Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Share your Ant Journals, Youtube Channels, and Blogs with the global ant community

Moderator: ooper01

Post Reply
User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 23643Post Hikari
Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:18 am

xTNxANTMANx wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:12 am
First off I'd like to say I really like how detailed you are with your Journal. I think I keep up with yours more than any LOL. I need to stop slacking and get mine up to date. As far as your new formicaria I too had seen the post about making those and thought about trying. Now seeing yours I think this weekend is going to be DIY formicaria weekend as well LOL. I can get a stack of three at my local Walmart for $3 I think and I've already got the grout I need from a construction job I did months ago laying tile. As far as your hydration goes though what kind of Wick are you using? Or is it just cotton? I've seen people put cotton in the finger of a cotton glove and tie the finger off after cutting it off the glove of course and using that as a wick per se.
Oh, thanks! Sometimes I worry I update TOO much, but I really do have fun updating this, and it makes me happy that people can enjoy reading it, especially since I'm so new to all of this (or maybe that's part of the charm? XD ). I can only imagine what it'll be like once I actually have workers. I'll probably end up trying videos at some point. I have gotten so fond of Maya at this point, it's ridiculous, lol. Not surprising though, she's my first queen ever.

Anyways, about the formicaria. The wick is indeed a cotton glove finger cut off and stuffed with cotton, and I used polyester thread to tie it off at the bottom (less likely to degrade in the water). The post I linked to has the main instructions on making these, my build just added a few things. Some tips I can also give you, based on my experience with these:
- Make sure when you are putting things together, you mark where you want things on the outside while the stack is screwed together, especially if you want the holes in the sides or the side paths to line up. I used a sharpie on the outside and washed it off at the end with rubbing alcohol. Also helps if you're making multiples at one to mark the sections. I did 1-1, 1-2, etc., 2-1, 2-2, etc. to keep everything organized, otherwise things won't go back together how you planned.
- If you need a 1/2 sized holes like I did, I've had better luck making clean holes by drilling a starter hole, then using a pair of scissors (I suppose a knife could also work) to twist and scrape the plastic til the hole is big enough. Drill bits melt this plastic, and if you're not careful, you can crack it. I've heard step bits make things easier, but I didn't have them.
- The plastic also doesn't hold the grout well, so take something to the plastic to roughen it up anywhere you plan to put it (I used a rotary tool bit, but rough sandpaper should suffice) . I added sand to my grout, but only because I couldn't find pure perlite (with no additives) to crush up and use instead. I wish I could have found a finer grain sand. Settled for aquarium sand. The sand or perlite mixed in will help the moisture spread. Should at least be used on the bottom layer. (2 parts grout/1 part sand or perlite). Keep it a paste-like consistency and use a brush to dab it in place, and it should adhere to even the walls no problem til it dries.
- I had issues with aquarium silicone adhering to my particular containers...it didn't cure right. I used hot glue instead (it's non-toxic). You may or may not have that problem, but be aware it's a possibility. If you don't want to use either, you could also try that 2-part epoxy stuff. It's ant safe once it fully cures.
- I could use wider metal mesh for my Camponotus, but I'd probably order something finer for smaller species. My mesh came from those grease splash guards for pans. I found them at Dollar Tree.

I think those are all the things that gave me trouble. If you have any other questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 23739Post Hikari
Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:59 pm

- (6/29/17) So, today I decided to let Onyxia go. She just wasn't doing anything, and the two eggs I managed to salvage were also rotting. I released her under a rotting tree with lots of wood she could burrow in if she decides to. I don't think she's gonna make it considering her gaster dent, but I figure she can at least have her taste of freedom if she doesn't instead of wasting away in a test tube.

Also, the Formica ants that live under our burnpile were out and about, and I decided to go poking around their colony. I lifted a few decent sized pieces of rock and found pupa! They were quick to try moving them, but I managed to snag a few for my Formica queen, as well as some eggs and a few larva that got caught in the scuffle. I went for the smaller worker-sized pupa, but they also had a bunch that were huge! I wonder if those were majors or alates? Kinda hoping they're the latter, cause I really am hoping they have a nuptial flight around my yard later this year. At any rate, my Formica queen has been brood-boosted, though I don't know if that'll help anything or not. She seems to be avoiding them like the plague at the moment...though I imagine they probably smell a bit like the colony they came from. Hope she warms up to them. I got bit up pretty good by angry worker ants for her (my poor ankles...).

User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 23790Post Hikari
Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:13 pm

- (6-30-17) It seems the Formica queen has accepted her new brood. I saw her perched on top of the pupa earlier, and just a bit ago I noticed she had moved the larva to a separate area and seemed to be giving them some attention. No idea on the status of the eggs, they're too hard to see in that thing, but I'm actually hoping she ate them to get her strength up. I'm still providing her a sugar/protein mix via cotton as well, though lord knows if she's actually drinking it. Either way, I'm hoping with this new development, she may yet still surprise me.

