A Parasitic Queen Success

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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CamponotusKing
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:09 pm
Location: Alberta

A Parasitic Queen Success

Post: # 37058Post CamponotusKing
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:14 am

So where I live in Calgary, Alberta there is a spot along the Bow river known as Bowmont. This place runs along for about 2 or 3 kilometers beside the river, and it is full of ants. The main inhabitants of the park are Wood Ants or Mound Ants, species like Formica rufa and Formica ulkei. I was biking around the park this past Tuesday (June 5) and I caught 5 Wood Ant queens. This was amazing for me! Knowing that most Wood Ant queens are parasitic queens I had to figure out a way for her to found a colony and I did.
So this is what worked for me, here are the steps I took. I looked for wild Formica fusca or a species close to Formica fusca. Once I found my Formica fusca workers with pupae under a rock I put them in plastic test tubes and took them home. At home I took a plastic container with some sand in the bottom and I put a test tube setup in there (a test tube half filled with water that is blocked off by a cotton ball). I then put my Formica fusca workers and brood in there and left them for about 15-20 minutes. When I came back I introduced one my Wood Ant queens to the workers and they accepted her or she accepted them, I am not sure. Now they are living happily in their tubs & tubes setup.
I hope you all find this helpful! Shout out to the Nordic Ants channel on Youtube for the idea. Watch his video on parasitic queens, the link is below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbOuZCBZaLo&t=580s
5x Myrmica incompleta
Formica Podzolica colony with 17 queens (currently)
5x Wood Ant queens

MaxGen
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 9:26 am
Location: Toronto

Re: A Parasitic Queen Success

Post: # 37059Post MaxGen
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:25 am

Can you clarify how many workers and brood you collected for the queen?

CamponotusKing
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:09 pm
Location: Alberta

Re: A Parasitic Queen Success

Post: # 37060Post CamponotusKing
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:48 am

There are 6 workers and about 15-17 cocoons. I think you could have as little as 3 workers but going over 10 may not be a good idea. From observing the queen meeting the workers it looked like it was going best when she met with only 1 or 2 of the workers at a time.
5x Myrmica incompleta
Formica Podzolica colony with 17 queens (currently)
5x Wood Ant queens

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 3339
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: A Parasitic Queen Success

Post: # 37074Post Batspiderfish
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:20 pm

Adding workers is an unnecessary risk for Formica social parasites, since the queens are quite capable of caring for and opening cocoons, but thank you for recording this! I wouldn't try this with sanguinea group Formica.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

CamponotusKing
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:09 pm
Location: Alberta

Re: A Parasitic Queen Success

Post: # 37086Post CamponotusKing
Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:20 pm

The workers I caught are also very, very small compared to the queen so even if they turned on her she could defend herself.
5x Myrmica incompleta
Formica Podzolica colony with 17 queens (currently)
5x Wood Ant queens

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