Simple question - surprisingly hard to find the answer

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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Simple question - surprisingly hard to find the answer

Post: # 26762Post Verani
Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:40 am

Hi all. This is my first post on this forum so please forgive me it if is not up to standard. I just have one question for which i cant seem to find the answer...

Recently i caught a lasius niger queen and, because the numptual flight occured before my testubes etc arrived but after my main formicarium arrived, i placed her inside the soil formicarium and made a small tunnel to get her started. The next day she had settled in, sealed it off and Now has several eggs.

My question is this, i have been keeping the soil moist for her and i know that during this period (before gen 1 of the workers mature) she will not eat, and lives off of her wing muscles, but does she need to drink?

If so, can she survive from drinking the moisture in the soil or do i need to give her something extra?

I really dont want to have to disturb her but i would rather that than have her dehydrate. Thank you for any help you can offer.
(Ok so it was two questions not one)

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Re: Simple question - surprisingly hard to find the answer

Post: # 26993Post dinoman9877
Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:04 am

Now I have yet to keep a queen. I only find them when driving or at work where I won't be getting out any time soon, but I can make some deductions.

Animals can't go long without water. Ants included. As it is the queen starves herself almost to the brink by the time the first workers arrive. I would think queens need at least some water during the time that the workers cannot go and get it from constant sources.

Ants also like to fly when it rains as the soil to make new colonies is easy to dig from the moisture. I would not find it out of the question that it also goes with giving the queens some much needed water. The caudal queens will NOT leave the chamber they dig. The only time queens leave is when they need to move nests, and this is seldom before the colony is established. She must get water from somewhere. I'd say it's likely that wild queen ants will drink from the soil while the rains are constant. Regardless some ants will make due. We had four summers almost in a row before this year of yellow grass and caked earth but the ants are still here.

Still, someone who has raised ants may know.

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Re: Simple question - surprisingly hard to find the answer

Post: # 26996Post Batspiderfish
Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:50 am

Ants get most of their moisture from the air, so you only need to worry about the soil staying humid or slightly damp.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

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Re: Simple question - surprisingly hard to find the answer

Post: # 26997Post Verani
Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:29 am

Thank you for the help. Some useful information from you both.

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Re: Simple question - surprisingly hard to find the answer

Post: # 26999Post Jesseant
Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:57 am

Hi like the others were saying if your queen is now is her new set up and is buried depending on the Size of her chamber you made for her what I would do is depending on the formicarium (if it is dirt or plastic etc...) I would if it is dit maybe take a eye dropper and fill it with water (after rinsing it out) and the apply drop after drop near one end untill you believe the ground on that end is moist enough and just do this as you feel needed. Thats what I would do if I were in your situation but then again I am not expert on this topic so...
Keeper of a founding tetramorium sp. e

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