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Theantguy's Myrmecocystus mexicanus journal

mexicanus journal honeypot california socal queen

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted August 19 2018 - 12:59 PM

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Yesterday I traded a pogonomyrmex californicus colony with 3 workers for a pogonomyrmex rugosus queen and a Myrmecocystus mexicanus queen.

This is my journal for my endeavors with Myrmecocystus mexicanus.

I have heard of their reputation of being very hard to keep, as well as their high mortality rate, so I wanted to leave as few things to chance as possible. I got home and immediately put some sterilized fine sand into her test tube, which she began customizing right away, I then began working on a more permanent setup for her, made from a small plastic box that I found at Walmart for 3$.

I started by cutting a portion of the lid out, which I then attached some fly screen on, which should be fine enough to stop even the nanitics from escaping. I hot glued the entire thing on the inside, and taped a second layer on the outside just in case (I also thought this made it look nicer).

I gathered some more sand from my natural source (literally just extra grainy soil I found less than a mile from me and collected in a five gallon bucket) by a series of filtering and sifting, then baked it. I also collected some natural clay which I also baked then dissolved that into a container with some water.

I filled the container with sand, poured in the clay solution, which should help the sand stick together when the queen digs. I then put in a few small rocks and one very large flat one, which were all cleaned beforehand. I set up my phone to record anything interesting, and added the queen. The video is here if you want to watch it (), but not a whole lot happens in it.

Since then the queen has fully explored her setup, and the soil has gotten a bit drier (it was pretty soaked). The queen is sitting in a dark drawer in her setup and she has not started digging yet, however she is definetly looking for an ideal location, because I can see her running around and stopping to check out some areas before then moving on.

I'm going to leave her alone for a few days (after which I won't check on her for at least a week or two), and I will update this once she digs her founding chamber.
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#2 Offline FeedTheAnts - Posted August 20 2018 - 4:06 PM

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I love your queen, she's really pretty. That sand and clay mixture looks really wet though, am I wrong?


I accidentally froze all my ants 


#3 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted August 20 2018 - 5:01 PM

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You aren't, it was a little more wet than I wanted it to be, it since has dried somewhat and she has already begun digging
Check out my journals, instagram, and youtube channel.

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#4 Offline soulsynapse - Posted August 20 2018 - 5:05 PM

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Hope it goes well!!


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#5 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted August 21 2018 - 12:52 AM

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Update: August 21 2018
The queen has dug her claustral chamber although she started the tunnel at the corner, she strayed away from the plastic. I have since put a heating pad right up next to the plastic in hopes of convincing her to at least dig a small portion away so that I can view her progress, otherwise I have no way to tell if she stays alive after she closes herself off.

My next update will most likely be in a few weeks time, by then I hope I can see into her chamber, as well as I hope that she will have some brood by that time.
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#6 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted August 23 2018 - 10:26 PM

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Update: August 23rd, 2018

The queen closed herself into her founding chamber yesterday, but originally I could not find it. It seemed that she had somehow managed to dig all of her tunnels and chambers in the middle of the sand, however, this was not so.

The soil has gotten slowly less wet over the last few days, making less condensation appear on the plastic, this has exposed something I previously did not see, the queen's chamber.

The reason I didn't see it earlier on, was because it wasn't very obvious where it was...
It was on the bottom of the container.

I almost expected this to be the case, as I only provided about 4.5 inches of medium, whereas in the wild, they usually dig claustral chambers up to 12 in. Below the surface.

Anyway I was slightly annoyed at first, but I saw her carrying some eggs in her jaws which is great news, this means not only that she is probably fertile because she underwent the digging process as well as she laid eggs very early on, but also it means that I am not stressing her out too much, I plan to not bother her until early september, so as to allow her time to peacefully conduct her business as a founding queen. Hopefully by my next update she will get her first larvae. So far she has done exceptionally well, better than I expected at least, as I tried to not have too high hopes for this single queen of a species with a reputation of high mortality.

Anyway, tune in next time for more dragon ball Z...
Check out my journals, instagram, and youtube channel.

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#7 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted August 23 2018 - 10:28 PM

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Also, I've tried on multiple occasions to post pictures but it doesn't seem to let me on this phone, I may try transferring all the photos to my PC and try uploading them all in one big photo update soon, so look out for that.
Check out my journals, instagram, and youtube channel.

