User avatar
By Dan
#9155
I apologise to @Jaybird024 for naming my barbarus queen the same as his, but Barbara really is too good an opportunity to miss.

Barbara was received from AntKit on the 5th of January, in perfect condition and packaging as always. She received a small drop of sugar water and was placed in hibernation (not sure if this was the right thing to do now, but I'll find out when I take her out of the cupboard...).

You can see an egg, too.
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User avatar
By Dan
#9166
So just took her out of hibernation and gave her a drop of sugar water (which she turned her nose up at and walked through). The temperatures in the Cold Cupboard were lowest at 4.4C and highest at 15.6C, and the humidity was 60-80%.

Image

I also noticed this at the entrance of the test tube:
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Yuck...
User avatar
By Dan
#10151
I've been getting worried recently about the temperatures in my room, as they've been ranging from 14 to 18C (pretty hot for NI February, but not for ants). These temperatures would account for the limited movement, brood development and food consumption. Basically, they're still in a state of hibernation. Just as clicked to order a heat mat from AntKit, however, it went out of stock. I moved the thermometer about the house about to find the warmest spot, and ended up wrapping the three test tubes (Lasius niger, Lasius flavus, Messor barbarus) in a cloth, placing them in a tub and setting them at the base of the condensing clothes dryer in the kitchen. The temperature quickly rose to a more appropriate level.

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I shall be keeping them in the warmest spots possible from now on until a heat mat comes back in stock.
User avatar
By Dan
#10278
(posted on my Lasius flavus, Lasius niger and Messor barbarus journals)

So...I've just had my first death...or should I say ten deaths - including my only four queens. I'm afraid I can't say it was some unusual mould or a careless young relative, it was entirely my own fault. I'll try and go through it quite quickly so I can better understand myself what I did wrong, I don't get too guilty, and hopefully other newbies can learn from my stupidity.

They had been sitting wrapped up in a cloth, in a tub, beside the radiator, in the living room, and the thermometer sitting on top of the cloth was usually about 22C. I received a heat mat today and frankly didn't have a clue what to do with it except to move ants onto it out of the living room before Mum finally realised what was in the tub. I took the cloth out of the tub, set it on the heat mat (unsure if this was safe, even unsure if it was the right way up or if that mattered), and set the thermometer on top of the folded cloth again. The heat mat was on half power or so, I think. After a while, the temperature was 25, so I went off to watch Game of Thrones. Returned several minutes ago to check on them and...they were mainly upside down with their legs in the air. I have taken the tubes off the mat and unplugged it, and they're sitting in the tub with the cotton unplugged in hopes that one queen may not be completely dead, but it's a vain hope. The four niger workers had attached themselves to the cotton plug, so one or two workers seem to be okay, but they'll live pretty bad lives if the queen doesn't recuperate.

I feel an incredible fool, it just didn't occur to me that the test tubes would be any hotter than the thermometer. I will not be trying any new colonies for a while, until the guilt seeps out - maybe, hopefully, Easter.

So - when introducing anything new to your ants, do it gradually, observe their reactions, and check what those might mean (for example, sticking themselves to the cotton plug).

:cry:
User avatar
By Dan
#10305
(posted on my Lasius flavus, Lasius niger and Messor barbarus journals)

I have come to a conclusion on their deaths. When I moved them from beside the radiator to directly on the heat mat, although the temperature was the same, it was now affecting the test tube itself - the glass got too hot. That is also why 2 of Nigella's workers survived on the cotton.
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