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Troubled Queens

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:20 am
by TexanAnts
I recently picked up two queen Solenopsis ant queens in San Angelo, Texas. There were nuptial flights and I managed to grab two queens. One of them seemed very still and quiet, they did not lay eggs and just lay there, while the other laid eggs the very next day. I had them placed into an un-used drawer in the dark and only looked at them to take pictures, and follow up on this event.

I had seen a suggestion to give just enough honey to fill their gasters once(within 24 hours of catching them, which it was), then leave them until they raised their first workers. I did so, but that's when the trouble started. (caught Sept. 30, fed Oct. 1, escaped between then and now)

Queen 1 is the one that laid eggs, while Queen 2 is the sluggish one.

Queen 2 immediately went towards the honey, ate it, and returned to her test tube. I closed her off with cotton, double-checked her water level, and then left her in the dark. Queen 1 ate the honey, but later in the day. I plugged her tube with cotton once she returned to it, and left them in a drawer alone. Checking back yesterday hours for a final check-in before leaving them be, I'm not sure how she managed this, but Queen 1 had escaped. The cotton was completely pulled/pushed out of the test tube, and she was nowhere to be found. Queen 2, on the other hand, was dead. she was in her test tube perfectly, but was laying lifeless. I checked in later, and she was still there. Cue using light to prod her into moving but nothing. Had a sad moment.

Directly before writing this, Queen 1 crawled up the wall behind my computer and stared at me. Upon returning her to her test tube(she took no coaxing whatsoever, just ran in it) she went directly to the water and began drinking. I have no idea what to do now, so I have double-checked her cotton and even moved her to a location she could not climb out of should she escape again.

I am wondering if the honey was the issue, or what I could have done to prevent this. Queen 2's death was probably avoidable, and I feel guilty. Can anyone give me advice to keep my first queen and her future colony alive and thriving?

Re: Troubled Queens

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:43 pm
by Batspiderfish
There are many afflictions to queens which we have no way of observing nor testing for as hobbyists. Putting her in a clean test tube is the best thing you can do for a claustral queen like those from Solenopsis. make sure there is enough cotton plugging the tube; she will have plenty of air regardless of how tight it is.

Re: Troubled Queens

Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:11 am
by TexanAnts
Thank you. I've placed her into a new and clean test tube, so we'll see what happens.