Hello ant lovers!
Due to lack of desk space I am selling my M. barbarus colony of 300-500. You can check the journal here: http://www.formicult...rbarus-journal/
It is hard to estimate the exact number of the workers, as they are in a substrate formicarium. But, I can quickly eyeball around 300, and estimate 100-200 to not be visible due to substrate. Around 70 foragers can be observed outside the substrate at any one time. When they recruit, the number is larger, but since they swarm the food, the black ball of heads and legs is impossible to count
I'd say the ratio of minor-media-major workers is 40-30-30, but I could be off. The ants are accustomed to light and desk life. They don't throw a fit when typing, placing mug on the table etc.. they are kept on a foam pad, though. They enjoy grasshoppers, flies, hard boiled eggs, even cicadas. When the colony was younger, they did not like cicadas. The majors are so strong now that they grind the insect exoskeleton to dust, there is literally nothing to clean after them. They also enjoy all kinds of seeds, including watermelon seeds, but I cut them in half beforehand as their shell is pretty thick. They're not so hot on fruit and sugar-water, but occasionally accept them. They have a short hibernation period (6 weeks at the minimum) at around 15 C. This particular colony has been hibernated at somewhat higher temperature, has shown signs of activity throughout the winter, but at a much slower rate. The boom in colony size indicates they are not very strict about hibernating. And it makes sense; being a Mediterranean species, and Croatia a Mediterranean country, I can tell you that the winter temperatures go from 5C in the night up to 20C around the noon. If sunlit, you can enjoy your coffee in a cafe, with very few clothing items on.
Currently, they are housed in two rounded-square nests that connect together seamlessly. I have 4 such nests altogether, that can be connected into a rounded square, or in a zig-zag pattern if you want to keep the smaller cube enclosures far apart from each other.
Check the photos for clarification. I'm also happy to answer any questions you might have.
The nests have been modded to include top plugs for moisturizing the substrate, and some other minor tweaks. Removing the lid became inconvenient as they piled the substrate dangerously close to the top and could escape if removed. I believe the 4 nests could house a colony of circa 2000, without the need for additional equipment. Each nest has a footprint of 11x11 cm, and can interconnect with others on both sides of the substrate area (near the top), and on both sides of the smaller cube-like area (near the bottom). Each of the cube-like areas also have a bottom port for cleaning, as the ants usually pick that area for trash deposit (or a granary). There is some interconnectivity of the nests in vertical fashion, but it doesn't look convenient to me.
The ants are currently in Croatia, EU, but I'm willing to ship to any country where ant shipping is legal.
To protect the ants during shipping, I will persuade them to move into test tube(s).
All 4 nests will be shipped, as well as a bag of mixed seed and a bag (1 kg) of sterilized light-colored substrate you can see in the photos (in the nest on the right). The amount of substrate sent will exceed the volume of all the nests combined. Keep in mind that the ants will "expand" the substrate as they dig through it, so keep them away from the edge. You can check the before/after volume in the photos.
The price is 100 Euro plus shipping.