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#8 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted September 9 2018 - 4:58 PM

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Update: 9/9/18

I finally checked up on this queen today. I was so shocked to see her MASSIVE brood pile, she has probably 35 or more eggs as well as 7-8 medium sized larvae.

Judging by the size of her larvae, I expect workers in about a month or so, which will probably be when my next update is.
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#9 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted September 9 2018 - 7:29 PM

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The long awaited Photo Dump!

Sorry it took so long to get these photos out, I was having internet issues for a while and couldn't use my PC, anyway, here they are!

 

 

August 18th, 2018 (Day of pickup)

PTi9o5l.jpg

 

August 19th, 2018 (the next day)

W5FWToX.jpg

 

August 20th, 2018 (Starting to dig)

C4tYqGO.jpg

 

 

 

 

D2fYkiG.jpg

 

 

bJtK6Qo.jpg

 

August 23rd, 2018

 

x70iRTC.jpg

 

First batch of eggs are visible!

 

3uWLJCO.jpgj6JECWn

 

September 2nd, 2018 (lots more eggs!)

 

rS60F5C.jpg

 

September 9th, 2018 (First larvae)

This picture did not turn out too well, because she moved all of her brood into a second chamber/tunnel she had, but it does give you an estimate of the number of eggs/larvae she has.

 

kFK2cDf.jpg

 

That's all folks, from now on, photos will be included in the updates, so this should be the only big dump.


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#10 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted September 16 2018 - 10:20 PM

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Update September 16th, 2018:

Small update here but also kind of big, not in the literal sense.

I checked on her today and she now has an absolute ton of larvae, 4 of which being most likely 5th instar. This means that she should have cocoons soon enough, and I'm shortening my guess of nanitics to just about 2 weeks from now.

Probably will edit this with some pics tomorrow.
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#11 Offline Major - Posted September 17 2018 - 11:59 AM

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Looks good so far! Best of luck with her, I've heard their really fun to keep!
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#12 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted September 21 2018 - 11:04 PM

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Forgot to mention but she now has cocoons as of 9/19 she had 6.
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#13 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted October 8 2018 - 10:21 PM

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Update (sad)

After leaving her alone for 1.5 weeks, i checked on the queen a few days ago on September 30th. I noticed she wasn't moving... I consulted a few others and they said she was probably resting, so I gave her 3 days. I checked back September 3rd, nothing. Consulted those same people, they said give it another 3 and if she hasn't moved by then, something is wrong. Sure enough, 3 days later... Nothing.
I decided that I might as well just dig her up just in case. I first stuck a barbecue skewer through the soil to try the poke test, It was too hard to see so I ended up just digging her entire camber out. Sadly, she was indeed dead. I honestly do not know what went wrong. She has over 15 cocoons, all ready to be opened, sadly all now dead as well. I was going to preserve her body, but then her head came off...... Not sure if that means she got crushed, or if it just gets loose after death. However this journal is not over, I plan to catch a lot more of these queens next season, hopefully with more success this time.
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#14 Offline Kalidas - Posted October 9 2018 - 8:36 AM

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Awwwww how sad. I was rooting for them over here. Yeah there is always next season.

#15 Offline nurbs - Posted October 9 2018 - 11:26 AM

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When you consulted me I said she was most likely dead. Who are these people that said she was "resting"?

 

Sorry man! Next year.

 

 

Update (sad)

After leaving her alone for 1.5 weeks, i checked on the queen a few days ago on September 30th. I noticed she wasn't moving... I consulted a few others and they said she was probably resting, so I gave her 3 days. I checked back September 3rd, nothing. Consulted those same people, they said give it another 3 and if she hasn't moved by then, something is wrong. Sure enough, 3 days later... Nothing.
I decided that I might as well just dig her up just in case. I first stuck a barbecue skewer through the soil to try the poke test, It was too hard to see so I ended up just digging her entire camber out. Sadly, she was indeed dead. I honestly do not know what went wrong. She has over 15 cocoons, all ready to be opened, sadly all now dead as well. I was going to preserve her body, but then her head came off...... Not sure if that means she got crushed, or if it just gets loose after death. However this journal is not over, I plan to catch a lot more of these queens next season, hopefully with more success this time.


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#16 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted October 9 2018 - 2:33 PM

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To be honest I think it was just people trying to be optimistic for me.
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