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Skocko76's Lasius niger journal

journal lasius niger

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#1 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 5 2017 - 2:08 AM

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The journal of my two Lasius niger colonies, bought from AntKit.

First colony arrived a month earlier than the second. It had 5-6 workers that quickly multiplied to more than 10.

Unfortunately, 3-4 ants got drowned in honey, and even though I revived them using damp paper towel, they did not last long.

Some kind of filth broke out on cotton in their tube and it seems they are not thriving. They count 10-11 workers at the moment.

I am in process of moving them from the dirty test tube into a small acrylic formicarium. I am testing a theory of initiating a move by gradually increasing the incline of the test tube. 

 

The second colony arrived with brood only, and already is the same size as the fist one. I am keeping it on a dark shelf, in a test tube setup. A small outworld is attached by a rubber tube. 

 

Both colonies get fed once a week, an insect (grasshopper or similar) and a cotton bud dipped in sugar-water or honey-water.

In case of lack insects, they get a small blob of AntKit protein jelly.

 

IMG 20170903 175353

 


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#2 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 11 2017 - 12:10 AM

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This colony has been a subject of an experiment described here:  http://www.formicult...it-work-though/

Thus the test-tube incline in the picture. So this colony is on it's way to be moved into a formicarium.

In  the past couple of days, the color of the water went from yellowish to reddish. It's probably bacteria and the colony should be moved in near future.

What I would like to know, is how urgently I should move the colony. In other words, how dangerous are the bacteria in the water to the ants?

 

IMG 20170911 100347

 



#3 Offline lucas3431 - Posted September 11 2017 - 12:04 PM

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I wasn't going to logon today but after seeing your picture....that's a threat to the colony, not just by bacteria but by the degrading of the cotton wool, that in turn could flood the colony, the bacteria could infect the larvae or any naked pupa.

 

If I was in your position I would  remove the colony asap. 



#4 Offline GeorgeK - Posted September 11 2017 - 12:13 PM

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I had test tube cotton turn pinkish like your water in the picture, and water soon followed the color, and i moved them very same day, i believe it is bacteria in water, anyways, just move them to next test tube and they should be fine


Edited by GeorgeK, September 11 2017 - 12:15 PM.


#5 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 12 2017 - 11:45 AM

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Thanks lucas3431, GeorgeK!

I moved them to the formicarum they were connected to. They didn't want to move on their own, so they got a bit of tough love...

Interestingly enough, the pink water did not stink...


Edited by skocko76, September 12 2017 - 11:47 AM.

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#6 Offline lucas3431 - Posted September 12 2017 - 11:56 AM

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Thanks lucas3431, GeorgeK!

I moved them to the formicarum they were connected to. They didn't want to move on their own, so they got a bit of tough love...

Interestingly enough, the pink water did not stink...

No problem at all :).

 

Hope the move went well, it can be stressful for both you and the colony, I've done it already with my own Lasius niger Queen and brood, you have to have steady hands haha.



#7 Offline skocko76 - Posted October 10 2017 - 10:25 AM

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The colony in the formicarium is well. They have grown to the size of 20.

The second, faster growing colony got their formicarium as well. Unfortunately, something went wrong and two days after the move I saw first deaths.

The ants were lethargic, not caring for brood, not reacting properly to stimuli, some twitching on their backs.

In 48 hrs all of the workers were dead or incapacitated. I moved the queen to a test tube setup and resuscitated 7-8 workers with a damp cotton ball.

Some of the recovered ones were stuck in a drop of water clinging to the side of the container; The drop turned yellowish.

I don't know whether something was washed off of them, or if they puked/defecated, but I'm glad they are back on their feet.

They are still lethargic, but I have high hopes they'll recover. If they don't, the queen will be in trouble.

I was thinking of brood boosting the queen with pupae from the 1st colony, but I cannot reach the brood chamber.

Also, I did a stupid thing: believing I have lost the colony, I took eggs and larvae (there were no pupae) and put them into the other colony.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I hope I did not transfer any poison with them. I believed they were dying of stress at the time.

Anyway, the lady who made the formicarium seems honest and knowledgable, so probably something happened in the mail, got sprayed or something similar. 

She has made such items before and never had issues with the materials used.

Here are a couple of pics & videos:

IMG 20171007 183037
IMG 20171007 182938

 

I ended up disassembling the formicarum, washing it with soap and water. After rinsing thoroughly, I put it back together.

It has a substantial advantage over the formicarum in use, and that is constant hydration sponge and water tower.

It would mean a lot to me over the hibernation period as I wouldn't have to moisten the sponge every couple of days.

So I decided to connect a tube between the two, and allow the first colony to explore it, under my vigilant eye.

If I were to stop moistening the sponge in the occupied formicarium, do you thing they would move before the brood dries out?

Or is it too risky this close to hibernation period?


Edited by skocko76, October 10 2017 - 10:35 AM.


#8 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 15 2018 - 12:35 PM

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All of the workers died in the end, the queen also.  :(
Meanwhile, I have dissassembled the formicarium and washed it thoroughly. I actually moved the remaining colony of L. niger in it, as the formicarium they were in was intended for dry species. I am keeping it for my C. scutellaris.
The transfer was a disaster; I had to dissassemble the formicarium to get to the colony as they wouldn't have mooved by doomsday otherwise.

I put them in the fridge, hoping they would be inert enough for me to drop them in their new house.

Nope, as soon as I removed the acrylic lid, they were all over. Out of 30 workers, 19 got in, the others either squished or lost.

The colony is now down to 16 workers, but looks content. The queen just lay the first batch of eggs. 