All the remaining C. penn queens are still doing well. Terra and Freya took little time in getting used to their new homes, and like to hang out on the back side of the bottom level where it's warmest. I decided to add the top layer back on, so they now have the option to go to the middle level, in case they want someplace drier, but they seem content where they are. The top level is cottoned off. I'll open it once workers arrive. I'm still debating on if I want it to double as a small outworld or not (though for a handful of workers, it'd probably be perfect).

User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 23970Post Hikari
Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:02 am

- (7-3-17) Tonight was an excellent night for anting! The weather was perfect, and it managed to not rain so the temp and humidity stayed higher into the night. Took my dog on a walk and saw this epic battle:

Image

I also caught three Tetramorium sp.e queens during the walk!

Image
(here's one of them)

I do plan on keeping one of them, I've heard they're fun.
I also caught a very angry, bitey C. pennsylvanicus queen, bringing my total back up to four after releasing Onyxia:

Image
(The tips of her wings were torn in the scuffle and she's currently pulling at the cotton on her tube. Given my track record with this species, might just toss her in the bead container formicarium right off the bat to see what happens.)

Also, last night I made a Walmart run to aquire a cheap 24" blacklight and a white sheet. The set-up is simple, but effective:

Image

And lo and behold, there was a flight tonight! I managed to catch four Temnothorax curvispinosus queens! They were still winged when I found them, but wasted no time getting rid of them, and were all wingless by the time they were put in their individual test tubes. Not sure yet if I want to try keeping any or not, but it might be fun seeing as they'd be my only yellow-colored ants in my collection. Their size might also make things tricky, but I figure if I can keep the Tetramorium contained, they should be fine too.

Image
(unfortunately, this was the best I could do picturewise. They are pretty small at only 4mm, and my camera struggles with anything like that. Google the species if you want to see better pics)

So yeah, I was excited. After so many tries and no luck, I've gotten two new species! I'm really happy I have wooded areas and stuff in my yard, cause it really seems to help with the ant diversity. I keep finding so many different kinds. It's gonna be even more fun now that I can blacklight for them.

P.S. - No activity on the current queen front, though I am hoping to see Maya's first nanitic within the next two weeks. I need to start figuring out how I want to design her colony's outworld.

xTNxANTMANx
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:03 am
Location: Western Tennessee

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 24007Post xTNxANTMANx
Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:57 am

Okay now I don't know what's up with Tennessee but I am seeing Tetramorium caught all around my state. Kentucky Alabama Virginia even higher north than Kentucky and lower than Alabama but yet I haven't seen the first Tetramorium caught in Tennessee. To me the workers look a lot like Aphaenogaster so maybe sometimes I'm saying them and just not knowing but I'm pretty sure I haven't yet. Tetramorium is one of my dream species so I'm hoping somebody can catch some and sell/trade with me. Solenopsis richteri was also one of my top species and I was able to acquire to Queens over the weekend from a friend a couple Towns over. Good luck with your Tetramorium. They are supposed to be a really fun species and fast-growing
Keeping:
Camponotus subbarbatus
Camponotus pennsylvanicus x2
Crematogaster ashmeadi
Crematogaster missouriensis
Formica pallidefulva x2
Formica subsericea x2
Lasius sp x2
Pheidole sp. x3
Tetramorium immigrans x2
Unknown sp.

User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 24031Post Hikari
Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:18 pm

xTNxANTMANx wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:57 am
Okay now I don't know what's up with Tennessee but I am seeing Tetramorium caught all around my state. Kentucky Alabama Virginia even higher north than Kentucky and lower than Alabama but yet I haven't seen the first Tetramorium caught in Tennessee. To me the workers look a lot like Aphaenogaster so maybe sometimes I'm saying them and just not knowing but I'm pretty sure I haven't yet. Tetramorium is one of my dream species so I'm hoping somebody can catch some and sell/trade with me. Solenopsis richteri was also one of my top species and I was able to acquire to Queens over the weekend from a friend a couple Towns over. Good luck with your Tetramorium. They are supposed to be a really fun species and fast-growing
I found all my Tetramorium queens on sidewalk. If there's an area nearby with pavement, preferably the smooth, lighter colored concrete, they're easy to spot when you run across them. Also found mine towards the evening, right as the sun was starting to set, although I think they can be found in the mornings as well. Don't give up yet!

And yeah, I've heard they're fun! I saw the vid AC did about them a while back. Looking forward to seeing how these gals do. Also looking forward to the Temnothorax. I've looked into them more, and I really do want to keep them now. I'm currently looking for ways to make a mini formicarium for them. They normally nest in acorns and other tiny spaces, and I've heard their colonies don't get very big, despite being tiny ants. That'll make things a bit easier.

User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 24086Post Hikari
Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:13 am

Update time! Lots has happened!

- (7-5-17) Unfortunately, my Formica queen didn't make it. While she was perched over the brood, she apparently didn't tend to them, and they molded. It was hard for me to notice til it was too late. Oh well. I wasn't keeping my hopes up anyways.
I spent the afternoon looking in acorns I could find for more Temnothorax queens, since they'd just flown. Little did I realize just how many types of ants will live in acorns. I found a decent-sized Temnothorax curvispinosis colony, 5 small Myrmica sp. colonies, a small Ponera Pennsylvanica colony, and a founding Tapinoma sessile queen with eggs. I also found a Lasius umbratus queen (again) in the leaf litter while looking for said acorns. It's crazy. All those days looking on the pavement with few results, and I found all that in one afternoon of acorn-hunting, lol.

