I have roughly 40 Lasius neoniger queens. I am going to be doing a variety of tests on them. For example housing, feeding, hibernation, brood boosting, etc. My first test was housing. This isn't completely foolproof as I still had to hydrate the queens with formicariums, thus they were inevitably disturbed. Here are my findings.
Test tubes- Queens in test tubes had an average growth rate. I took the queens out all at the same time. Most of the queens have larvae. I noticed that many in test tubes looked comparatively lethargic, however it might be due to their lack of ability to climb glass/plastic well.
Formicariums- I had one queen in a THA atom and one in a Byformica Grotube. Keep in mind the one in the Grotube might not be Lasius neoniger, thus not making it a reliable example. The one in the Grotube has very small larvae, while the one in the atom has a small brood pile and no larvae. This is the old atom without nest mates. These surprisingly had an average to low average growth rate. I believe that this is because of the need to fill them with water, thus disturbing them, or perhaps my impatiently checking up on them.
Dirt- I out 3-4 queens in dirt test tubes and containers. I was very surprised with the results. The ones in the dirt test tubes with cotton barrier would dry out faster than the ones that had a plastic container with a plastic lid and how's poked in the lid. I used Eco-earth as my dirt. The ones in the test tubes have tunneled away from the side, so I will have to dig them up later, however the one in the plastic container kept part uncovered. Surprisingly, she has many large larvae and pupae, the only pupae observed so far.
In conclusion: I found that, so far, dirt setups are the best for getting the best results or getting a quick start to a queen. I am not sure if that is new info, or if I'm just stating old facts, but it gives me a lot incentive to use dirt in my test tubes. If the result is a faster growing, healthier colony, then I think that is the way to go for the founding stage. I am going to do some experiments later regarding this. Perhaps I might experiment on whole dirt formicariums vs formicariums with a bit of substrate.
Keep this in mind if you want to obtain the best results on hard to start so. Such as Myrmecocystus. Obviously, the results will not be the same, but perhaps similar.
Edited by Ants4fun, March 4 2016 - 2:40 PM.