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Need advice! Dry loving Camponotus in Tarheel Mini Hearth


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#1 Offline Ernteameise - Posted March 29 2024 - 2:18 AM

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I have a question for all you experts on here. I am still kind of new to this.
So I have two mini hearths and I have two different ant species in there, Lasius niger (which is the common garden ant) and Camponotus piceus (which is from Southern Europe and lives in DRY habitats).
They use the nest space in the mini hearths completely different. Lasius sits on top of the water tower, Camponotus as far away from it as possible.
For dry loving Camponotus- is it actually necessary to fill up the water towers? I have heard they can moisten their nest themselves and there is plenty of water offered in a test tube for them.
So should I refill the water tower of Camponotus piceus when it has evaporated?
 
How are the people on here caring for different Camponotus species handle this?
 
Lasius sitting on top of the water tower:
 
2803_Lasius_mit_Brut.jpg
 
Camponotus piceus sitting as far away from water tower as possible:
 
2803_Camponotus_mit_Brut.jpg
 
The nests are these versions:
 
Mini_Hearths.jpg
 

 


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#2 Offline futurebird - Posted March 29 2024 - 3:44 AM

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I do not put water in my Camponotus pennsylvanicus and Camponotus Discolor at all. If they have access to water in their outworld through a test tube with water or a water feeder they are less likely to need a water source in their nest. Your careful observations of how your ants are reacting to the gradient you have offered them is the right way to go IMO. Try only filling the water tower 1/4 full for a bit and offer them a test tube with water in the outworld (or a quality water feeder) It's important that the water source in their outworld is useable by the ants  (some feeders don't work for some species of ants, I think the idea of hydrating nests came about due to too many keepers killing their colonies by having water feeders that just didn't work reliably and consistently-- many ants are fine with a dry nest... provided they can collect water at all times) So it should be not something that can clog, or flood or break. I'm pretty picky about water feeders and only really like ByFormica's products OR a test tube filled with water and blocked with cotton. There are a few other water feeders that I can get to work by modifying them, adding cotton, or a screen in some cases, but many off the shelf feeders just don't work well out of the box. 

 

The downside to offering a test tube is they may choose to move in to it if the colony is small. But that would also be the ants telling you something about their needs. (that they prefer a test tube to the nest.)

 

I like to offer a test tube almost as a back up. Test tubes with cotton are very reliable and it's hard to go wrong. 

 

Another factor in they way they are clustered may be light. Lasius are not very light sensitive and have very poor eyesight and small eyes. Carpenter ants have better (but still not great) eyesight but can be very sensitive to light. They may be in that location because it's darkest? This would depend on your lighting. Do you keep your nests covered or are they always exposed to light when the lights are on in the room?

 

Beautiful colonies and photos!


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If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#3 Offline Ernteameise - Posted March 29 2024 - 4:07 AM

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I do not put water in my Camponotus pennsylvanicus and Camponotus Discolor at all. If they have access to water in their outworld through a test tube with water or a water feeder they are less likely to need a water source in their nest. Your careful observations of how your ants are reacting to the gradient you have offered them is the right way to go IMO. Try only filling the water tower 1/4 full for a bit and offer them a test tube with water in the outworld (or a quality water feeder) It's important that the water source in their outworld is useable by the ants  (some feeders don't work for some species of ants, I think the idea of hydrating nests came about due to too many keepers killing their colonies by having water feeders that just didn't work reliably and consistently-- many ants are fine with a dry nest... provided they can collect water at all times) So it should be not something that can clog, or flood or break. I'm pretty picky about water feeders and only really like ByFormica's products OR a test tube filled with water and blocked with cotton. There are a few other water feeders that I can get to work by modifying them, adding cotton, or a screen in some cases, but many off the shelf feeders just don't work well out of the box. 

 

The downside to offering a test tube is they may choose to move in to it if the colony is small. But that would also be the ants telling you something about their needs. (that they prefer a test tube to the nest.)

