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By Cyrus01
#19442
12/01/2017

A question for the forum, the colony is nearly out of water. The test tube they are in is going to be dry in the next couple of weeks. The reservoir in their test tube has about an inch wide pocket of water, but its down to about 2mm deep.

So in my mind the options are:
1. Put a new test tube set up in with a full water reservoir and hope they transfer.
2. Remove the red acrylic cover from their current tube and try to get them into their connected size 02 nest.

What do you guys think?
User avatar
By Serafine
#19446
How many workers do they have? If it's less than 20 (or if they are in hibernation) a new tube is better, if they have above 50 workers (and are not in hibernation) you can definitely move them to the formicarium (a new tube is still a possible option though).
Last edited by Serafine on Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Cyrus01
#19447
Numbers are unknown at the moment. I counted at least 15 yesterday, but I can see more further inside the tubes cotton wool. I haven't hibernated them and they are very active. There is brood of various stages as seen in the video above. I'm hoping the numbers will explode soon as the have been 15-20 since I got the in October. I understand these maybe the 2nd or 3rd generation and can see several light brown almost transparent workers. I can easily do another tube, but I'm keen to use the nest. But I will go with what's best for the colony. Thanks for the advice.
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By Cyrus01
#19660
23/01/2017

So it's been over a week now since I removed the red acrylic cover. Queenie is showing no sign of moving out. There tube is almost dry and the cotton wool is looking mouldy. There is a new test tube set up at the end so they have water access. Not sure what to do now. They aren't touching their fruit flys or bean weevils, but there is honey and sugar water available. I'm also keeping there size two nest moist as well. Hopefully they will move soon. Is it worth me removing their stone pile from the old test tube? Image
User avatar
By Cyrus01
#19977
06/02/2017

So its been over 3 weeks since i removed the red cover from their test tube. Its must be over 2 weeks since the last of the water in the test tube ran out. But It does look like the cotton wool is still damp.

I did remove the pile of stones from the entrance of the test tube (with a clean kids paint brush). I have placed a my phones light over them for an hour. But they are still not moving. There is a new, clean test tube with a red cover and water right next to their current one (end to end)

I know people say Lasius Niger are stubborn, but i didn't think they would be this bad.

I put a curly wing fly in the end of the new test tube in an attempt to draw them out. They swarmed it in minutes and dragged it back to to the old one, so at least they are eating now. First time in weeks i have seen them at there protein source. Normally i have been removing the uneaten carcass's a few days after putting them in.

They weren't put into hibernation as its the first year, but they have been acting like there hibernating. Not eating, sluggish and huddling around the queen and brood.

What am i doing wrong? I'm hoping its just the time of year.

Should i be worried yet?
User avatar
By Serafine
#19982
They run on biological clocks so even if they are not hibernating they will show reduced activity. Since they are less active they require less food and little energy. I'd wait until the cotton has completely dried out and then encourage them to move, if necessary by plugging two tubes together so they can move without having to "leave" the nest.
User avatar
By Cyrus01
#19987
Thanks for the response.
That's was what I figured, I guess wait abit and see if activity picks up. As in the pic a few posts up the test tubes are end to end. When you say plugging them together, how would I do that? Here is a pic from tonight. There is a load of larvae and several piles of eggs. I can't wait for them to get full term.Image
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By Serafine
#20009
You can either just place the test tubes right in front of each other (which might be the best option as yours don't have a front cotton plug) or use a large straw to connect them (this is best if both tubes have front cotton plugs).

Note that Lasius niger are quite resilient and can live with little resources for a long time - someone from formiculture forgot his Lasius niger in an old aquarium for several months and they thrived in a dried-out test tube setup going from 6 workers to over 30 eating just the mold on the cotton plug and an occasional spider falling into the setup.

Looking at the lines on their gasters your ants look very well-fed btw (or they stored a lot of water, probably both). I don't think they are in any immediate danger of starvation or dehydration.
User avatar
By Cyrus01
#20201
17/02/2017

So I took the chance and taped the two tubes together end to end. Placed my phone light on it and within 5 minutes queenie had moved shorty followed by the workers. It was great to watch them move the brood. One worker was using gravel and trying to fill the join between the two tubes. Another dragged a stone twice her size into the new tube only to have it dragged back out. Within the hour they had moved.
They are now sat in a nice new clean, watered tube, so I'm happy.

