Formica Fusca Care

Questions from those who are just starting or considering getting into the ant keeping hobby. If you’re intimidated or confused by the in-depth posts of the other sections of this forum, feel free to post here, and we'll start from square one!

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SpooderAnt
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:52 pm
Location: Concord, North Carolina

Formica Fusca Care

Post: # 30208Post SpooderAnt
Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:47 am

So I'm buying a formica fusca queen from a GAN farmer in Wake Forest, NC. As long as the ants aren't bought before I can get to them before anyone else grabs them up, I'll have my first colony! This isn't likely to be the case as there are three queens for sale so I've really got my hopes up and I'm super excited.

But back to my question. Is there any difference of care needed for formica fusca than other ant species such as lasius sp. or camponotus sp.? I've put all my research into lasius niger but unfortunately didn't have the chance to go out during the lasius nuptial flight, so this is my second resort. I'd rather hear from ant keepers who have had formica sp. before instead of searching the internet for possibly outdated/incorrect information so I'm just asking here.

Also, do I need to feed formica sp. queens while they're laying? What should I feed them if so? Just honey drops and bug bits?

Thank you!
Currently Housing:

- Formica Fusca

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Serafine
Posts: 428
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:23 am
Location: Germany

Re: Formica Fusca Care

Post: # 30246Post Serafine
Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:37 pm

Formica fusca is pretty much the Lasius niger of the Formica genus. They are fairly resilient and can adapt to a lot of environments.
The queen doesn't need food during founding but will probably take a small drop of sugar water if you offer her one.

The best way to handle her once she gets her first workers is to put her test tube into an outworld, cover the tube and offer some sugar water or honey and a dead fruit fly or a small dead spider just at the doorstep. Leave them inside the test tube as long as they want and if it runs dry offer a fresh one. When they have 20+ workers you can attach the nest to the outworld but it's unlikely that they will move before they have 50+ workers. Don't force them to move, this can seriously stall their development.
My Camponotus lived in their test tube for over 8 months (went from 4 workers to about 80) before they moved on their own and rewarded me with a population explosion after they moved into the nest (from 80 to over 200 in less than a month).
"We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull."

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 2383
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Formica Fusca Care

Post: # 30260Post Batspiderfish
Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:40 pm

They are also the Lasius niger of the Formica genus because these, too, don't really exist in North America the way people think they do. GAN doesn't have anybody verifying the identities of the colonies being sold, but I'm sure that the black Formica will not disappoint you. :D

Their care is pretty straightforward -- make sure they get plenty of fresh food and that their outworld is clean. Also know that they will not keep any brood over the winter, so no need to panic in the fall when the queen is not laying.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

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Serafine
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Location: Germany

Re: Formica Fusca Care

Post: # 30276Post Serafine
Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:22 am

Antmaps says Formica fusca is native in several US states (but then it's probably like Tetramorium with the spE complex and the caespitum-impurum complex, they're not exactly the same in NA and EU).
"We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull."

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Batspiderfish
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Location: Maine

Re: Formica Fusca Care

Post: # 30287Post Batspiderfish
Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:39 am

Formica fusca in North America is being replaced taxonomixally with the likes of Formica subaenescens and Formica accreta. I haven't seen F. fusca showing up in newer field guides either. Granted, I wouldn't trust just anybody to competently identify Formica. Their diversity is vastly underappreciated by many hobbyists.

Lasius niger has an unnamed sister species in North America, but it would seem that any other instances of this ant are non-native. Almost every single claim of Lasius niger has actually turned out to be Lasius alienus or L. neoniger/L. pallitarsis. Else, sometimes Formica...

And to conclude this rant, there are at least 33 species of Myrmica in the U.S. which are not M. rubra; Myrmica also being a genus which is extremely difficult to identify -- nigh impossible without a microscope (although there is a trick for pointing out M. rubra).
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

SpooderAnt
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:52 pm
Location: Concord, North Carolina

Re: Formica Fusca Care

Post: # 30317Post SpooderAnt
Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:56 pm

Thanks, all of you! I've only just noticed all these replies, so sorry for being so late!

I do have one more question, do they bite or sting?
Currently Housing:

- Formica Fusca

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