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Help! Pheidole cf. bicarinata queen slow to start

pheidole queen pheidole bicarinata

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#1 Offline EllisWyatt - Posted December 26 2017 - 9:11 PM



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So I caught what I'm pretty sure is a Pheidole bicarinata queen, my first attempt at raising a colony, at the end of July. Since then she has laid a lot of eggs, but few have made it far. I try to not bug her much, so I can't say I've seen her eat them, but I gather that that's often the reason for eggs seeming to never make it to maturity. She has only one nanitic that I guess made it far enough through development that she didn't eat it. But since that one eclosed, no other pupae have followed.


I'm a bit frantic because I saw some of the care sheets here list Pheidole sp. that don't eat honey, and I realized that I haven't seen the queen or nanitic show interest in the drop of honey I gave them as their only food (as recommended in some tutorials I've seen). I had never considered any ants wouldn't like honey! So now that I realize both queen and nanitic haven't had anything to eat, I am trying to act quickly to remedy that.


So here is what I have done:

  • Heating cable. I realized this may account for my queen's slow start because even though my apartment's cooling seemed very insufficient to me, maybe it was not to the queen's liking. And now that it's colder, I'm afraid to let her hibernate as I don't have a great place to keep her consistently cool. (And I'm assuming that, since Ph. bicarinata range into climates that don't get very cold, hibernation isn't necessary.)
  • A few insects. I found a couple Tetramorium sp. workers and a spider alive in my bathroom that I froze and offered, but so far none of them have been touched.
  • Small seeds. I read that Pheidole sp. often eat small seeds, so I got some canary bird seed and also offered some of them. But they do seem too large without a major to crush them up (considering that a sesame seed is as big as the nanitic).
  • Just earlier I was watching Jordan from Ants Austrailia's videos about his Pheidole sp. where he said they loved cashews, so I'm thinking I'll try crushing up one of those and offering them some cashew crumbs too.

Is there anything else I should try? Or that I should STOP doing? I think I should check pet shops to see what insects they have available, but I have held off on account of not thinking my little nanitic has any chance of managing to consume a cricket or mealworm. I am just not sure what to try, and I want so very much for this queen to succeed given that I have invested so much time into her. (I even constructed her a plaster formicarium that I so very much want her to be able to move into once she has some momentum growing her colony.)

#2 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted December 26 2017 - 10:40 PM


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I can't say I've had the best luck with Pheidole either, but I would try to offer the spiders (which should be small) cut up. My colonies can cut up spiders, but cutting them into many pieces makes it so much easier for them. If honey doesn't work offer syrup, or another sweet liquid. If a cut up small spider doesn't work, go to your local PetCo and ask if they have fruit flies. No matter the size of ant, most ants (especially during the founding stages) love wingless fruit flies. If there's no PetCo near you, you can order them online. Also, make sure to try small pieces of fruit, such as apple. Lastly, remember to not stress them with all of this food. Try one of these new ideas at a time, if it gets accepted, great! If it gets denied, remove it and try again. I strongly encourage you to get fruit flies. Make sure to freeze them for a little bit so they won't be running about. 

#3 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted December 29 2017 - 9:12 AM


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A 1 worker colony shouldn't be accepting loads of food unless its semi- claustral, and even then those species won't eat that much. I highly recommend fruit flies since I have had tetramorium, ponera, and tapinoma eat them and when it comes to fussy eaters, tapinoma won't eat anything but fruit flies and honey.

Proverbs 6:6-8 New International Version (NIV)

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.


Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pheidole, queen, pheidole bicarinata

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