Colony stats
Workers: 21
Brood: yes
Temp: 23.3 degrees
Humidity: 51%

Image
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By Cyrus01
#20597
07/03/2017

Not really a lot going on. They are in there nice new test tube as mentioned in the last post. They are upto their old tricks again and builds a massive pile of stones at the test tube entrance. They have also made a 3mm thick layer of stones against their test tube water reservoir, I'm guessing it's an attempt to control humidity.

They all look heathy with large round gastors and are sitting on large brood pile. I rarely see them outside the test tube at the moment.

Still waiting for the colony size explosion with the brood there sat on.

Colony stats

Workers: 22

Brood: yes

Temp: 22.8 degrees

Humidity: 50%

Image
User avatar
By Cyrus01
#21059
20/03/2017
Found my first honey casualty today. I use diluted honey on a cotton bud, but just found one deep in a small pool that had formed under it. Rest of colony are doing great. Still loads brood, and hiding deep inside the test tube. The cotton wool in the tube is covered in stones, and they have made a tunnel in to it. Still waiting for the number explosion.


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User avatar
By Cyrus01
#21375
So I have had these since October last. But the colony hasn't gone above 20 workers. Is this normal? What sort or numbers should I expect?


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User avatar
By milant
#21376
I've had mine since august and only at around 25 workers. Lasius night lays in batches and can be months of delay before next lay (there's a reason the oldest ant in recorded history was lasius niger)
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By Cyrus01
#22320
11/05/2017
I haven't done much in this journal for a while, mainly because they have been quiet recently and not up to much.
I came to try another test tube change last week and cleared out their pile of stones blocking the entrance. After 30 minutes of trying to get them to move to a new test tube i gave up. i just put a second water tube in their out world.

By the next morning they had completely rebuilt the pile of stones at the entrance.
I have also found they have made a stone cave at the water end of the tube so i really cant see what they are up to now.
I manage to get a pic before they moved the brood back in to it. It looks like the next generation of workers are well on the way.

Colony stats
Workers: 21+
Brood: Yes
Temp: 23.9 degrees
Humidity: 51%
Last edited by Cyrus01 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Cyrus01
#22680
16/06/2017
Well the colony has kept to themselves for abit, and boy have they been busy.
They are now at 37 plus workers and still with a massive brood pile. I have left them alone since the last update. Partly because i was getting bored with nothing happening with them.
I have still been feeding them fruit flies and honey twice a week and they always have access to sugar water.
In my last update i tried to get them into a new test tube but failed. So last night i tried again, within minutes a couple workers had found the new test tube. Within 30 minutes they had started to move the Brood pile.
At an hour in Queenie was still refusing to move to the new test tube. All bar a few workers had moved and all the brood had been transferred.
This was when the funny bit happened, first a single worker came out of the new tube and started pulling at the queen's front right leg.
Then a couple more joined in with the tug of war, within 5 minutes the queen had been dragged into the new test tube. I did manage to get it on film, but it's a bit of a long video to upload here.
My plan soon is to put together a new set up for them. I'm going to use a size 2 Antkit nest connected to a Robj mini outworld. In the middle of the connection pipe i will use a T junction to connect a water test tube.
They are currently in a test tube within a Antkit pre-fire GPPS arena (the 230mm x 120mm). I would love to get them into a proper Antkit nest and i also think the current outworld is a bit too big for them.

Once they're in the new setup i maybe be looking to sell the old Antkit GPPS arena, is there a market for them?

Colony stats
Workers: 37+
Brood: yes
Temp: 24.9 degrees
Humidity: 56%
User avatar
By Cyrus01
#23304
09/09/2017
I didn't realise it had been so long since I updated this one. They are now in their new small set up, a test tube with a robj mini outworld. I took the antkit nest out of the set up as they weren't visiting it at all. Growth is still happening, not sure if it's at a normal pace or not. They are up to 46 workers and there is still a brood pile of mixers stages. Not sure if it's just lasius niger or the lack of their first winter hibernation, but I expected there to be more workers than 46 by now. Hopefully after the winter things will pick up. I'm planning their hibernation already, this year all my ants will be in the loft in a exo terra incubator. It has a good temperature control and fairly compact unit. The lasius will be going into hibernation in October, unless any one can correct me on that time.

Colony stats
Workers: 46
Brood: yes
Temp: 20.3 degrees
Humidity: 60%

Hello, Would like to know more about your set-up. […]

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@Hyperion found one