25th of August
So today, this is a feature of all my ant colonies. You can expect additional journals if these colonies survive the winter (maybe even earlier).
First of all, Lazy Tube.
They are about 200 workers now and growing quickly.
Central chamber (main brood hub, most of the young larvae are stored here).
Left wing with the more-or-less-oval office (seems to be the queen's favorite spot).
Right wing (main pupating chamber is located here).
A major getting fed. Don't wanna get bitten by that one.
The water tube is really busy. If they keep piling that many ants in there I'll consider adding a second one to the vacant port.
While this isn't the most ants I've ever seen outside it is definitely the most I managed to catch on a picture.
What I find interesting when looking at the way they approach the foraging area is that they do not seem to have a clear pathway to the food (which always is in the same place).
There are two main paths that are used most frequently (one along the edges of the glass tank and another one through an open area in front of the nest) but a lot of ants sort of stray from this path and use diagonal shortcuts and the way they move around obstacles is also pretty random. I wonder if they just navigate by memory as most of them don't really seem to follow a pheromone trail (not even in the dark).
Looks like some workers wanted to build a roadblock at the entrance but then were too lazy or couldn't be bothered anymore so there's only a few pebbles in front of the tunnel now.
This is the Lasius niger queen you've already seen a few times. She finally got nanitics (something around half a dozen, they're so tiny) and they just received their first meal, a fruit fly. The workers don't like light and get very freaked out, luckily the queen doesn't really bother and stays calm.
I have never actually seen them outside but they carried sand into the tube and stuck it to a pupa (left of the fruit fly). I assume they found the feeder with the Sunburst as well, so I filled it up.
Hadn't really checked on my Solenopsis fugax queen and her 2 workers for quite some time. The queen took forever to get her first workers (think she laid her first eggs in June), when took a quick look a few days ago I thought they had eaten their brood because there was none to be found. They also got a fruit fly today.
Turned out they had not eaten their brood. Instead they raised a couple more workers which then dug into the cotton to get a more moist space for the brood. They're supposed to grow pretty fast but this queens seems to have a some issues getting her colony rolling, although I think she's got it now.