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Crematogaster Founding Outworld

crematogaster outworld founding outworld

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#1 Offline rptraut - Posted June 7 2024 - 12:49 AM

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Hello Everyone;

 

Last month I was able to acquire a Crematogaster cerasi queen that soon produced eggs, larvae and now has seven workers.    I know ANTdrew recommends adding an outworld after four workers, but that was only two days ago.    My question is, how big an outworld should I make for them?   

 

 

IMG_8072.JPG

 

Here are the alternatives I'm thinking about.    On the left is basically a feeding chamber with a sample test tube attached.    I'll probably bury a small bottle or test tube in any of these outworlds for the colony to move into.    This'll make moving them to larger housing later on much easier.     Larger versions on the right would probably include a rock, test tubes or small bottles, or I could just go with a large version right from the start like the one behind.   

 

Maybe all I need at this founding stage is an easy and safe way to feed them, but if I'm going to have to upgrade them within a month I might as well go big right from the start.   Or will they get lost in a big outworld so it's better to start small at the founding stage?     Your advice will be appreciated.

 

RPT


Edited by rptraut, June 7 2024 - 1:12 AM.

My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#2 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted June 7 2024 - 10:02 AM

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On outworld size i believe you kind of can't do it wrong exactly. Free to do whatever you like best  on this front.

 

Too large a nest space can lead to refuse kept in the nest.

However the outworld has no such problems. In the wild their nest space would only be as large as they wanted it to be, but the outside is the outside. You can't give them too much outworld as the open outdoors is their normal outworld.

So give them as much or as little outworld as you feel like.

 

The larger an outworld is, the more likely the illusion of being outside will be convincing to the ants. And they will show you their more natural behaviors then.
But in a smaller and/or lidded(low ventilation) outworld, from the Ant's POV the outworld may just be more nest space to them(how it smells is their main sensory input for this).

 

I noticed major changes in my ants when i went from lidded to open air outworlds with fluon to keep them in.
With lids the ants will make their trash pile as far from the main nest entrance as they can get it.
Without lids, they form a trash pile way closer to their nest entrance. It's "outside" the nest, so once a short ways from the entrance that's good enough, conservation of energy at work.

If i put the lids on, they will move the entire trash pile within 24 hours to the farthest place they can get it from them.

 

outsdie vs inside is a real behavior change, but can only be seen if the illusion of being outside is convincing to them.

 

Also i'd point out if the outworld is attached by a few inches of tube, you can open and clean it without disturbing the nest as much when do so.
And for keeping outworlds clean. If you have two separate outworlds, you can easily block one off, then pooter the ants over to the other one when it's time to clean.

Once the colony was big enough there's no way to vacuum the outworld trash without also getting a bunch of ants. So having two outworlds i could move ants between for cleanings, made things a lot easier.


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#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 7 2024 - 11:56 AM

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They certainly will not get lost in a big outworld. Those smaller outworlds will be overwhelmed with escape crazed workers in a matter of weeks. I say go with the biggest one.
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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.

#4 Offline Stubyvast - Posted June 7 2024 - 3:47 PM

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Yes I agree, as I'm pretty sure crematogaster are very much escape artists, from what I've heard. And plus, a nice big outworld allows you to observe the ants a lot better too, and you have the option of decorating the outworld with whatever you want! 


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Currently raising: 

Myrmica Rubra

Camponotus Modoc

Lasius Niger

Formica Obscuripes + Formica Pacifica Host 

"In many environments, take away the ants and there would be partial collapses in many of the land ecosystems."

- E. O. Wilson

 

 


#5 Offline rptraut - Posted June 8 2024 - 12:56 AM

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Thanks very much for all the great advice.     

 

I realized today that the next time I take the stopper out of their test tube, I'll have to be prepared to do something with them.   The queen has her egg and larvae pile under the tray I used to feed them, making it impossible to get it out without every worker escaping out of the tube.   Now they're hungry, so even worse.   

 

I'm making them a "Tubes and Cubes" setup where I place test tubes for them to nest in and on the other side is an outworld for feeding.   Pictured below is a setup I made for a Lasius neoniger colony.   I'll add on additional units as the colony grows, but I'll keep it pruned to a manageable size, much like I do with my Tetramorium colonies.

 

IMG_8075.JPG

 

It's easy to add additional units to this setup as the colony grows and dedicate a purpose to each like protein feeding or liquids feeding.  

 

Thanks again for all your help, I'll see how this goes.

RPT


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My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#6 Offline Mushu - Posted June 10 2024 - 11:38 PM

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 I agree with everyone, go for the bigger outworld, you can always put the food closer to the entrance, until you feel like making them *work* for their food by placing if further. 



#7 Offline rptraut - Posted June 12 2024 - 9:26 PM

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Update 12JN24 

 

I built a combination nest and outworld for this colony as, first and foremost, I want to provide them with a nest they can move into from the test tube.   There's a lot of "real estate" for them to explore as they grow larger and when they're ready, I'll add another compartment which will also include something like liquids feeding and/or protein feeding to increase their outworld.   Additional compartments can be added as the colony grows and each can have a specific purpose.   

 

 

 

IMG_8077.JPG

 

The front view of the formicarium shows the granite rock at the center that takes up close to 2/3 of the container.   Moss covers the back part of the rock and covers the sphagnum moss packing below.   The feeding station is at the left bottom, close to the connector where I joined the test tube so finding food and water will be easy for the young colony.   

 

The lid has a lever action handle that draws the rubber seals up tight against the sides when closed and the screens are 100 mesh stainless steel.   

 

 

 

IMG_8079.JPG

 

In this rear view you can see the glass bottles that I have embedded in sphagnum moss between the rock and the wall (sorry about the crap focus).   Each bottle top has an access hole drilled in it and another bottle can still be added at the top by removing some of the moss and adding the bottle under the green moss.    

 

In the bottom left corner is the hydration sponge.    This is the second formicarium I've made where I used a sponge instead of a water tower.    I cast it into the grout as I'm forming it and leave a low area for overflow which goes out front to a small oasis in the front right corner.  I hydrate the sponge through the tube that fills from the front.    In the other version where I've used the sponge, the Lasius colony is raising their larvae right on top of the sponge, perfect for viewing.    

 

 

 

IMG_8078.JPG

 

  

The view from the back with the blackout cover in place.    Does anyone know if a red filter will work for Crematogaster or are they pretty relaxed about light in the nest without it?

 

I cooled the ants in the fridge before connecting them, so all went smoothly, and I'm pleased to report that after a couple of days the nanitics have found the food and water and seem to be settling in without any difficulty.   I have them on heat, so here we go!

 

 

My Journals  

 

I've found it difficult to maintain my journals consistently, so I'm going to amalgamate them into one Journal, "RPT's Ant Keeping Journal", where I'll discuss the development of all my colonies.   Anyone with questions can ask them in one place.   

 

Are video journals something that interest people?    I can post them on my YouTube channel, they won't be pretty, I don't have a video editing program and I have to focus by hand, but I'd like to try one and see what you think.    

 

RPT

 

 

 

 


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My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted Yesterday, 2:37 AM

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That will work well. Crematogaster do not mind light in the least, so you can leave them uncovered.
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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.





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