Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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tacolover
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:18 am
Location: England

Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57563Post tacolover
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:52 pm

Hi I am new to this forum. I got a Messor Barbarus colony in December - they arrived in a test tube with water and seeds. There were around 15 workers with the queen. I released them into an acrylic formicarium I bought (nest area with separate chambers is 12 cm x 20 cm and the out world is 5 cm x 17 cm). The nest has two rectangular sponges - one on each side. I keep the humidity at about 60% (using a hydrometer to measure that) and use a heat mat to keep the formicarium at 25 degrees Centigrade. Part of the nest area is off the mat so the ants can move to a cooler area if they want to. I feed them seeds purchased from the same supplier as the colony, I have tried little bits of grapes, cooked chicken and scrambled egg plus flies cleaned in boiling water. The nest area is covered with red cellophane so that I don't shock the ants when I lift the cardboard used to cover the nest area. I check the ants every 4 to 5 days. There's no sign of any brood and I only have 7 workers left. Can anyone offer help and advice please?

JoeHostile1
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:51 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57575Post JoeHostile1
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:40 am

Do you feed them a sugar source? They can get sugar from seeds and grapes, but you should give them a steady source of sugar as well. Sugar water, honey, ect.

Also in December that species should have been hibernating. Same with Jan, feb, mar. That’s probably why they haven’t laid eggs and you have no brood. Messor are notorious for going dormant in winter whether you hibernate them at proper temperatures or not. The workers could be dying from old age because they never got to enter diapause which would effectively pause their lifespan for the winter.

You will probably see a nice growth spurt from them soon.
Keeping:
Tetramorium immigrans * Lasius Neoniger * Lasius Claviger * Messor Aciculatus * Myrmica Rubra * Camponotus Novaeboracensis * Camponotus Turkastanus * Pheidole Pallidula

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

Ant108
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:55 pm

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57583Post Ant108
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:39 am

I have about 400 Messor Barbarus. I tried sugar water, honey, jelly etc. They don't like it and used to drown in this stuff. Small seeds are best. Mine love mosquitoes that I kill in my house, do not smash them too much. Little moths that infest grain and flour. Be very careful with them drowning in liquid, even a tiny drop has killed some of mine. Use cotton to feed them liquid if you want to experiment.
Keeper of:
* Messor Barbarus
* 1 Crematogaster Scutellaris queen 1 worker.

tacolover
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:18 am
Location: England

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57601Post tacolover
Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:39 am

Are Black Harvester ants Messor Barbourus or are the Red Harvester ants? I may have made a mistake when explaining my problem. I think
the Black Harvester ants are actaully called Messor Andrie. I don't know anymore! :(

Ant108
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:55 pm

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57609Post Ant108
Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:56 pm

Messor Barbarus are black.
Keeper of:
* Messor Barbarus
* 1 Crematogaster Scutellaris queen 1 worker.

Antfan
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:44 am
Location: UK

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57644Post Antfan
Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:09 am

Posibly wait a bit they don't lay eggs in cooler months i think, i have a colony of them and it took like 2-3 months for the queen to produce eggs.

Ant108
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:55 pm

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57646Post Ant108
Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:18 pm

Keep them covered in darkness and no vibration at all. Disturb them as little as possible. Put a buffer under them like foam pad or a folded towel to absorb vibration.
Keeper of:
* Messor Barbarus
* 1 Crematogaster Scutellaris queen 1 worker.

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Niederfeulen, Luxembourg
Contact:

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57733Post AntsLuxembourg
Thu May 02, 2019 4:29 am

Hello there,

First of all: Welcome to this Forum. Sorry if I might be a little bit late with this. ^^
I am keeping Messor Barbarus myself, streaming them every now and them and already had 2 failed attempts due to the queens dying. Not sure what it was or what did it but I guess it was a mix of too many things at the same time.

Here is a bit of backstory. But you can also just skip it.

My first queen came with a set although I didn't knew she was included. But I did try to give it my best and she actually had some workers and layed eggs. :)
Everything was setup and I waited for the queen to lay her first eggs and to start a colony. Kept her in the dark, as recommended in the guide that came with it. I also bought some liquid protein and filled some empty sunflowershells with it but they didn't seem to like it much since they just put their trash in it. ^^
I also noticed some white lines/traces appearing in the setup but I figured, that this was mold at the beginning. Now I know that it is perfectly normal and that it is just their (sorry for the expression in case you are sensitiv) piss and shit. They seemed happy with a full seed diet. I picked some dandelions and harvested the seeds although it was something of a mess and I could have done it cleaner and better. They feasted on those including some additionally bought seeds.

