Camponotus Questions

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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Austheboss
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:17 pm
Location: Boston Area

Camponotus Questions

Post: # 31560Post Austheboss
Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:53 pm

I have a few questions about the Camponotus "colony" I am taking care of, with 6 workers, and around 10 larvae. I am kind of confused. So here goes.

A couple weeks ago I gave them a outworld with a base of model magic to even an uneven surface of a container. I though it was non toxic and wouldn't hurt the ants. They have been foraging I believe and were doing okay. Their diet consisted of crickets, (I boiled most but in a rush I think I forgot to do some) occasionally pet food, those rolley polleys in the garden, honey, and jams. I'm not sure they ate the proteins but I think they did because Campo accept a wide variety of foods. Their test tube has been moldy and water yellow for some time but I haven't been able to move them out.

However, here's were it gets weird. Last week, I was about to give them a new outworld with more room and a dry dirt bottom, when one of the workers stopped moving and was just lying in the test tube. I poked it to see what was up but it didn't move, and when one of the ants in the test tube bumped into it, they would ignore and run the other way. So I wasn't sure whether it was dead because this colony has been good with taking care of the test tube. I moved them into the new outworld anyways, thinking it may have possibly died (again, I don't know) from a disease, Model Magic, or unknown reasons. None other showed any similar behavior so I thought it was isolated. Then, 2 days ago in the new outworld they began to gather dirt and put it in the test tube. Like a LOT. I found one of the ants in the outworld before going to bed that looked kind of drunk, not moving much. With some persuasion, I got it back in the test tube. Then, yesterday, I checked on them and found the test tube plugged full with dirt, but with a little room for an ant to squeeze through. Today, I noticed 2 more ants lying on the test tube, not being moved by the fellow ants or queen. They other three ants were simply guarding eggs when I uncovered them. I will note that there is no noticeable mold from the unmoving ants.

So, after that lengthy explanation I have plenty of questions. Are the ants dead (one has been in there for around four days at this point)? Are they hiding and plugging the test tube from diseases killing them? Is this common behavior? Are they just hibernating, even with the ridiculously warm weather and humidity in my attic? Thanks in advance, and especially for actually reading this huge post.. :oops:

Austheboss
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:17 pm
Location: Boston Area

Re: Camponotus Deaths

Post: # 31615Post Austheboss
Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:04 am

Hey can I actually get some help with this I'm kind of worried. Still only three ants not moving, but they all look dead and the other ants are doing their best to keep the dirt filling the test tube to the brim. They have enclosed themselves in a one inch long space within the test tube. Can anyone lend any insight or suggestions?

MaxGen
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 9:26 am
Location: Toronto

Re: Camponotus Questions

Post: # 31618Post MaxGen
Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:14 am

Plugging the test tube up seems normal to me. They can control the humidity that way. My ants do it and they seem fine. Is it possible you are disturbing them too much checking on them? Maybe cover the tube with red acetate paper, tin foil, or paper towel to give them more privacy.

My Camponotus are much less active now, although in general, they seem to be a more sedate species than my Lasius and Tetramorium. It's possible they could be starting to prepare for diapause. It's not just temperature that makes them slow down, they know when winter is coming and start to get ready.

Why the deaths? I don't know. No sign of getting stuck and drowning in the honey or jam?

Austheboss
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:17 pm
Location: Boston Area

Re: Camponotus Questions

Post: # 31637Post Austheboss
Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:31 pm

Thanks you for replying.
Right now I have a circular piece of paper that slides onto the test tube, so maybe picking it up to check on them is too much. Ill get a leaf.
The good news is that none of the other workers or the queen seem to be acting strangely so this might have just been a controlled situation, perhaps with something they ate. But the weird thing is that the workers aren't taking care of the bodies, and I thought usually they move dead bodies. Right now I don't think they could with all the dirt, but before they piled the dirt in there they had a ton of time to drag the body out. Do they forget or sometimes don't drag the bodies out? I still haven't ruled out the possibility of them actually being alive, but they look really dead so I don't know. Thanks.

BTW I'll try to get some pictures to better show the situation.

Austheboss
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:17 pm
Location: Boston Area

Re: Camponotus Questions

Post: # 31638Post Austheboss
Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:07 pm

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RLf98WF1byideJLq1
This link should take you to some blurry pictures. Note the orange cotton and water. I've pointed out the ants with their legs curled up.

Cartil
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:13 am
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: Camponotus Questions

Post: # 31648Post Cartil
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:10 pm

I wouldn't really disturb them anymore. Like MaxGen said, they might be getting ready to hibernate or something.

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