IMG 20180515 165825

In the photo you can see how they barricaded themselves into the small chamber with the green quartz sand.


Edited by skocko76, May 15 2018 - 12:37 PM.


#9 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 30 2018 - 12:51 AM

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Yesterday morning, something weird happened. I got my first diver ant.

I found it inside my water feeder. Alive. I removed the ant and lo and behold, this morning it is back inside. It must have been "sucked" into the feeder. Or she is a scout whose mission is to "boldy go where no ant has gone before" :D

The water feeder I bought from anthouse.es. It is not the best, but serves the purpose. Water evaporates quickly from it, creates a lime ring at connection point, and generally, you are not sure whether you closed it too hard for the liquid to flow, or at an angle.

So I ordered byFormica's liquid mini feeders. They arrived just in time, and I made the switch right away. We'll see how that goes, but so far, looks great!

Multiple ants are able to feed at the same time, something that was difficult in the anthouse's solution.

 

IMG 20180530 083701
IMG 20180530 100508

 

 



#10 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 4 2018 - 3:04 AM

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The byFormica liquid feeders seem great, no issues!

In the same order, I got some japanese banana flavored high protein jelly as well.

It looks like it was created as insect food, but not intended for ants specifically. It is supposed to last a long time without spoiling, which is great.

It was not accepted by any of my colonies, except for a single M. barbarus media worker who had her fill.

You may have more luck with other species.

Here's for reference:

L. niger - not accepted, covered in dirt immediatelly

C. barbaricus - not recognized as anything that should not be walked upon. Later covered in dirt.

M. barbarus - a single media worker got her fill and came back for seconds. All others in the colony of >50 ignored it.

 

Here's the L. niger reaction to the jelly:

 

1L0A2015 large
VID 20180601 101038
IMG 20180601 102927

Edited by skocko76, June 4 2018 - 9:17 AM.


#11 Offline Will230145 - Posted June 4 2018 - 7:39 AM

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Yesterday morning, something weird happened. I got my first diver ant.
I found it inside my water feeder. Alive. I removed the ant and lo and behold, this morning it is back inside. It must have been "sucked" into the feeder. Or she is a scout whose mission is to "boldy go where no ant has gone before" :D
The water feeder I bought from anthouse.es. It is not the best, but serves the purpose. Water evaporates quickly from it, creates a lime ring at connection point, and generally, you are not sure whether you closed it too hard for the liquid to flow, or at an angle.
So I ordered byFormica's liquid mini feeders. They arrived just in time, and I made the switch right away. We'll see how that goes, but so far, looks great!
Multiple ants are able to feed at the same time, something that was difficult in the anthouse's solution.

How did you get the feeders, I can’t find them anywhere?

#12 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 4 2018 - 9:14 AM

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How did you get the feeders, I can’t find them anywhere?

 

Got them from https://www.antkeepi...formica/feeders, but alas, I see the "mini" version is sold out.

It was in stock yesterday.



#13 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 4 2018 - 10:30 AM

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How did you get the feeders, I can’t find them anywhere?

 

Ah! Look at that! https://www.amazon.c...c/dp/B01H06M49G



#14 Offline Will230145 - Posted June 4 2018 - 11:30 AM

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Thankyou!!!!

#15 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 6 2018 - 6:19 AM

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Thankyou!!!!

Will230145, if you haven't made the purchase yet, I noticed they just got a lot of these feeders, in many combinations! 

I wish they had such combinations when I ordered mine.

Here's a referral link that will give you 10% discount: http://i.refs.cc/RaR...u=1528294394816



#16 Offline drtrmiller - Posted June 11 2018 - 10:01 PM

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Happy to hear you're enjoying the byFormica Liquid Feeders.  Yes, we're in the process of introducing a number of new variations because we recognize ants come in all different shapes, sizes, and in both small and large colonies.

If you ever have any questions or need help, don't hesitate to contact us.


Edited by drtrmiller, June 11 2018 - 10:13 PM.

 
byFormica® is the manufacturer of the iconic nectar feeders and Sunburst Ant Nectar.
byFormica ant products always deliver consistent performance, convenience,
and reliability, making them among the most beloved ant foods and kit enjoyed by
ant keeping enthusiasts worldwide. For more information, visit www.byFormica.com.

#17 Offline Will230145 - Posted June 12 2018 - 5:33 AM

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I ordered them on amazon, and I’m very very happy!

#18 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 23 2018 - 7:04 AM

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With the hibernation period over, the queen begun laying eggs. I say "hibernation period" because I didn't hibernate them, really.

They were on my office desk all winter, just being inactive. Temperature ranging from 18 to 23 C.

I noticed the queen started laying a lot later than other, Mediterranean species even though they were in the same conditions.

The colony numbered 16 workers during the winter and now they are around 25 with a lot of pupae, several larvae and a new batch of eggs.

Of all my colonies they are the most "domesticated". As soon as I put in their feeding dish, they explore it immediately. Almost as if they recognize it. They might.

 

IMG 20180623 165552

 



#19 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 27 2019 - 11:12 AM

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This is the only "large" colony that I still have. It is also the first colony I ever had. They have had their series of mishaps, so they're at population of 150 only.

Meanwhile, some of my better nests got available and they got relocated to a luxury Aeacus Corinth small nest with two AntKingdom decorated outworlds!

Easy living!

IMG 20190527 210708
IMG 20190527 210627

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#20 Offline Acutus - Posted May 27 2019 - 11:59 AM

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Looks very cool!! :D


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Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Formica subsericea






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