Hibernation 2018

Frequently Asked Questions About Ants

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Hunter36o
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Hibernation 2018

Post: # 48961Post Hunter36o
Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:30 am

Hey guys, with August just over and September is here! It is that time of the year were we are all begining to prepare for the winter hibernation.

With that said it is a first time for a lot of us, me included so I was wondering if y'all would be willing to give us new keepers your personal experience for the winter season. The dos and don'ts that you have figured out over the years.

Tips for people like me who do not have a mini fridge as on option. Tricks you guys may have picked up to keep the temperature at a constant and ideal level? I am sure I will not be the only one who would greatly appreciate you inputs and I would like to thank you in advance for us all :)
Officially caring for 5 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
1x Myrmica Rubra with one worker

3 Lasius Niger colonies will be on sale AFTER hibernation.

CampoKing
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:20 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 48986Post CampoKing
Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:05 pm

This is just me personally, but I planned to build a custom foam-insulated box cooled by a fan and heat exchanger (like the one used for PC cooling), connected to a desktop water chiller. But that chiller is about $350 so most people might think I'm crazy to invest that much.

With the water chiller/heat exchanger combo, I *should* be able to keep the box air temp at whatever level I need, if my high school physics is right.

I studied the annual average temperature cycle for the North American region where my ants call home. On average, the temperature drops 10 degrees per month until December. It starts rising at the same rate back to summer temps in spring. My design goal was to lower the temperature in my foam box 2 degrees per week for twelve weeks, starting at 68 and ending at 46. I'll hold that 46 degrees for 30 days or so, then raise the temp 2 degrees each week until I'm back at room temp. That cycle should simulate approaching winter and allow my ants time to do whatever they do to prepare for hibernation.

Again, this is only my thoughts on hibernation, and it's all hypothetical since this will be my first hibernation of several Camponotus colonies. I still believe it's a solid theory though, so feel free to reflect on it and point out flaws or suggestions :)
Keeper of:
C. pennsylvanicus & C. subbarbatus

CampoKing
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:20 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 48989Post CampoKing
Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:26 pm

Or 3 degrees weekly for 8 weeks is better, from 70 to 46, since 12 weeks is a long time. It's a work in progress >_>
Keeper of:
C. pennsylvanicus & C. subbarbatus

Hunter36o
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49056Post Hunter36o
Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:23 pm

That sounds like a very good and permanent solution that u can store away in the warmer months. Could I you trouble you for a pictured update as you build this by any chance and possibly even an end result in about march when the ants are back to daily life next year?

It would be very interesting to see it's efficiency and if successful and ideal would be an investment worth taking :)
Officially caring for 5 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
1x Myrmica Rubra with one worker

3 Lasius Niger colonies will be on sale AFTER hibernation.

CampoKing
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:20 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49059Post CampoKing
Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:56 pm

I'm totally planning to document my hibernation project in October. I'll definitely send a link.
Keeper of:
C. pennsylvanicus & C. subbarbatus

Hunter36o
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49101Post Hunter36o
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:46 am

Awesome thank you dude, honestly cannot wait to see how this works for you.
Officially caring for 5 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
1x Myrmica Rubra with one worker

3 Lasius Niger colonies will be on sale AFTER hibernation.

JoeHostile1
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:51 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49385Post JoeHostile1
Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:45 am

One thing to keep in mind is to insure the nest remains hydrated through the winter. It is not a good idea to just abandon the ants for 4-5 months. I lost all my Lasius Neoniger workers during a hibernation due to the nest drying out. The queen was just barely clinging to life. And I only ignored the colony for about the last month of hibernation.

Another thing to keep in mind is that depending on the temperature you’re hibernating them and the size of the colony they may still require food. Last winter during a hibernation check I noticed my tetramorium colony which consisted of a few hundred individuals had a lot of workers in their outworld. I figured they must be looking for food so dumped a ton of fruit flies in their outworld. A couple weeks later all the fruit flies were gone. Then later in the winter I decided to dump more fruit flies in their outworld, but they never touched those.

Probably if you hibernate them closer to 0 degrees they won’t be able to move to need food, but my wine cooler only goes down to 10C. And that was the only colony that took food.
Keeping:
Tetramorium immigrans * Lasius Neoniger * Lasius Claviger * Messor Aciculatus * Myrmica Rubra * Camponotus Novaeboracensis * Camponotus Turkastanus * Pheidole Pallidula

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

CampoKing
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:20 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49451Post CampoKing
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:13 pm

I agree. You should continue checking on your ants and their hydration regularly, even while hibernating. Colder temperatures reduce their activity, but don't stop them. I also agree with some other posts on here that the coldest safe temperature for ants is around 8C or 46F. 0C is too close to the lethal temperature range for most species. Ants in artificial habitats don't have the benefit of insulating soil or deep hiding places, so they can't escape freezing temps like they could in the wild.
Keeper of:
C. pennsylvanicus & C. subbarbatus

Hunter36o
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49463Post Hunter36o
Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:50 am

I also agree as most posts, articles and videos say to never drop below 5 degree.
Other then of course doing it for the first time and having to learn as you go and also go by others. I feel this will be the easiest hibernation as the ants will be in test tubes. I'm not saying it will be a success for all my ants I just think a full formicarium will be harder to deal with in terms of ideal temperature.

But thank you all for your inputs and future ones. I think hearing from others experience and plans we can all establish a more permanent solution like the one mentioned above by Campoking.
Officially caring for 5 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
1x Myrmica Rubra with one worker

3 Lasius Niger colonies will be on sale AFTER hibernation.

CampoKing
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:20 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Hibernation 2018

Post: # 49555Post CampoKing
Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:55 pm

I was looking at wine coolers after they were discussed earlier, and I want to mention this one from Best Buy:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-29-bottle-wine-cooler-stainless-steel/6191207.p

It has a minimum temperature that reaches the 45 or 46 degrees needed, and a max temp of 65 that's good to start at. It's way cheaper than my custom box idea, and it seems to have the interior space I would need for my several colonies. I might seriously consider it instead of going through all that other stuff. I can still change the temperature weekly as I described.

Good luck!
Keeper of:
C. pennsylvanicus & C. subbarbatus

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