First test tube set up - Mold - Help

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KrispyMallow
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:29 am
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11188Post KrispyMallow
Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:43 am

I have just started Ant keeping this year. I have caught 3 queens, all completely separate, 2 have passed due to what I believe was dehydration or stress, both didn't lay eggs (lack of a good test tube set-up and my ignorance). The 3rd however was doing very well until 2 days ago, i spotted mold on the cotton blocking the water storage. It isn't bad, yet, only 3 little spore looking things, she doesn't seem to even care about them, still drinks from the moldy cotton... She is coming up on 2 weeks since I caught her, so this mold grew pretty quickly. Also, she laid eggs 2 days after I caught her, which I feel was quick as well, looks like upwards of 30, almost like sugar grains. Been keeping her in my sock drawer at roughly 73-76 degrees (AC home). Yesterday I connected a new test tube with water and taped the entrances of both tubes together, made sure to leave a small crack for air in the tape. I'm very worried about this mold. I have read online many queens raise the full brood despite mold on the cotton. My queen is so young though so are her eggs, and her being my first successful one to make it this far is very heart wrenching. I don't want to stress her out too much. The test tube set-up isn't the best. The tubes I have, have very small entrance holes (more like a bottle) and it makes the cotton squish, so the cotton holding the water reservoir in the back is actually too loose, I think this was my vital error. So other then venting to this community, which I share a common love with... Does anyone have any further suggestions? I will upload pics or link pics if desired. I have not identified her. I believe she is either some type of Camponotus or Formica. I live in South Carolina, USA, within a couple miles of the beach. Thank you all so much for your time and help. #AntLove

Skip to 1:20 in this video to see the eggs. Sorry for the quality of pics and video, my phone has trouble focusing.
https://www.facebook.com/ZachMills.Kris ... 4471827639
Due note the pics and video are at my 5 day mark. She is now at about 11 days.

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

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11194Post Batspiderfish
Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:53 pm

I can't watch the video. A pic would be nice. A little bit of mold is usually not a problem -- usually it gets bad when there are some sort of insect remains in there (why you should not usually feed fully-claustral queens).
Links:
Rules & Requirements for Identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=292

How to take pictures for identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2167

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JustJamel
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:27 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11201Post JustJamel
Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:24 pm

Batspiderfish wrote:I can't watch the video. A pic would be nice. A little bit of mold is usually not a problem -- usually it gets bad when there are some sort of insect remains in there (why you should not usually feed fully-claustral queens).
(I haven't attempted to watch the video yet, but I will!)

I am in agreement with BatSpiderFish though. According to (my VERY recent) study of the subject, a little mold is actually very common. It shouldn't be an issue unless there are insect remains and such present (food trash/residue), or a large amount of mold, which would only take you light forcing the queen out of her current tube, and into another that you have prepared.

Tips to preventing mold in the future:

1) Wash hands VERY well before handling the ant enclosure, and other components, with a mild soap. (I prefer dawn)
1.A) Gloves: In many instances we contaminate the enclosures before the ants ever get near them.

2) Wash tubes well with a mild soap (you know which one I prefer :lol: ), rinsing all soap from them, and allowing them a full 24hrs to dry, before setting them up.

3) Ensure that the cotton has not been contaminated with mold before hand. In many instances there are already mold spores present on cotton balls, depending on how they are stored. I usually buy brand new ones, and stick them in a freezer/ziploc bag to keep them sterile.

4) Install the cotton balls inside the tubes tightly.

5) [If possible] use purified water, and not tap water.
5.A) Do not put too much water inside of the tube. Excess water can cause a mold issue. I try to stay about a third of the way up from the bottom of the tube.

6) Do not wet the cotton balls before installing them. Fill the tube to a little bit more than where you want it, and allow the cotton to absorb it (considering that you pack the cotton tightly inside of the tube).

7) When caputuring queens, do not use the same tubes that you have captured them with, to begin your colony, without first cleaning it. I prefer to use a click cap vial (Thanks Mike) to capture queens, and then transfer them to the tubes that were already prepared for them.

8) Ensure that the temperature isn't fluctuating from hot to cold, as condensation is likely to build up where the queen is residing.

9) If and when you feed your ants within the tube, do not place more than they will consume within the tube, as when the food begins to decompose, it can be a breeding ground for mold to grow on, especially insect parts --OR-- as soon as you see that the ants have finished with the food you provided, tend to cleaning it asap. [If possible] Invest in ant protein jelly. It is easy to distribute, and you don't have to worry about cleaning up leftovers, if you put the right amount that the ants need.

10) Set a schedule for how often you handle the ants during this beginning stage, and stick to it. I try my best to limit my contact with the queen to ONLY feeding and taking a gander to make sure that things are ok. Constant interaction with the enclosure, be it opening and closing, touching, etc. can most certainly lead to mold problems, because we become kind of lackadaisical, and not think about the potential hazards we pose to the ants.

These aren't steps that every single ant keeper must take, and results may vary. These are just things that I do to ensure that my ants get the best care, and prevent whatever issues I may have in the future. :)

I hope they help. :D
Just Jamel

There is nothing you can add to unique perfection.
Stay uniquely perfected my friends. 8-)

KrispyMallow
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:29 am
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11206Post KrispyMallow
Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:31 pm

Abundant thanks! Valuable info, some things I hadn't considered. Going to borrow a camera for better pictures (Or buy one). Queen currently seems fine and the mold is staying at the same size.

KrispyMallow
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:29 am
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11207Post KrispyMallow
Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:35 pm

Image

KrispyMallow
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:29 am
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11208Post KrispyMallow
Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:42 pm

These are from right when she laid eggs, you can't see the eggs though.
Image
Image

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 1349
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11212Post Batspiderfish
Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:07 am

You look to have yourself a RIFA queen, Solenopsis invicta. :twisted:
Links:
Rules & Requirements for Identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=292

How to take pictures for identification:
http://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2167

idahoantgirl
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11227Post idahoantgirl
Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:21 am

KrispyMallow wrote:These are from right when she laid eggs, you can't see the eggs though.
Image
Image
uh oh! solenopsis invicta! red imported fire ant queen! It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is only advised if you are very ready for a challenge. here is a link to ants canadas video on the ups and downs of keeping fire ants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfzPJnaKLq8
Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

KrispyMallow
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:29 am
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11228Post KrispyMallow
Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:26 am

Oh wow seriously?!.. This morning I found her escaped from the tubes, within the sock drawer. Was able to have her walk onto a piece of paper and gently slid her back in the original tube. I have since just left her within the original tube, the mold doesn't seem to be so big of an issue. If this is a RIFA, is she fully or semi claustral?

KrispyMallow
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:29 am
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: First test tube set up - Mold - Help

Post: # 11694Post KrispyMallow
Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:01 pm

A small update.

She was not interested in the alternate tube what-so-ever. I tried to use regular indoor light to encourage her, but no luck. It seemed to slightly stress her out, she began pulling on much of the cotton and even digging at the glass sides a bit. Fortunately this has seemed to work out in my favor against the mold, she inadvertently (I believe) cleared all of the mold off the cotton! I returned her to the dark sanctity of the sock drawer after only 6-8 hours of light encouragement. 1 small single mold spot has since popped back up in the same place on the cotton, but she seems fine and is still interested in her eggs. No more cotton pulling the past couple days. Will be sure to post the nanitics as soon as they arrive. Thank you so much JustJamel! Your advice calmed me down and is just good advice in general, I appreciate it. I also appreciate the identification everybody!

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