User avatar
By Dan
#10636
Due to the generosity and goodwill of our Co-Admin Raj @Leafcutter, I find myself with a test tube teeming with Messor barbarus beauties. I have of course named this queen BarbaRaj.

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You can see the quick postage cost their brood very little:
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(iPod)

They also seem to be using their major workers to shred up the cotton. These photos are all from yesterday - by today they're even further up the tube, and are now living in the shredded cotton. They will have to be moved, but to where? Should I keep them in a test tube, or move to an acrylic S?
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They also need to be fed as soon as possible, but there's no way that's happening in the test tube. I also haven't a clue what to feed them - sugar water and protein jelly? Or do I give them seeds yet?
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#10637
BarbaRaj :D. Hilarious!

I'd open the test tube up into a foraging area, like the ones AntKit sell. Also to add, this is one of the two Red-Headed Queens I had.
User avatar
By AntLove
#10642
Lovely looking colony look like they will be trouble makers with the way they are treating the cotton in the tube. Looking forward to seeing more from this colony.
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#10643
Dan wrote:Okay, I'll do that now.


You can give them seeds as well, small ones such as niger seeds are prefect for a small colony.
User avatar
By Dan
#10645
Leafcutter wrote:You can give them seeds as well, small ones such as niger seeds are prefect for a small colony.

I have a mix of wheat, red dari, kibbled maize, sunflower and millet.
User avatar
By Dan
#10691
SugarGliderDude wrote:how are you moderating heat changes in the room? do you have a habistat ? @dan

If you can see at the bottom of the third photo, I have a thermohygrometer (if that's what you call it) sitting. I got it from Amazon for a couple of pounds. I'm keeping it a few degrees below what I actually want because I don't want to risk overheating the plastic or glass again.
User avatar
By Osterytteren
#11194
Dan wrote:Due to the generosity and goodwill of our Co-Admin Raj @Leafcutter, I find myself with a test tube teeming with Messor barbarus beauties. I have of course named this queen BarbaRaj.


Hahaha I know it's a long time ago, but I couldn't help but notice that you named your ant! I thought you were just being nice to me :)

Also your ants look nice, it's funny how they are using the cotton, at least for me, I'm not the one having to deal with ant outbreaks.
Dan liked this
User avatar
By Dan
#11539
I have 8 photos from 22nd of March to the 1st of April, and a little worry.

There seem to be a lot of deaths. Corpses do sit there for several days until they're lifted because A) they're difficult to access sometimes sitting under the test tube and B) every time the lid lifts they come pouring out. But every 3 or 4 days when I go to remove corpses, there are at least 3, sometimes 5 or 6. I also don't see the same amount of brood that other colonies at this stage seem to have, although it is difficult to see into the test tube, especially the way they keep the brood basically in the cotton.

The two possible reasons are food and temperature, I think. Because of the hassle at the moment with taking the lid off, they're getting a mealworm or piece of protein jelly every 2 or 3 days. However, I rarely see them actually eating it. I may try some other forms of protein (other insects, human food). The heat mat covers a quarter of the arena, which includes the chamber of the test tube (but not the water reservoir). The thermometer which sits on top of this is usually 23-25C, and I assume the temperature in the actual nest is a degree or two higher. I have turned the heat mat significantly down to see if this makes a difference.

So I am: getting a new outworld with PTFE so I can feed them more often; trying other sources of protein; removing corpses and food ASAP (this will also help me be able to count deaths per day/week); keeping the heat mat down; maybe getting a thermometer that can actually go inside the formicarium; giving them water in a water feeder (to see if this is better than the test tube reservoir); attaching a small nest to observe brood better and to be able to keep a count of workers better.

Also:
The workers always seem to gather here, is there any reason for that (that may help me work out what the problem is)?
DSC_1071.jpg

And I originally thought this was a batch of eggs, but I'm thinking it's the seed bread - does that sound right?
DSC_1195.jpg

Lastly, I thought I had major workers, but then discovered online that there are media and loads of other castes in between, and that the major workers are actually near the size of the queen. I therefore think I don't actually have any major workers, but I'll be able to work this all out better when I have a nest attached, I think.
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Other Photos:
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User avatar
By Dan
#11556
Had a chat with Leafcutter, don't think I'm underfeeding them. He also said they didn't show much interest in mealworms. If they are actually chewing up those seeds, then I should be absolutely fine. Maybe they're too big, though? I've ordered a sample of seeds from AntKit to see.
User avatar
By ManicaLuca
#11563
Keep them off the jelly also.

