Protective Custody

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Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Protective Custody

Post: # 61879Post Warden
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:12 pm

Hoping this thread is long lasting despite acquiring ants before supplies but might as well start a colony log now and hope for the best!

So I guess this is my first introduction here, this is the week 2 of my neighbors have a pest guy come spray the fences and bushes and whatnot and so when I was thinking up a forum name I decided to go with my role in the context. These ants are pests outside an appropriate habitat and my removing them from the wild both prevents them from being a threat to my home as well as saves them from a professional insecticide application applied directly to their home. The punishment for their crimes is death, however the state has issued a stay of execution, and I will serve as warden over the prisoners during their life terms. Their fate is sealed but with the help of this community I'm hoping this is a story that will last years rather than weeks.

Some context, I live in the center of town on a lot built around a ravine. Old house+property = lots of mature trees, so while I get bits of forest wildlife here and there. I've seen carpenter queens each year and always think how cool it would be to get a sustainable ant farm, but then I always forget to buy the supplies until next year when the process repeats, until now. All this happened in the middle of yardwork and would have all happened on the same day had I had more free time set aside for it =D

3 days ago I broke open a small log revealing 2 queens nesting, pinched up one by hand and let the other fall into the grass/wood shards rather than crush her. Walked back to the house and tossed the queen I snatched into a glass Tupperware condiment thing due to it being literally the first thing I could think to put her in, and collected some of the still exposed brood and tossed that in with her. Added a little ball and tail of paper towel to provide water and perhaps airflow between jar burps.

2 days ago, I armed myself with some ziplock bags to go collect some workers and more brood, it quickly became apparent that the ants had somehow conscripted a mosquito air force but when I broke more of the log and found that second queen from the day before, I tossed her into a bag and sealed it up. With another bag I grabbed 2 pupae with featherfingers and flicked 5 workers into the bag before keeping them in there would be a battle against escapees. Added the days catch to the same bag and set them somewhere dark and quiet.

Yesterday I came here and made an account to use this community to supplement my limited research with first hand advice and experience, I also ordered some more appropriate nest medium than airtight chambers with a wad of damp paper tossed in but that was after my deciding to seek advice after a look in on the ants. Checking in on the ants; I found that inmate 2 and pals ate one of the 2 pupae and replaced it with 2 fresh eggs, at which point I remembered they need water and attention beyond some moist wood substrate and company, so I balled up a small wad of paper towel, moistened and tossed one in the bag with the ants. At this time I also checked in on inmate 1 and found a worker hanging out which had definitely not been there outside a cocoon the night before.

So, today I skipped a lot and avoided a book's worth of details and other stuff, but I figured I'd get a journal thread started up and amend and add as I go. No pictures yet, forum activity travels more easily than the monarchy, and ziplock holding cells are going to work while nest tubes ship but are not worth showing off.

Well, that's about it for now so far. I'll try to keep up on documenting updates and all along the way I invite everyone to chime in and tell me how bad I'm doing, lol. I'm going to rely on input, mainly here, to make all my decisions until I get a bit more confidant about what I'm doing, so all thought and comments are welcome!

sartwell90
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:46 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 61889Post sartwell90
Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:24 pm

This looks like it'll be a fun journal to follow, and I too hope it is long-lasting for you!

Good luck and happy anting. :)
Check out my colonies! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDze5idJomnpRCpvd3QoAFA
Or, if you would rather read about them check here - https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?p=60680#p60680

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 61894Post Warden
Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:20 pm

Image
^Prisoner 1
Image
^Prisoner 2

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 61895Post Warden
Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:31 pm

Now that I have pictures, I would love confirmation opinions on the species. I THINK they are Camponotus pennsylvanicus. Think I got it right?

sartwell90
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:46 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 61900Post sartwell90
Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:11 pm

I think you got it right there, based on the pictures they do indeed appear to be C. pennsylvanicus. Good work on the ID!

I may be seeing things but it kind of looked like prisoner 1 has a mild concavity towards the posterior end of her gaster, is that right? Not that it is an issue, I've seen healthy queens ants with indentations. Just curious.

Also looks like prisoner 1 has a worker that should be ready to eclose soon, colony expansion incoming! :P
Check out my colonies! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDze5idJomnpRCpvd3QoAFA
Or, if you would rather read about them check here - https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?p=60680#p60680

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 61904Post Warden
Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:43 pm

Sent me down to check, I definitely see the spot you must be referring to, and afterall she was the one I grabbed by hand in a moment of total surprise. Can confidently say her gaster appears to be free of past or current dents. Likely a trick of the eye caused by dirty lens, having flash enabled from 4 inches away, background paper that fails to contrast well, the glass container, or all above. After an IRL spot check I'm pretty sure thats the black bit on the paper breaking up the reflection profile on the gaster. She has a bit of lint stuck on the gaster plates that doesn't really show up in the photo but otherwise looks great to my eye, but I'll get some multi angle pictures up when I get the chance.

