Noob leafcutter questions

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lucascquintal
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:44 pm
Location: brasil

Noob leafcutter questions

Post: # 68364Post lucascquintal
Tue Mar 17, 2020 8:16 pm

Hello everyone. At first, I'm new on antskeeping and here on the forum, and sorry for my english that might not be very good.
Last year i met AntsCanada channel on youtube and soon got in love with antskeeping. I watched many videos, read many things, but as i haven't put my hands on work, all that theoric knowledge is growing lots of doubts now i have started my own colony.
Well, four months ago i was able to catch four queen ants on a rain day, that latter i discovered as being leafcutter ants. I placed all four in test tubes, and only one was able to trieve. After the first ten workers got born i transfered the test tube to a nest setup that i made myself (I live in Brasil and i dont found nothing to buy that wasnt too expensive).
In these four months many things happend to my colony. At the start i think i made a huge mistake by loosing the original fungus the Queen came with from her previous nest on the wild. By today i'm not certain if they are surviveing without the fungus or if i just can't see it because its too small.
Today there is about 20 workers, some big, some small, and the queen, and judging by the fact that everyday i see workers cutting leafs, i imagine they are going ok. I will post images.
For food, they eat only leafs and honey. I gave them some small insects as fruit flies, but they dont care. I dont know from what they are getting protein.
My bigest question is: the ants are putting the old leafs in one chamber of the nest. Is this garbage or a fungus garden?
and a second question: how do i mantein the humidity high enought to their confort from my setup?
a third question: they did'nt got out of the inicial test tube. Is this ok until there is water in there? A time after i made the setup i got worried if the tubes are small to the queen to transitate.
I want to thank all that read all this, and be free to give me any ideas, or to point what i am doing wrong.

This is their setup. The blue and orange chambers they are not using. The red one they use as garbage, i assume as with some leafs they place dead ants there. But i dont know if they intend to use it as a fungus garden. I keep cleaning it. They dispose some old leafs in the outworld too. The tube that conects the intenal part of the nest with the outworld is full with leafs.
For humidity, in the chembers i placed one humid cotton and a humid paper on the top with small roles on the cover.
Image

This is their outworld. I keep it always clean. The water there i use to keep the plants longer, and some white rocks for the ants to walk on there.
Image

Lonliness
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:12 pm
Location: Brasil

Re: Noob leafcutter questions

Post: # 68373Post Lonliness
Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:38 am

I'm also new to ant keeping and I caught a leafcutter ant too. One thing I would like to point out is that the protein source of the leafcutters is the fungus they cultivate because fungus aren't plants. In fact, fungus are closer to animals than to plants. I'm still researching to find out how to care for my ants, but I would like to know what kind of plants do you give to your ants. Although mine is a different species, I'm kind of clueless about how to feed them. Do they accept any kind of plant?

I will also take inspiration on your setup for my ants when the colony is big enough to move out of the tube. I'm really envious that you got the "saúva" species! :lol: Good luck with your ants!

lucascquintal
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:44 pm
Location: brasil

Re: Noob leafcutter questions

Post: # 68384Post lucascquintal
Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:18 am

Thank you for the answer. Specifically about the protein source of the fungus. I thought the ants need protein + sugar + plants, but they really dont care for any extenal protein source, so i think you are right.
In fact, that answers my other question about if i dont see the fungus because they are too small or i dont see because it died. It probably exists then, but i can not see with naked eye.

About the plants i feed them, i think they eat most kinds of plants, they have their preferences for what i could observe, but almost every plant i gave they cut. I think you will have to try a few kinds of different plants that exist around you and watch their preference. But i notice they prefer thin leafs and the leafs that dont have any kind of fur. They looove any flowers, as roses.

qwerty264
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:53 am
Location: Indonesia

Re: Noob leafcutter questions

Post: # 68475Post qwerty264
Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:17 am

I personally haven't kept leaf cutter ants. So i can only answer your second question. It would help a lot by having a lid on in the out world to maintain humidity, otherwise, you will just have to spray the setup with water every time it gets dried up.

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