Camponotus queen refuses to move into the test tube. Need help!

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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WitchDoc
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Camponotus queen refuses to move into the test tube. Need help!

Post: # 58842Post WitchDoc
Wed May 29, 2019 10:02 am

This is probably too long but I'm having a few problems and questions about my camponotus colony and I'll try to hopefully give enough information. I have a colony of what I'm pretty sure is Camponotus irritans. I've forgotten exactly when I caught them but they currently have 5 workers with a few eggs and larvae for their brood. I started noticing problems back when they had around 4 workers. I wasn't quite sure when to starting giving them proteins but I saw pieces of a dead worker next to a larvae one day and noticed one worker was missing. (I'm not how she died but I assumed she was killed).

So I took it as a sign and immediately bought some mealworms and fed them to the colony the next day. They didn't seem too excited upon discovering it but the next day I saw that they dragged a piece of mealworm back into their test tube. This was a good sign I thought. Stuff started growing on the walls after a while and the test tube was getting dirtier so I decided to attach their test tube to an AC test tube portal together with another clean test tube for them to move into.

At first, the queen and workers, together with the brood, were in the new test tube after a few days so I detached the old test tube. But the next day after they moved in, I noticed the queen sitting outside in the tight space between the cover and the platform above the test tube holes. I didn't think too much of it at that time since I kept the entire setup in a dark cabinet so the queen probably found that spot more comfortable. She eventually returned into the test tube as well.

However, I recently cut up a mealworm and placed it into the test tube portal with a small piece of apple. And the next day, I found the queen in that tight space again, except this time it wasn't just her but the entire colony. (even the brood) I didn't know what to do and decided to just leave them be for the time being instead of potentially stressing them out, until I noticed another missing worker today and found two other workers chewing(?) at the dead pieces of their once alive worker. I thought the first worker dying was just a freak accident but now with the second one, I'm really starting to get worried about the survivability of my colony. I have since covered the test tube in paper and exposed the test tube portal to some light to encourage the ants to move back into the test tube so I can clean the food. The workers and brood have been moved but the queen refuses to and stays in that same spot she's usually in. I have seen the workers pulling at her to try to get her to move forcefully but to no avail.

Sorry for such a long post but I'm new to ant keeping and I'm getting really worried since this is the only colony I have atm. Are there any glaring mistakes that I'm making and should change? Are there reasons for the colony to supposedly kill their own workers even after I have provided sources of protein that they seem to accept? I'm worried the workers will injure the queen in their efforts to get her to move, will she be okay? Please provide any helpful tips that you guys know too! I'll try to provide as much information as I can if needed to help my colony.

JoeHostile1
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Re: Camponotus queen refuses to move into the test tube. Need help!

Post: # 58947Post JoeHostile1
Fri May 31, 2019 9:40 am

Are you providing a sugar source as well? I would make a fresh test tube. Maybe that one is contaminated some how and it’s killing the workers.
Keeping:
Tetramorium immigrans * Lasius Neoniger * Lasius Claviger * Messor Aciculatus * Myrmica Rubra * Camponotus Novaeboracensis * Camponotus Turkastanus * Pheidole Pallidula

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSfFtn6RegZ3F1NdS1g08NA

WitchDoc
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Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 9:12 am
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Re: Camponotus queen refuses to move into the test tube. Need help!

Post: # 58952Post WitchDoc
Fri May 31, 2019 1:35 pm

JoeHostile1 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:40 am
Are you providing a sugar source as well? I would make a fresh test tube. Maybe that one is contaminated some how and it’s killing the workers.
Yes, I've provided sugar water, some honey, maple syrup, and small pieces of apples, they don't really seem too interested for some reason though. And for the test tube part, one worker died in the old and moldy one, and one more when I added a new test tube and removed the old one, so I'm not too sure about that either.

JoeHostile1
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:51 am
Location: Canada
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Re: Camponotus queen refuses to move into the test tube. Need help!

Post: # 58953Post JoeHostile1
Fri May 31, 2019 1:47 pm

Perhaps the worker was already infected with mold. And by the time you moved them into the new one it was to late for that worker. Also some ants just don’t make it. Could be some sort of defect. But I have seen workers that were born die shortly after.

Other things to consider is the set up is too hot, there is something toxic in their set up or something contaminating the air in their set up. They can easily die from lack of humidity, but this isn’t a problem inside test tubes.

And what did you mean test tube “holes”?
Keeping:
Tetramorium immigrans * Lasius Neoniger * Lasius Claviger * Messor Aciculatus * Myrmica Rubra * Camponotus Novaeboracensis * Camponotus Turkastanus * Pheidole Pallidula

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSfFtn6RegZ3F1NdS1g08NA

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