Unexplained Crematogaster Cerasi Deaths

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matxgx
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:39 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Unexplained Crematogaster Cerasi Deaths

Post: # 37512Post matxgx
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:58 pm

I have a small colony of about 15 - 20 Crematogaster Cerasi ants in a Tar Heels ants Founding Formicarium. They seemed to be doing great until about a week ago and now about 10 of the ants have died. I'm hoping someone can help me understand why.

They're kept at appx. 75 - 86 degrees, with the "Nest Mate" and Tower both regularly filled with water. I feed them once or twice a week a diet of fruit flies and honey (non-diluted) in a drinking straw that's cut to maybe half an inch in length. They regularly visit the straw.

I usually put the fruit flies in boiling water before feeding them to the ants (I've read that it can kill unwanted mites), but put between 1 and 5 or so in the outworld alive. They love the fruit flies. The ants seemed to be really thriving before the die off.

A few things stand out as possibilities.
  • Shortly before they died I tried feeding the ants "Raw Manuka Honey" (which they refused to take) instead of the normal clover honey.
  • I fed them two pellets of Cat Food that were soaked in water and mushed to make it easy for them to eat. I'm suspicious this may have caused the deaths. I did witness one ant walking oddly near the cat foot pellet mush.
  • I placed around 8 - 10 living fruit flies in the outworld shortly before their death also. They're gone so while I didn't witness it, but I'm sure the ants hunted them as they usually do. I've never seen fruit flies attack the ants, so I'm doubtful they caused it

An odd behavior I witnessed before the 10 or so ants died was that those ants seemed to want to live in the garbage/dump area. I'm not sure if they died of age or not. They may have been with the colony since I purchased them in April.

The queen and 5 or so workers inside the nest seem to be doing ok. They're tending larva so I'm hoping everything is fine.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what may have caused the others to die?

tetriminoss
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:08 am
Location: mississauga

Re: Unexplained Crematogaster Cerasi Deaths

Post: # 37524Post tetriminoss
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:47 pm

How often do you approach the colony for any reason?
-stress may cause some deaths.

Did you feed them as soon as they emerge from the cocoon?
-ants may or may not have their exoskeleton completely dried, causing them to be injured pretty easily or avoid getting in contact to anything while waiting for their exoskeleton to dry.

Any chance of unbalanced / unvaried diet?
-might want to mix some varieties for different vitamin intake

Anything odd on your keeping space?
-there might be something growing that you might not want.

all of these coming from beginner ant keeper, but might help looking at things might have been overlooked
New ant keeper

matxgx
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:39 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Unexplained Crematogaster Cerasi Deaths

Post: # 37531Post matxgx
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:11 pm

I've setup a bunch of tiny ATM (ELP) IP Cameras watching the areas (outworld, feeding area in the outworld, and dum) so I can see it all from my desktop or cellphone without bothering them too much. Maybe once every two to three days I'll look inside the nest itself, which is usually covered with a thick terrarium carpet to block out light.

I feed them regularly, so not entirely sure if it's when they come out of cocoon or not.

I think the diet is really unvaried like you're suggesting - that's why I tried cat food pellets. I noticed thatTapinoma Sessile's were coming in to my house and eating my cats food, which prompted me trying it. I can try cricket legs easily, any other suggestions for food?

Outside of the potential heat being a little on the high side (it's in my 3rd floor office) I can't think of anything. I cleaned out the garbage/dump area last night (they devoted their founding test-tube to a dump area) and noticed there was some mold growing in there but not in the rest of the setup that I've seen.

matxgx
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:39 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Unexplained Crematogaster Cerasi Deaths

Post: # 37535Post matxgx
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:26 pm

This is basically the setup. Each of the cameras is streaming to my desktop. The violin rosin box is holding the covering blocking out light over the nest area.

Image

I have a nother nest on the left hand side for another species (prenolepis imparis).

tetriminoss
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:08 am
Location: mississauga

Re: Unexplained Crematogaster Cerasi Deaths

Post: # 37596Post tetriminoss
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:56 am

Try to vary your food, try giving them fruits(apple, orange, etc.) time to time instead of honey, just be sure that what you're gonna give is one of the food preferences of the ants.

Some other protein just like fruitfly or cricket leg just like you said.

Try to sterilize the test tube that they're using as a garbage dump.
New ant keeper

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