Yet I do it with Ants all the time! Why? I was mystified, until a few days ago I opened my Kindle and began to read: The Lives of Ants by Laurent Keller and Elisabeth Gordon.
I was entranced to learn that c 1000 BC, King Solomon recommended them as models of wisdom. And in The Bible we find: Go to the ant, thou sluggard! Consider her ways, and be wise (Proverbs 6:6–8). Followed on by Aristotle, Plutarch and Plato, the ant keeper soon comes to realise that Ants are a Class Insect.
Anyway, to get on with my small collection. We have, in chronological order:
Feb 29th: Messor barbarus delivery. 1 Queen + 11–20 workers
Lasting in the test-tube for only 3 days, HM Queen Barbaria made herself scarce, vacating the tube overnight. It's a nice little tank made of glass with a narrow side panel into which I sprinkled some clay granules and a few teaspoons of sand. Two tablespoons of garden soil were dusted on the floor surface along with a small piece of mossy bark and a water feeder.
4 April 11th 2016: Messor capitatus
Ruled by Queen Capitulia the Inquisitive
April 11th 2016: Lasius flavus. 1 Queen + 1–5 workers.
I goofed, and the Kingdom came to an end when I put the tube on a 5w heat-mat. I only went to lie down for half-an-hour! Oh well… Try again ...
May 8th 2016: Lasius flavus. 1 Queen + 5 workers.
Ruled over by Queen Flavita the Bashful.
Were she a human, she’d have skin the colour of sunlight, and straw-coloured hair which would hang like a silken screen over her face. In the Pub she’d sit in the darkest corner sipping a fruit juice and nibbling cashews.
Apr 11th 2016 : Camponotus ligniperdus: 1 Queen + 7 workers
Ruled by Queen Lignacia the Compassionate.
She gave full employment to all her offspring and the handicapped one, dear One-Eye was the chief look-out and Head Forager. One-Eye, in a burst of enthusiasm, stuck his head in a pool of blood worms. At least he died in joy!
August 1st: Manica rubida. 1 Queen + 1 worker only (short-lived!)
The Tube arrived with Queen Rubidella the Snippy, along with one worker and a tiny brood :(
Short-lived, the daughter died within a few days. Nobody was there but me to console her. I just did the best I could for her.
On day 1, I offered her a drop of honey-water, delivered at the end of the pipette, which she lapped up greedily. I followed this by a tiny drop of beaten egg which she took half-heartedly. Probably she was full from the sweet sips. Always eager to escape the tube, I started to devise a roomier place for her, where she could remain in her tube if she wanted to, but was able to explore a roomier Outworld. This will be described in a continuing post where Queen Rubidella has a place all to herself. As well as being snippy, she is also extremely snobbish, eschewing the contact of others.
Just to let you know, she’s not greedy, despite her eating habits her wolfish eating: Everything she gobbles is passed on to her Brood.
[Quran 27.18] Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said (for females), "O ants, enter your homes so that you do not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they do not feel it."
= ॐ =