less weaker than you think. This depends of the species of course. For larger species like Camponotus, the queens wing muscle storage will be much more powerful. She’ll be able to feed at least four, or eight nanitics (depends on her starting clutch size in her founding stage). But for Solonopsis, from what I’ve seen with my many S. molesta, their wing muscle storage isn’t as much, and they can only feed about 1-2/3 of their clutch, meaning that you have to feed them pretty early if want to raise them successfully; especially under heat. On the other hand, you said that they were likely going to be alates, which I’m positive, a sure that they are. Don’t touch that brood and leave it alone. This is because when the nanitics raise it, depending on which colony the nanitics were taken from (like the same colony with the large brood you were talking about) they will raise it to much, and too far; giving all resources to that larva, or brood (whether it’s male or female).

Also, do you mind sharing what kind of nest you got. Just curious. Good luck once again!

The nest I got is from PAEOUT on amazon, it's the one that comes with the activity box. When shipped, the name on the package is "Ants Footsteps."


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

 

 

 


#11 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 18 2024 - 10:30 AM

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Ok, that should be good enough for them once three reach about 15-30 workers. But depending on how many workers there are once you introduce them, you might want to block off the other chambers with cotton (besides the one that leads to the entrance).

Keeping:

3x - S. molesta 

1x - C. chromaiodes

2x - F. pallidefulva

2x - C. cerasi

1x - B. depilis

2x P. imparis (colonies) 3x P. imparis queens (1x queen in test tube, 3x queens in test tube, and 6x queens in another test tube. Can't wait to see the results!)

 

Check out my C. chromaiodes journal here: https://www.formicul...aiodes-journal/


#12 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 18 2024 - 2:13 PM

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Try and feed her (honey or protein) That might help her lose some of that stress. Good luck! I know that queen of yours will survive.

I took your advice and fed the queen some honey today. She inspected it but went back to cleaning her larvae.


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

 

 

 


#13 Offline JesseTheAntKid - Posted February 18 2024 - 2:16 PM

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Hm. Are you sure this is Solenopsis invicta? It looks a little too... Stout. 


Currently keeping: Pheidole obscurithorax (FINALLY I CAN STUDY THEM AND HAVE THEIR COOL MAJORS  B)), Tetramorium bicarinatum, Solenopsis spp. (probably xyloni, the queens are tiny hehe)

Wanting: Atta texana, Camponotus planatus (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HOOK ME UP WITH ATTA)

Previously kept: Monomorium minimum, Pheidole dentata

 

"ATTAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!" -Me

"AAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -Even more me

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"- Me personified


#14 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 18 2024 - 3:05 PM

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Hm. Are you sure this is Solenopsis invicta? It looks a little too... Stout. 

I'm pretty sure, she looks similar to other invicta queens in light, and she actively queens and defends S. invicta brood. I am a beginner, though. (And that is the exact reason why I shouldn't keep fire ants)


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

 

 

 


#15 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 18 2024 - 3:23 PM

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Server lag, accidental double post


Edited by The_Gaming-gate, February 18 2024 - 3:24 PM.

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

 

 

 


#16 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted February 29 2024 - 4:46 PM

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"An Update in Which the Queen Decides to Seriously Annoy Me."

 

 

 

 

Queen decided to not clean her tube at all, resulting in fatal mold growth. I was able to rescue her but the brood did not make it, meaning she'll have to start from scratch. On a better note, I caught many alates today, which I paired with males in their tube. I did forget to take pictures, but they wouldn't have been too eventful, just disgusting. This is quite a short update, but I didn't expect to be writing right now. (Originally just going to do maintenance on her majesty when I noticed mold.)


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

 

 

 


#17 Offline Rrar - Posted February 29 2024 - 5:30 PM

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Also, a disclaimer: Solenopsis invicta is NOT for beginners. I suppose you could try, but if the queen really is Solenopsis, I suspect you would have a tough time later on.


canada = boring!!!!!

I want attaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!

also: Camponotus ca02 ( probably not possible though)


#18 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted March 1 2024 - 1:07 PM

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Also, a disclaimer: Solenopsis invicta is NOT for beginners. I suppose you could try, but if the queen really is Solenopsis, I suspect you would have a tough time later on.

I mean you do have a point, but I keep S. molesta (yes I know that they are completely different in size and in monomorphic terms) but I’m fine with them. The only thing I’m not liking is the fact that they don’t have majors, and their size… Overall, their sting probably doesn’t really hurt, and probably just matches the pain of a T. immigrans worker (I’ve been stung before).

Keeping:

3x - S. molesta 

1x - C. chromaiodes

2x - F. pallidefulva

2x - C. cerasi

1x - B. depilis

2x P. imparis (colonies) 3x P. imparis queens (1x queen in test tube, 3x queens in test tube, and 6x queens in another test tube. Can't wait to see the results!)

 

Check out my C. chromaiodes journal here: https://www.formicul...aiodes-journal/


#19 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted March 4 2024 - 12:18 PM

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Also, a disclaimer: Solenopsis invicta is NOT for beginners. I suppose you could try, but if the queen really is Solenopsis, I suspect you would have a tough time later on.




I am definitely aware of this, thanks. I already have some rubbing alcohol and vaseline to prevent escapes, and all the sweets they could want. Protein will be coming soon.
  • Artisan_Ants likes this

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

 

 

 


#20 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted March 6 2024 - 5:34 PM

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I'm not going to count this as an update, but one of the queen/alates I caught did die, along with the males in the tube. The other queen is still alive, and seems healthier, possibly more than when I caught her. I'll be calling her the AC queen for now, after the AntsCanada test tube she's in. I'll refer to the original queen as the jumbo queen, since she is in a large test tube.


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

 

 

 






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