Queen wont lay eggs

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Queen wont lay eggs

Post: # 54969Post rickyrascal
Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:26 pm

Hi All ,

I recently got given a queen ant (Harvester ant) and a starter kit to start my first ant colony! (wooo!). The Queen looks amazing! but she came with no workers. Now the seller advised me to keep her in the test tube in the dark and to avoid disturbing her for around 2 weeks and she would start to lay eggs.

Ive now had her in the test tube for around 6 weeks and still no eggs. Every 2 weeks i dropped a little honey from a pippet into the tube as advised by the seller, but im starting to get concerned.

My inexperienced guess is that she is attempting to hibernate, as not only is it now December in England (cold) but she is also from a more tropical climate than England to begin with so likely feeling it even more.

I was hoping you experts could help me out with some advice on the below questions.

1) - If she is trying to hibernate, how long will she be in hibernation for before she's ready to wake up and lay eggs, she seems to be moving around and cleaning herself etc so doesn't look like she's trying to sleep. (Currently in a room temp dark cupboard with a towel around her test tube)

2) - I have a very warm airing cupboard, would it be better to move her into that area so it warms up, would this stimulate her into laying eggs or would this be dangerous for her ? Its pretty warm but Harvester ants are from warmer climates I believe ?

3) - Should I continue to feed her honey every 2 weeks ?

4) - The water in the end of the test tubes been there for over a month, it doesn't go down, and the cotton wool doesn't look wet on her side of the barrier, does this mean she's not getting water? or am I just being a bit over the top with worry!

Thanks for all the help!


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Re: Queen wont lay eggs

Post: # 54983Post CreeperUniverse
Tue Dec 25, 2018 1:51 pm

What species is she? You seemed to have gotten her pretty late. She should've already started hibernating around the middle of the month, and she should be taken out in March. If you can include some more pictures so I can ID and observe, it would help. Again I have no idea what the species is, so I cannot tell you whether or not she needs to be fed but usually even the ones which feed do not eat during the winter. You can feed her before hibernation to be safe (some honey or sugar water). If she's not dead yet, I'm sure water is flowing. If you're certain it's not, you can use a stick or something to gently nudge it a bit back. The last thing you want is a fatal flood. When it comes to her not laying overall, it's possible she's infertile or was just ready for hibernation.
I currently keep a bunch of Prenolepis imparis queens along with a Myrmica sp. queen.
EDIT: Recently caught a Camoponotus chromaiodes queen; hoping she's fertile!

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Re: Queen wont lay eggs

Post: # 55026Post JoeHostile1
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:07 am

It’s acciculatus right? They require hibernation. When they are not hibernated they enter a dormant stage where they do not produce any young or do much of anything.

I know this because I have acciculatus and I didn’t hibernate them one year and they didn’t produce a single worker during the winter. In fact they didn’t even really start to produce again until June. So not hibernating ants does have a negative effect on the colony and definitely interferes with the colonies normal development.
Tetramorium immigrans * Lasius Neoniger * Lasius Claviger * Messor Aciculatus * Myrmica Rubra * Camponotus Novaeboracensis * Camponotus Turkastanus * Pheidole Pallidula


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Re: Queen wont lay eggs

Post: # 55030Post rickyrascal
Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:32 pm

Hi Both ,

Thanks for the replies ! the Ant is a Messor barbarus (Harvester Ant). It was purchased for me with a starter set as a birthday present from antsuk. (I will try and get some better photos when im home, i just dont want to disturb her much)

Do we think this is still likely to be a case of it needing to hibernate if its a Messor Barbarus?. If so, I will do some more research and put her into hibernation.

Thanks guys!

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