So far I have figured out that they eat, Appleseeds (not to many because of the cyanide(very low but still)), Honey-Melone, wheat, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberrym, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Dandelion, Wildgrass-seeds. I also had some seedmixes which I bought on their website just to be prepared. I did a lot of research and made sure to not disturb them too much. Later I expanded the setup from an acrylic setup to one with a testtube and I noticed that the queen was always chilling in the green testtube but whatever. Sadly she passed away and I did some additional search. Most of the workers were now in a new seperate setup and I decided to get a new colony. They arrived and I tried to find out if they could accept the old colonies workers. So I put in one worker. He was still alive the next 1-2 days so I added the rest. At the same time I tried feeding them cherry pits and apple seeds but this colony got even more streamtime, and this was the queen where I don't know what the final straw was. Was it the poisonous cherry pit, was it the stress from too much light or was it from "alien"-workerants or the sugarlumb I left in the setup.

I did offer the colony the lumb since most antspecies eat sugar or honey so I figured why not at least offer it. But yeah she past way. The workers are still alive and went through a lot and I am really very impressed with that. To give you an idea about what they went through. They are at an open spot with a lot of light, no direct sunshine. The only window I open every now and then so a strong change in lighting and temperature. Usually it's 25°C or a bit more inside but with the open window it probably gets cooler at that spot. I also don't pay much attention to be carefull about small impacts or forcing them to the new clean watersource in case the current one gets too dirty. This probably sounds worse than it is. Don't worry they are not starving. But I did offer them cherry pits or appleseeds but they didn't touch those.

So I still use them to gain informations and I can say for sure. The workers don't give a f*** about anything. They continue to live and to work, although they might just die out in the next months. They didn't had any winter break since they got no egg laying queen. However some of those workers might be at an age of 8-12 months so already very interesting considering that usually workers don't live that long. The most fragile being inside the colony is the queen so make sure to take extra care of her. My current queen had a nice setup and currently got a small out world after the winter-break.

Now about your colony.

Messor barbarus only eat seeds and are very friendly/neutral to other insects. They rarely touch other insects unless they are attacking the colony. I am not sure of they really prefer a red foil to make them think that it's dark or if blue or even green is better. Since I haven't managed to make a good setup with those colors I will have to figure that out at a later point. For an out world I got no real idea what's the best soil for now but currently they got some sad which you could put inside a sandbox. But I guess it's the wrong kind of sand.

About your queen. Usually the hibernate from the end of October to the end of march at around 15-18°C. I kept them inside my bedroom since I didn't heat it that much. For your queen, it could be that she is too distressed to lay eggs or she keeps eating them. Perhaps offer the colony some different seeds. Currently there should be many of those around and you can just pick them from any field and harvest the seeds instead of blowing them away.
Perhaps put the colony in a dark spot and warm around 25-35°C. Preferably on a bed of cotton so they are safe from most vibrations covered with some cloth. What you also could do to keep the setup cleaner, prepare a new testtube and ad a little separation in there. I used tubes to make something like a wall in there. They have a prechamber for their "piss and shit" and the seeds and a cleaner area to live in. This keeps them pretty happy as well. I might do a tutorial on this matter sometime in the futur so stay tuned. ;)
So again about their diet. Seeds only. They rarely eat insects. They don't need chicken-meat or other meat. They don't eat scrambled eggs or cooked egg-white.

If you have any more questions you can ask me on youtube or twitch and find me there under the name AntsLuxembourg. I cannot promise that I will check the forum every few days since my last visit also was a while ago. ^^
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony. After the research you can still go and fetsh a colony from one of your local GAN-Farmers.

Founding colonies:
10 - Lasius Niger Colony
1 - Messor Barbarus

Brobroski
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 11:25 am
Location: Uk

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57751Post Brobroski
Fri May 03, 2019 11:31 am

Quick question?

Can you feed Messor Barbarus apple seeds?

Thanks

JoeHostile1
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:51 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Messor Barbarus queen not laying!

Post: # 57963Post JoeHostile1
Mon May 06, 2019 8:55 am

Messor do eat insects as well. I’m not sure they can survive indefinitely off of just seeds. Best to give them insects as well. Also to supply your ants with sugar water you just make a sugar water test tube. They can’t drown in that.
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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