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By Zoboo2006
#23655
Hi guys & gals, I'm Zoe and I'm as new as you can probably get in the ant keeping world :). I am hoping to learn lots and manage to successfully home a little ant colony of my own. I live in the UK and was hounded by my 10 year old son to watch video upon video of ant keeping/species/info etc as he was and still is obsessed with ants. I soon became amazed by these tiny creatures and was glad when he asked for a formacarium for his birthday woohoo!!We are all set up and 1 x mated queen & 1x worker have lived happily for about 3 months now, until today I came home to see the worker dead ;( I feel ridiculous being upset over an ant but I was really hoping for some success with our little ants. They are camponotus nicobarensis and now it is a single queen, who may I add hasn't laid any eggs yet either :( I'm hoping for a bit of advice on them and what I may be doing wrong as I'm desperate to keep the queenie alive and to produce some eggs :) any advice will be gratefully received. Thanks in advance, Zoe x
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By Cursico
#23752
Hey Zoe! Welcome! c;

First workers (known as Niantics) do not live very long and may die within a couple of weeks. Usually this is long enough for the Queen to have more brood to hatch.
However- being November it's hibernation time for your Queen. This means it's possible she won't have laid eggs because of the time of year and you'll want to leave her until about Mid-February and offer sugar water and protein (jelly protein is probably best for a lone Queen since insects require more energy to chew up). If she's only had a single worker in the past she would still try to raise brood alone.
If she had many workers in the past who did everything for her who have since died- unfortunately she won't start working again and likely won't care for any brood.

There is also another option that your Queen was stressed out and this is why she hasn't laid eggs (some Queens still lay all the way up to hibernation... then eat the eggs when it gets cold anyway). Having an excited 10-year-old obviously makes this part more difficult- but you have to leave a Queen be in it's founding stages. That means no noise, no light, and minimal disturbance. Even the sound of your voice could upset a new Queen.
The bigger the colony gets the less this matters- as a Queen feels safer among a horde of workers than she does all alone.
Unfortunately if you have a stressed Queen all you can do is leave her be- and hope for the best as stress can kill them.

When you have young children- it is always worth buying a colony with a good 20-50 workers or so as the Queen will be much more robust and not as sensitive to vibrations, noises and light. Then when you get to 500+ workers you can pretty much have a party next to the ants and the Queen will keep laying.
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By Serafine
#23753
Camponotus nicobarensis doesn't hibernate.

You can try to give her a fruit fly or a small spider (the ones you can catch around the house are perfectly fine, just don't take a large one) - just put it in the freezer for a day and then carefully push it into the test tube.
Fruit flies can be bought at most pet stores, you can put them on the shelf for a day or two and then just put the whole cup into the freezer (technically that's a waste because you could harvest it 3-4 times but that doesn't really matter because even a cup with 200 fruit flies will last for at least 3-6 months).
A drop of sugar water or honey on a piece of tinfoil is also helpful (take it out of the test tube after 2-3 days before it starts to mold).

After feeding her put the queen's tube to a warm dark place and forget about her for 4 weeks (they take at least 6 weeks to got from egg to worker, so you won't miss anything). The temperature should be between 24 and 28°C.

You can also find a lot of helpful information here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/antkeeping/com ... ful_links/
https://www.reddit.com/r/antkeeping/com ... what_next/

p.s. Camponotus nicobarensis can grow really big really fast, so if she actually manages to raise a first batch of workers take that into account and plan ahead.

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