They don't particularly like it but I have seen colonies in the past take the jelly but then there is less mastication which results in less brood.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
By Dan
#11564
ManicaLuca wrote:Keep them off the jelly also.

They don't particularly like it but I have seen colonies in the past take the jelly but then there is less mastication which results in less brood.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I'll get some other type of insect next Saturday then. Crickets okay?
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#11670
Dan wrote:29-33 workers and 6 pupae (no cocoons). Absolutely no eggs or larvae. Update tomorrow.


Odd, that Queen used to be a top egg-layer. Even after an emergency test tube move, the Queen was off laying eggs by the next morning.
User avatar
By Dan
#11895
I attached an Acrylic Nest S to the outworld last Saturday and was able to take a photo before. I hadn't realised that the flash had no (visible) effect on the ants, but I was then able to take this and get a look at the pupae.
DSC_1223.jpg


To encourage the move, I used a USB light plugged into a charger (which I think broke it in the end) and the LED torch on my phone and iPod on the outworld, and kept the nest in the dark and on the heat mat.
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Then on Tuesday evening I took these photos (see the difference flash makes)(also, see the eggs?!):
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Pupae


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Large worker carrying larva


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Large worker


The whole chamber. Important to note this is only one of 3 chambers in the Small nest, and the other two are basically empty.
DSC_1257.jpg
User avatar
By Occultus
#11896
Messor barbarus can be quite stubborn when they are still a young colony.
You try raising the temperature for this colony between 24-26 Celsius. A good tip is to grind the seeds up inside a mortar and pestle before giving it to the ants. It will make it much easier for the young, smaller workers to create their 'antbread'.
Crushed micro crickets go down well occasionally. I wouldn't worry so much about them though Messor B will lay eggs when they are ready and they only eat when they are hungry.
User avatar
By Dan
#11898
Occultus wrote:Messor barbarus can be quite stubborn when they are still a young colony.
You try raising the temperature for this colony between 24-26 Celsius. A good tip is to grind the seeds up inside a mortar and pestle before giving it to the ants. It will make it much easier for the young, smaller workers to create their 'antbread'.
Crushed micro crickets go down well occasionally. I wouldn't worry so much about them though Messor B will lay eggs when they are ready and they only eat when they are hungry.

Thanks, I may use a mortar and pestle for some of the bigger seeds in future. I don't know what the actual temperature is, so I plan to buy a thermometer that can measure the temperature inside the set-up. Thanks for your advice!
User avatar
By Dan
#11899
Last night and this morning I created this using AntKit's Arena Decoration Kit, Grout for Arena Decoration Kit and Liquid PTFE. I used @RobJ 's tutorial videos on outworld and PTFE.
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Moving in:
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Is there something wrong with this seed in the middle of the bowl? (This was a free sample from AntKit, available on the site.)
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They seem to now not only have trouble getting onto the PTFE, but even the walls. I think the curve of the grout at the edges is putting them off (it's harder to climb on a curved surface than a right angle corner). I put a bit of string at the entrance just to give them hand getting in and out.

Seven hours later, I noticed two things:
nearly all the seeds had been moved to the tube,
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and the walls were steaming up, despite not being heated or including any water other than the water feeder.
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Anyone know what's going on with the walls? It's only whenever the lid has been on for a while, and I had planned to keep it on nearly all the time.
User avatar
By scarletAsh
#11901
The plaster / grout still has liquid trapped within and is slowly releasing it. When the lid is on it gets trapped and condenses on the colder walls of the container. Get it all the time as I use a lot of plaster of paris. Accidentally drowned a bunch of Pheidole Pallidula workers because of it once. After a while all the water will have evaporated out of the plaster / grout and the problem will be a lot less to eventually near on non-existent. EDIT: The reason it's mostly all at the top is because hot air rises which I'm sure you already knew but the water which trickles down gets reabsorbed into the plaster so leave the lid off as much as you can otherwise the cycle will keep repeating. Be warned as well any layers of PTFE put on can easily get washed away to being non-effective.
User avatar
By Dan
#11904
Thanks very much. I left it overnight to dry, but didn't know about this. Would placing a heat mat under it make it evaporate any faster? I'll keep the lid off as much as possible until this resides a bit. I had noticed the condensation interfering with the PTFE, so I'll maybe reapply it when this issue stops.
User avatar
By scarletAsh
#11906
No problem :). If it's Plaster of Paris I wouldn't heat it up past room temperature and would just allow it to dry on it's own. Should only take a week or 2 depending on how much water you initially added. PoP requires some moisture inside of it to hold its shape and remain firm. Drying it too much would make it crumble. It'll reach a point at room temperature where it won't throw out much to any more liquid while still holding enough inside of it to keep all integrity. For grout I wouldn't know if heating it would help as not sure how grout solidifies. I know grout is all around much stronger than plaster though I do believe if you heat grout too quickly it can still crack. I normally give my plaster 1 week on a sunny windowsill to dry to a level which I'm content to leave a lid on with but then I also use a tonne of PoP in everything I do.

