User avatar
By Dan
Firstly, I'll address the fact that this colony is nameless. I'm sorry.

I came home on Thursday afternoon giddy. The sun was shining, I was off on Friday, and I was just generally happy. I grabbed a refreshing drink and went out to the back garden. The pond was teeming with all different shapes and sizes of tadpoles. I discovered mining bee nests. And then I saw that the garden colony of Myrmica ruginodis was awake!

Now, at the end of July last year, I caught my first queen from this colony, and had counted myself incredibly lucky. However, in the course of maybe 10 minutes, I snatched 4 queens just wandering about near the nest. I assume these are not newly-mated, but are already founded queens of the colony. I started to worry if I was maybe endangering the colony (it maybe only had 4 queens), which is still a worry, but I think this colony had more than 3 nests, so must have had more than 4 queens. Also, surely all the queens of a colony wouldn't be out for a walk at once? Anyway, I sat for a few more minutes, catching workers with a spoon and adding them to the queens. I'd like to point out that I didn't scoop them up with a spoon, I allowed them to climb on. I'd gone and got my spare AntKit arena and XS Acrylic Nest (which turns out was one of the new designs!) and gave it a PTFE rim. I just gently dropped them into the arena.



By the next afternoon (Friday), they were still very thirsty.
They were very thirsty

I also noticed that the string I'd put in to help them get from the outworld to the tubing (like in my Messor barbarus journal) had been removed and was being shredded to pieces. So it seems they are as aggressive as they say.

I'd placed a little tiny plastic container with a tiny rim of PTFE in the ground near the nest overnight. In the morning, there were about 10 more workers, a queen and a tiny larva. It didn't rain, but the PTFE seemed to have run a bit, and two of the workers were dying. I put them out of their misery. One had PTFE on her head, but I hope she'll be okay. At least the others won't be able to walk all over her. I won't be using a PTFE trap again.

They'd moved into the nest, so I was able to count 5 larvae (not including the new tiny one which hadn't arrived yet).

I gave them a mealworm, but when I returned about an hour later it was green, so I panicked and removed it. However, that evening, there were still loads of ants in the outworld, so I decided to try a bit of protein jelly. Well, what can I say? They were certainly hungry. They seemed to be drinking the juice of the jelly rather than taking chunks of protein back for the larvae, but I suppose there only were 6 larvae.

The sixth larva had reached the nest.

You can see that they were still mainly in the outworld, even all 5 of the queens.


On Saturday, they drank water. Basically all day.
User avatar
By Dan
This morning, they were still drinking water. They've drunk more water in 3 days than the Messors have in 8

I tried the mealworm again, and they climbed all over it too. However, I noticed again that they mostly seemed to be drinking the water from when the mealworm was dipped in boiling water. Why are they so thirsty?!
I love this one



I decided maybe they needed sugars, so I filled a small test tube with sugar water (although I think I diluted it too much) and plugged it with cotton.


Two hours after adding the mealworm, it was like this:

Can anyone explain this? Is it dangerous? I'll be removing it tonight just in case, if nobody can explain.

Anyway, after an extensive count, there are 5 queens,

only 5 corpses (stress-related, I would assume),

6 larvae,


and 62 workers.
(I think you've seen enough photos of them...)
User avatar
By Dan
SugarGliderDude wrote:Do you own the Rubra also? they are virtually identical :)

No, I've never seen Myrmica rubra before. I did originally think that this colony in my garden was rubra until I looked more closely at the spines on the back (which are much shorter on rubra). Ruginodis are much more common in the UK because of the cooler temperatures.
User avatar
By Dan
They are using their lovely dark and humid acrylic nest as a dumping site for the five corpses and are nesting in the industrial tubing that has the light shining on it. As I was trying to remove some of the corpses, I noticed pain in my arm, which developed into a painful sting quite quickly. I worked out that my arm must have been leaning on the water feeder, which they frequently climb to the top of. I got stung loads, and the worker ended up on my carpet. She's been returned and the stinging has died down after less than an hour. Might be putting PTFE round the top of the feeder.
User avatar
By Dan
This colony was given to a friend of mine who's new to ant-keeping, they may join the forum and continue the journal in the future, but for now, this journal is closed.
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