 

I like to offer a test tube almost as a back up. Test tubes with cotton are very reliable and it's hard to go wrong. 

 

Another factor in they way they are clustered may be light. Lasius are not very light sensitive and have very poor eyesight and small eyes. Carpenter ants have better (but still not great) eyesight but can be very sensitive to light. They may be in that location because it's darkest? This would depend on your lighting. Do you keep your nests covered or are they always exposed to light when the lights are on in the room?

 

Beautiful colonies and photos!

Thank you for your input!

This is very valuable!

This is what I thought, when the water has evaporated, I will see how they go and will not refill it (except if they respond with unhealthy behaviour).

 

I have test tubes in the small outworlds, I also think they are the most reliable. The colony has not made any move to move back into the test tube, so this appears to be okay. In any case, I have a selection of ByFormica water-feeders on hand, should the need arise. I also think the ByFormica ones are the best, I tried several different brands so far.

 

This is how the setup looks like (picture taken after I put the colony in, they moved into the nest below in just 30mins):

 

Neues_Nest_Camponotus.jpg

 

2803_Camponotus_foragers2.jpg

 

Edit:

And yes, the nests are covered with a red cover, and the shelf they are on are in a darker corner of my living room, where direct sunlight does not reach.

 

Mini_Hearths2.jpg


Edited by Ernteameise, March 29 2024 - 4:10 AM.

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#4 Offline GOCAMPONOTUS - Posted March 29 2024 - 6:42 AM

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I would keep the test tubes in the outworld and water the tower 1/4 of the way as they are already getting water from the tube.


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Currently keeping
1.Camponotus vicinus. 5 workers
2.Camponotus modoc. 5 workers
3. Camponotus hyatti. 1 worker
4.Veromessor pergandei. founding
5 Linepithema humile. 70-100 workers 5 queens
6. Pheidole Californica. 65 workers

I want: Atta,Myrmecia,Myrmica,Myrmecocystus

#5 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted March 29 2024 - 6:53 AM

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My Camponotus don’t mind the humidity at all. I keep them heated with a lamp, and it forms humidity inside which they don’t even bother about. Otherwise I fill the water tank with water about 1/2 way up. And heat can also vary. Let’s say that your Camps are away from the water tank; that usually means that there is more heat over there (and of course; Camponotus species love heat. If near the water tank side, then that’s where there is more heat (so yes If they like heat then they prefer their nest dry; but that doesn’t mean that they dislike humidity at all. You just shouldn’t keep their nests humid all the time).

Edited by Artisan_Ants, March 29 2024 - 6:53 AM.

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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/


#6 Offline ZTYguy - Posted March 29 2024 - 7:40 AM

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I would run a little experiment, I would move the heating element around to see if the real issue is actually humidity or heat. Try placing it right next to the back of the nest where the water tower is. If they simply only care about heat they will gladly move on top of the water tower, if they have some qualms with nesting near higher humidity then they will find the warmest spot that is adjacent to the water tower.

If you do not want to go through that, I would simply let the tower drain down and only refill it to a max of 1/4, if you give them a constant supply of liquid carbohydrates (ie. nectar, sugar water) then they should be 100% fine.
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Ant Keeping Since June 2018
Currently Keeping:
A. versicolor, C. us-ca02, C. yogi, C. Vicinus, C. laevigatus, C. clarithorax, C. maritimus, C. ocreatus, M. mexicanus, M. placodops 01, V. andrei, V. pergandei, N. cockerelli, P. barbata, P. montanus

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M. romanei, M. placodops 02, P. imberbiculus, Polyergus sp., F. moki, A. megomatta, Cyphomyrmex sp.,Temnothorax sp.


#7 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 1 2024 - 6:12 AM

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Well, after I fixed the heat cable to the back of the nest, this is what happened:

 

0104-Camponotus2.jpg

 

So apparently, they like the water tower after all.


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