Either way it will resolve itself ^_^ As long as you don't have a small species of ant which can drown in 1 droplet of water then you shouldn't need worry too much. The problem I had with the Pheidole Pallidula was they are apr 2mm and climbed the walls constantly forcing me too keep the lid on but also made them susceptible to drowning inside the droplets on the wall of the container. The condensation was much worse than what you have.

Sorry I can't offer much more help on the issue but I wouldn't worry too much :) Thank you ^_^.
User avatar
By Dan
#12267
The lid is on most of the time now, and there is no condensation. BarbaRaj really doesn't seem to understand where her home is, despite it being warmer and covered. She originally spent most of her time in the tubing where all the seeds were stored, and now I even woke once to find her in the outworld chilling on a rock. Since the weather has picked up and the room is generally much brighter now, she seems to have decided to stay in the nest. They are mostly in two chambers with most of the seeds (some are still in the tubing). The third chamber (closest to the tubing) is left vacant but for two. I assume they are treating it like the nest entrance in the wild, and keeping the queen and food deep in the nest. Because I don't really know what the temperature is inside the nest, sometimes I suddenly decide it's actually far too hot in their nest, and then I change my mind and decide it's too cold. I'm definitely going to have to get the kind of thermometer that @RobJ has, where did you get it?

I found these photos from the 10th of April that I took on my iPod using my clip-on macro lens. The first one shows the number of eggs and the second shows the 'ant bread' (chewed up seeds) of the wild bird seed mix I bought at Sainsbury's:
IMG_2031.jpg

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Then today, with AntKit's seed mix, the 'ant bread':
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You can see it looks a lot different. It actually looks quite tasty...

All the pupae have eclosed, and the number of workers is 29. I didn't think there was any new brood, but just several minutes ago I had a closer look and saw 2 eggs and a larva. But even since that I watched a worker aid BarbaRaj in the laying of a third egg. I was too late to catch it on video, unfortunately.
DSC_1752.jpg

IMG_2313.jpg


Also, I never really get to appreciate the detail of the photos until I zoom in, so I decided it would be better just to crop them to show the main thing. All of these photos are cropped. This also reduces file size.
User avatar
By Dan
#12268
Forgot to add that I've had 2 deaths in the last two weeks, which is a definite improvement. The five new nanitics mean we're now progressing rather than regressing. Hallelujah. :party:
scarletAsh liked this
User avatar
By RobJ
#12269
Hi @Dan which hydrothermal Meter are you talking about mate, if you let me know I can get you a link for where I get mine out my purchase history


Thanks
RobJ
User avatar
By Dan
#12270
RobJ wrote:Hi @Dan which hydrothermal Meter are you talking about mate, if you let me know I can get you a link for where I get mine out my purchase history


Thanks
RobJ

The ones with the rod sensor. I saw it in your early videos, but you have so many now. I'll have a little look.
Thanks.
User avatar
By Dan
#12271
Dan wrote:
RobJ wrote:Hi @Dan which hydrothermal Meter are you talking about mate, if you let me know I can get you a link for where I get mine out my purchase history


Thanks
RobJ

The ones with the rod sensor. I saw it in your early videos, but you have so many now. I'll have a little look.
Thanks.

Yeah, the black ones with the metal rod at the end of the wire. They're in most of your formicaria in your 'My Ant Set-Up (1 Month Update)' video.
User avatar
By RobJ
#12272
O ok I just ordered 4 more of them. Let me look

Edit
Here you go they take a week to get here
https://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/331743937745

Thanks
RobJ
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