Got some honey (ant head sized drops) and fresh water lumps in with each of them. Inmate cell #2 of course got all shook up because opening the bag at all, to them, is massively disturbing the bag, but after the run for cover phase they got settled right back under the shade and found the micro drop of honey in about 3 mins, I even got to see the tongue flickering inside thanks to a lucky angle and the droplet's lensing. Couldn't watch the queen get fed cause I work early on weekends but glad to know they got some carbs for now while we all wait for nest tubes to arrive.

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 61967Post Warden
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:13 pm

Well the honey was well received, no trace left in either cell so they were rewarded with some cooked chicken crumbs. Checking in on them today they had tons of energy to flee from the light. They should have tube nests and Tupperware cells within the week, looks like they'll have no problem lasting til then.

The disturbance feeding prisoner 2 gave me a chance to count a total of 7 new eggs so far as well! The other has some new eggs as well as the captured brood but they aren't scattered each time I open. If I don't redistribute brood at all it looks like the total cell populations may get close to equal before its hibernation time.

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 62020Post Warden
Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:09 pm

Tupperware tubs with greased rims for a new enclosure. Transfer attempts not so ideal. Found some tubes to use ahead of my amazon tubes, got them rinsed, watered, cotton balled, and wrapped in foil.

Inmate 1 had a brand new worker fresh from the cocoon, still a bit soft and clumsy going by how she was moving. Wanting the new growth to be rewarded with a nest tube and honey offering to be found I set about allowing them to roam but the queen has not been able to climb the glass jar since I tossed her in, so I tried to find an angle that would let her wander out to find the tube,dropped the bowl catapulting a larva into the tub. Naturally I dropped it in and the queen immediately attacked it. So, naturally, I panic and tap the bowl out first then think about what I dun did after... Used my finger to transfer the last 2 eggs from the bowl to tub and let everyone calm down. They're sitting in the corner next to the tube opening and the fresh worker seems to be working on getting hardened up properly again. The queen approached the tube and seemed upset and backed off, hopefully she and her 2 brand new workers can recollect the brood and settle in before drying out...

Inmate 2 for once had the easier time dealing with my "help". Within 1 second of the bag being opened a worker was already out and charging around, another 2 and I saw my Vaseline barrier did NOTHING, flicked her back in the tub and she stayed in bounds pretty well on her own after that. Stuck a pen in the bag to both keep it propped open somewhat as well as weigh the opening down so the queen could have a chance of leaving the slick interior of the bag. Within minutes the brood was recollected next to the queen by what must be the nanny ant, 2 ants and queen just sat around, and the final 2 had found and begun chugging down their honey. After filling up it took them about 5 minutes to get back into the bag and I finally got to see them feed each other.

Going to leave the tubs near the porch door to get a better view of things while they find the motivation to move into their tubes. Kinda worried about inmate 1 and friends but I'll give them the night to recover before I grow too concerned.

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 62023Post Warden
Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:33 pm

Micro update. It appears I worry too much inmate 1 and friends were seen in tube shortly after the last update so I took the opportunity to move the tube opening near the scattered brood. Just checked again and only 2 tiny eggs visible outside still so the tube nest has been accepted it seems. The queen herself was out collecting honey, hopefully its cause she had her babysitter watching the kids and shes a strong independent single mother who can feed herself. Let me know if this could be a warning sign, but for now I'm going to assume the hardened worker is tending the brood and her soft sister.

Warden
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:33 pm
Location: MN

Re: Protective Custody

Post: # 62043Post Warden
Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:00 am

Well, the morning checkup went great. Both inmates are in their tubes, all helpers and brood are not visible outside, and inmate 2 and pals seem to have been soo excited during the move they brought some of their wood scraps to decorate their new nest entrance. Last night the largest worker was holding the massive cocoon in her jaws, not lifting or moving it, just "palming" it in her mouth. Ive got high hopes due to size that this was a super major cocoon and tempted to spy on them to find out, but yesterday was a large series of stress events so I'll wait impatiently and hope.

Inmate 1 and friends of course far less visible now. The soft worker, which I had dubbed "Wiggle whisker" watching her stumble around with one half antennae flopping around while she walked, appears to have made it in the tube or is otherwise missing. They also found those last two eggs, that or my eyes don't work so good in the AM.

In both cases the move was a success it seems. I can remove the old bag nest and get the tubs in a dark place with more than just a day's worth of food at a time. I got to fully skip the claustral phase, and I've gotten 2 new ants and maybe even a stolen super major still on the way. Catching ants outside their nuptial flights was lucky enough, I can barely believe I'm lucky enough to start my timelines on a year two setup out the gate.

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