I actually really like the way the Ponera look, but I've heard they can be tricky to keep and there's not a lot of info on them. Still, I have learned that they need very high humidity and small soft-bodied invertebrate to eat, and I should be able to provide both. They currently have a special test tube, where I lined the bottom with damp cotton, bumped against the water plug so it stays wet. I can make them a bead container formicarium with the grout...those seem to absorb moisture really well. I'll need to hunt down some springtails or fruit flies for them though. They don't seem to care for the small piece of cut-up mealworm I've provided. I love the fact that their colonies stay super small though, around only 100 workers according to wikipedia. With as small as they are, they wouldn't need much space at all (much like the Temnothorax I caught too).

- (7-6-17) One of Maya's pupa looks darker than the rest. Kinda greyish. I hope that means I'll get my first nanitic soon. I've really been looking forward to that. I'll have to buy them a container to make into an outworld soon too. I plan on getting some tomorrow.

I also need to start deciding which species I really want to keep, and which I'll sell. I know Maya isn't going anywhere, so that's my C.penn. The Ponera and Temnothorax wouldn't get too big, so I could keep those two as well. The big debate is how many of the others I'd want to keep. The Lasius would be cool if I can find her brood. I've heard Tetramorium are also fun. I still have my heart set on a Formica though too. How many might be too many for a newbie though? I don't think six would be too much if two of them are extremely small, and it's not like the C. penn colony will be getting huge anytime soon either. It's mainly the Tetramorium's growth I'd have to worry about :P

Also need to decide if I want to split this journal into multiple smaller journals for individual colonies, or keep it as one collective journal. Although, if it's the latter, I'd probably have to get the name of this thread changed :P

User avatar
Hikari
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 24134Post Hikari
Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:07 am

- (7-7-17) Maya's first nanitic eclosed today!

Image

I was a bit worried at first, cause earlier it appeared to still have a bit of cocoon wrapped around two of its hindlegs, but when I checked later, the offending piece had been removed. She was already hard at work helping mom with the rest of the brood. I put some honey on a piece of cotton in the formicarium for them, thinking maybe the nanitic would forage for it. Maya found it first, and after realizing it was not, in fact, an intruder, she started eating it. I imagine she was quite hungry at this point, so I'm not surprised.

Also today, I found a new Formica queen while I was out earlier, we'll see how things go with this one. Hopefully she's mated. Also found a 3 queen colony of what I think is a Solenopsis sp. (they're TINY). Most common in my area would be S. molesta. Took forever to round them up though, omg. 1/10 would not recommend. I probably wouldn't have bothered, but this is the first time I've found a multi-queen species. Still, if I keep going for these small ant species, I really should think about investing in an aspirator. I'm making them a small specially-made bead container formicarium, cause otherwise they're going to be impossible to feed. They try and escape the test tube as soon as I pull away the cotton.

I also think I need to stop collecting new ants for a bit til I figure out what I'm going to do with the ones I have... So many species...so many choices...

User avatar
CreeperUniverse
Posts: 194
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:22 am
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 24138Post CreeperUniverse
Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:00 am

Has always been my dream temperate species. 2 years and I still can't find them!
CHECK OUT MY ANT DISCORD: https://discord.gg/WwbhPgZ
Arman, proud owner of A LOT animals.:geek: :D
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmcakL3NCiQYMLm-6mifzPQ

Keeper of: Nylanderia sp. (Hibernation)
Founding: Crematogaster sp.

User avatar
CreeperUniverse
Posts: 194
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:22 am
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus journal

Post: # 24139Post CreeperUniverse
Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:06 am

Hikari wrote:
Sat May 27, 2017 11:50 pm
- (5-27-17) Maya is doing well. No new eggs that I can see, granted, she is almost always on top of the pile guarding them at this point. Onyxia is up to six eggs! She seems to be doing well so far despite her gaster dent.

My Tar Heel Ants "Atom C" founding formicarium arrived today too. I was excited, but noticed it had a bit of an odor to it, like paint or something. Erring on the side of caution, I've been letting it air out under my fan (since I have no idea what the things are made out of). I plan on letting Maya move into it once it no longer worries me. Not a huge deal, since I'm patient. Onyxia will have to remain in a test tube set-up for the time being though, since I wasn't expecting to acquire a second queen. She doesn't seem to mind though, and I'd like to make sure she'll even survive in the longer term first before getting anything fancier. Might just do the thing where I put her tube in a critter carrier outworld if she manages to get to the worker stage.
I also noticed a darn odor! Mack claimed it is harmless, but even after weeks of waiting, the smell stressed my ants to death! And it was my only colony! :evil:
CHECK OUT MY ANT DISCORD: https://discord.gg/WwbhPgZ
Arman, proud owner of A LOT animals.:geek: :D
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmcakL3NCiQYMLm-6mifzPQ

Keeper of: Nylanderia sp. (Hibernation)
Founding: Crematogaster sp.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest