Colony not increasing in numbers

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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RiceAnt
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:46 am
Location: Australia

Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 76970Post RiceAnt
Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:13 am

Hi,

I own about 3 colonies. One of them (lasius niger) has about 17 workers, and it doesn't seem like their numbers are increasing, despite the large number of eggs. It's been like this for about 2 months, and none of the eggs look like they are in the pupae stage. I've tried feeding bits of shrimp and chicken (I don't own any insects to feed them), and I'm really just not sure why their numbers is not increasing.
Are they escaping from my container? Basically I have a acrylic nest for them, and then that nest into a plastic snack container. I couldn't put the lid on, because it's an airtight container, so I just have a red see through plastic board over the container. I found out some where escaping, so I put a book on top of the red board. I'm pretty sure they can't escape, I have only seem them try to get out whenever I take the book and board off.

Ok, second colony. I have no idea what species it is. They are small, black ants who look a bit like crematogasters (but are not). They could be "coconut ants" as in the ones that smell like coconut after you crush them. Their numbers are not increasing either. I had a second colony of them, but the queen somehow died and they never increased in numbers after the nanitics hatched. I also started feeding them bits of meat. Any advice in general to keep them growing? The room I keep the ants in are about 23 degrees on average, usually higher at about 25.

And the third colony. I recently caught a crematogaster queen about a month ago. I think it is a crematogaster cerasi queen. We are about to enter winter, and the queen has had about 6 nanitics ALREADY within about 3 weeks. To me, that's insane. But anyway, I watched an AntsCanada tutorial on keeping ants, and apparently I should put the nests in a cold area so that the queens can hibernate. Should I be doing that with a founding colony? Or should I let them keep growing? I've noticed the crematogasters outside the house have stopped trying to invade my piano, and they are disappearing under rocks and into the tree. I take it that they are getting ready to hibernate.

So, I'm sorry for this literal essay, but if you can answer these questions I will be very very grateful. Thanks!!
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

6:6-8 Proverbs


Founding:
- Lasius niger
- Crematogaster cerasi

User avatar
AM1C39
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:17 pm
Location: Canada, ON
Contact:

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 76975Post AM1C39
Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:38 am

For the first colony the eggs are probably developing slowly because you have not been giving them enough proteins. For the second colony perhaps they are not increasing in numbers because these coconut ants only get that big, but I would not know because I do not know anything about coconut ants. For the third colony you should hibernate them only if the same specie of ants outside hibernate.
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

AntLuvForever
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:54 pm
Location: Troy, Michigan

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 76976Post AntLuvForever
Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:21 am

Can you go catch some insects outdoors or in a park? I live in a house with some decent backyard space so i can catch crickets and spiders in my back/front yard. Also for small colonies, you should hibernate them as well. You see, in the wild they have to survive. So i think it’s probably the most natural approach. I mean, if they cant do this in the wild then how do they survive from extinction? I think they are made for this and you should hibernate them. But yes, AM1C39 is right. See if the colonies of the same species outside is hibernating. If not then you don't need to. But if they do hibernate then you should probably do it.
Ant Colonies I Own :

(lasius neoniger)—The Sugar Barons

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 548
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
Contact:

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 76979Post AntsLuxembourg
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:18 am

Hello there,

What you can do, go to a petstore and ask if they sell meal worms or crickets. If they do you can buy some of those. The mealworms last long enough in the fridge. I got a box about 6 months or more ago and there are still enough alive in there. I would however check every 2-3 weeks or each time you feed one if there are any dead ones, usually black or very stiff and not moving even if you squeeze their sides a bit. If they are alive, they will wiggle a lot if you squeeze them a bit. :P
If you get crickets, make sure to kill them first.

For the idea of escaped ants. If they were escaping or getting out, you would see them run around the nest. They never run far away out of nowhere. They will only forage and try to find their way back. Had one escape at random and the little worker was just roaming around. I somehow managed to get him back in. I think the worker got out due to the fluon being wet and climbable.

For your second colony, a good start would be to have them properly identified so we can give you a better advise. Feed them half a mealworm once a week and see if that helps. If you can't get them, soft boil an egg (5 minutes in boiling water), get some of the eggwhite and put it in the testtube. It's a temporary insect suppliment. Don't boil the egg too much as this will destroy any protein that would remain in the egg that the ants could use.
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony.

Colonies:
1 - Messor Barbarus
Founding colonies:
2 - Lasius Niger Colony
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

RiceAnt
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:46 am
Location: Australia

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 77113Post RiceAnt
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:11 am

AntsLuxembourg wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:18 am
Hello there,

What you can do, go to a petstore and ask if they sell meal worms or crickets. If they do you can buy some of those. The mealworms last long enough in the fridge. I got a box about 6 months or more ago and there are still enough alive in there. I would however check every 2-3 weeks or each time you feed one if there are any dead ones, usually black or very stiff and not moving even if you squeeze their sides a bit. If they are alive, they will wiggle a lot if you squeeze them a bit. :P
If you get crickets, make sure to kill them first.

For the idea of escaped ants. If they were escaping or getting out, you would see them run around the nest. They never run far away out of nowhere. They will only forage and try to find their way back. Had one escape at random and the little worker was just roaming around. I somehow managed to get him back in. I think the worker got out due to the fluon being wet and climbable.

For your second colony, a good start would be to have them properly identified so we can give you a better advise. Feed them half a mealworm once a week and see if that helps. If you can't get them, soft boil an egg (5 minutes in boiling water), get some of the eggwhite and put it in the testtube. It's a temporary insect suppliment. Don't boil the egg too much as this will destroy any protein that would remain in the egg that the ants could use.

Yo thanks for the reply! How do you know if an ant species is hibernating? I'm assuming because they are not coming out very much, that they are hibernating. But it may be because my parents killed quadrillions of them when they invaded the house. I also saw their queen stuck in a spiderweb and it was dead. I don't know if they have one or more queens, but yeah I guess my question is; how do you know if they are hibernating?

Also, I can see that you keep Lasius Niger ants. Do you know if they hibernate as well?
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

6:6-8 Proverbs


Founding:
- Lasius niger
- Crematogaster cerasi

RiceAnt
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:46 am
Location: Australia

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 77114Post RiceAnt
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:15 am

AM1C39 wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:38 am
For the first colony the eggs are probably developing slowly because you have not been giving them enough proteins. For the second colony perhaps they are not increasing in numbers because these coconut ants only get that big, but I would not know because I do not know anything about coconut ants. For the third colony you should hibernate them only if the same specie of ants outside hibernate.
Thanks for the reply. I give them proteins about once a week. Is that not enough? How much should I give them? The 'coconut ants' completely rejected the chicken I gave them, but they took the shrimp. I'm planning on getting some crickets as the other dude said I should get mealworms and stuff like that from the pet store.

Actually... how do you even keep the crickets? Do you have to feed them and stuff?
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

6:6-8 Proverbs


Founding:
- Lasius niger
- Crematogaster cerasi

cjerg9
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:16 am
Location: Clunes Victoria

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 77117Post cjerg9
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:22 am

RiceAnt wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:11 am
AntsLuxembourg wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:18 am
Hello there,

What you can do, go to a petstore and ask if they sell meal worms or crickets. If they do you can buy some of those. The mealworms last long enough in the fridge. I got a box about 6 months or more ago and there are still enough alive in there. I would however check every 2-3 weeks or each time you feed one if there are any dead ones, usually black or very stiff and not moving even if you squeeze their sides a bit. If they are alive, they will wiggle a lot if you squeeze them a bit. :P
If you get crickets, make sure to kill them first.

For the idea of escaped ants. If they were escaping or getting out, you would see them run around the nest. They never run far away out of nowhere. They will only forage and try to find their way back. Had one escape at random and the little worker was just roaming around. I somehow managed to get him back in. I think the worker got out due to the fluon being wet and climbable.

For your second colony, a good start would be to have them properly identified so we can give you a better advise. Feed them half a mealworm once a week and see if that helps. If you can't get them, soft boil an egg (5 minutes in boiling water), get some of the eggwhite and put it in the testtube. It's a temporary insect suppliment. Don't boil the egg too much as this will destroy any protein that would remain in the egg that the ants could use.

Yo thanks for the reply! How do you know if an ant species is hibernating? I'm assuming because they are not coming out very much, that they are hibernating. But it may be because my parents killed quadrillions of them when they invaded the house. I also saw their queen stuck in a spiderweb and it was dead. I don't know if they have one or more queens, but yeah I guess my question is; how do you know if they are hibernating?

Also, I can see that you keep Lasius Niger ants. Do you know if they hibernate as well?
Pretty much all ants species will hibernate. Ants are ectotherms. They really on the outside temperature to heat them just like lizards and snakes do. So when it gets cold they will hibernate to preserve their energy and focus on protecting vital organs rather than actively foraging. It is always safe to hibernate a colony. Yes we have winter ants which are more specially adapted to colder climates (it gets more complex why) but even then they still might hibernate. You will know when ants are hibernating as they behave very sluggish usually sitting in one area and not moving, sometimes they may even appear dead.

AntsLuxembourg
Posts: 548
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg
Contact:

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 77120Post AntsLuxembourg
Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:20 am

RiceAnt wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:11 am
Yo thanks for the reply! How do you know if an ant species is hibernating? I'm assuming because they are not coming out very much, that they are hibernating. But it may be because my parents killed quadrillions of them when they invaded the house. I also saw their queen stuck in a spiderweb and it was dead. I don't know if they have one or more queens, but yeah I guess my question is; how do you know if they are hibernating?

Also, I can see that you keep Lasius Niger ants. Do you know if they hibernate as well?
As cjerg9 said, most ants hibernate. Maybe not tropical ants but they also take breaks from time to time. Anyway, Lasius Niger does hibernate and they hibarnate nice inside of a fridge at 6-8°C
Of course if the setup gets too big you cannot hibernate them like this anymore. I had to just leave my messor barbarus inside my appartment since I couldn't move their anttank into my cellar. Every antspecies hibernates differently. Some can withstand -°C and others need at least 16°C but hibernate or reduce their activities.
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony.

Colonies:
1 - Messor Barbarus
Founding colonies:
2 - Lasius Niger Colony
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

User avatar
AM1C39
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:17 pm
Location: Canada, ON
Contact:

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 77125Post AM1C39
Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:16 am

RiceAnt wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:15 am
Actually... how do you even keep the crickets? Do you have to feed them and stuff?
This video will help you breed them and keep them alive: https://youtu.be/6zp4rlkXyeU. If you want more info you can search on youtube.
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

RiceAnt
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:46 am
Location: Australia

Re: Colony not increasing in numbers

Post: # 77130Post RiceAnt
Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:26 am

cjerg9 wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:22 am
RiceAnt wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:11 am
AntsLuxembourg wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:18 am
Hello there,

What you can do, go to a petstore and ask if they sell meal worms or crickets. If they do you can buy some of those. The mealworms last long enough in the fridge. I got a box about 6 months or more ago and there are still enough alive in there. I would however check every 2-3 weeks or each time you feed one if there are any dead ones, usually black or very stiff and not moving even if you squeeze their sides a bit. If they are alive, they will wiggle a lot if you squeeze them a bit. :P
If you get crickets, make sure to kill them first.

For the idea of escaped ants. If they were escaping or getting out, you would see them run around the nest. They never run far away out of nowhere. They will only forage and try to find their way back. Had one escape at random and the little worker was just roaming around. I somehow managed to get him back in. I think the worker got out due to the fluon being wet and climbable.

For your second colony, a good start would be to have them properly identified so we can give you a better advise. Feed them half a mealworm once a week and see if that helps. If you can't get them, soft boil an egg (5 minutes in boiling water), get some of the eggwhite and put it in the testtube. It's a temporary insect suppliment. Don't boil the egg too much as this will destroy any protein that would remain in the egg that the ants could use.

Yo thanks for the reply! How do you know if an ant species is hibernating? I'm assuming because they are not coming out very much, that they are hibernating. But it may be because my parents killed quadrillions of them when they invaded the house. I also saw their queen stuck in a spiderweb and it was dead. I don't know if they have one or more queens, but yeah I guess my question is; how do you know if they are hibernating?

Also, I can see that you keep Lasius Niger ants. Do you know if they hibernate as well?
Pretty much all ants species will hibernate. Ants are ectotherms. They really on the outside temperature to heat them just like lizards and snakes do. So when it gets cold they will hibernate to preserve their energy and focus on protecting vital organs rather than actively foraging. It is always safe to hibernate a colony. Yes we have winter ants which are more specially adapted to colder climates (it gets more complex why) but even then they still might hibernate. You will know when ants are hibernating as they behave very sluggish usually sitting in one area and not moving, sometimes they may even appear dead.
Wow really thank you for giving so much good information. I'm afraid I'm not allowed to put ants in the fridge. I just asked my mum if I could set the fridge temperature and put my ants in there.
You can imagine her answer.

My house is very small, and there aren't many places to put the ants. The only safe place I have for them that is quiet, and has a regular room temperature of 22 degrees. I guess I can try to keep the door open and open the windows...

Well sorry for asking so many questions, but I have a few more. Let's say I can get the room temperature to about 16 degrees, when should I make them start hibernating (its autumn right now)? Do I need to give them food, or is water enough?

Also, at night, in winter my family tends to warm up the house at night (close windows, etc.), so is it ok if the room temperature goes up to 18 degrees during hibernation? Also, I'm talking in terms of Celsius (just so there's no drastic mistake). Some nights may go down to 6 degrees celsius and then warm back up during the day, is this change in temperature safe?
I know I've technically asked this, but it's just that I know founding colonies are very fragile, and I really really want to keep the crematogaster colony safe, so is it really ok to put them in hibernating when they have just hatched the nanitics?
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

6:6-8 Proverbs


Founding:
- Lasius niger
- Crematogaster cerasi

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