Heat mats for Lasius Niger

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S1bolger
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:23 am
Location: London

Heat mats for Lasius Niger

Post: # 53393Post S1bolger
Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:30 am

Morning, afternoon and evening all,
I’ve recently established my Lasius Niger colony and I’m currently at 20 (ish) workers plus 8-10 eggs in various stages of development. The set up consists of an outworks (Formicarium) attached to a flat, “sandwich” style nesting area, which the ants have already dug into a made a nesting chamber for the queen and the eggs. They’ve gone right down the bottom of the soil and are settled at the bottom of the “sandwich” and have made a few other smaller chambers. I water the top of the soil with a pippet every few days, to keep it humid and the workers and queen are eating very well. My question is this, should I put the heat mat underneath the “sandwich” nest close to the queen and her brood? Or will they get too hot? It’s a difficult one as I know a little heat can really excellerate the growth of a colony but I also don’t want to over heat them.

Any advice very greatfully received.

Sean

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StigmaticSpark4
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:45 pm
Location: Turin

Re: Heat mats for Lasius Niger

Post: # 53430Post StigmaticSpark4
Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:26 pm

Hi Sean,

I'm also a keeper of Lasius Niger but I haven't used a heat mat on them yet. What I can tell you though is that I've used one on my Messor Barbarus colonies and I've tried in 2 ways:

1. Putting the heat mat directly below the nest -> hasn't worked out perfectly because the nest would become dry way too fast and the ants could suffer the lack of water.

2. Putting the heat mat on top of the connection tube between the nest and the outworld -> I've found this to be the best way for me because the ants could decide whether or not to move their brood in the tube and they did. And I also placed a test tube filled with fresh water close to the entrance so they could keep the larvae moist more easily. The queen never moved in the tube though. But using this method I easily went from 100+ workers to 150+ in just a few weeks, they were developing so fast!


Now, this was my experience, and it could be different from person to person, but if you want, I'd personally recommend to give it a shot and carefully keep an eye on their behaviour. Obviously I wouldn't use a heat mat now, in November, since Lasius Niger should go into hibernation, but you could try maybe in April/May. Oh, and one last thing, my heat mat isn't very powerful (It's a Lerway heat mat 17.5W designed for plant germination) so that I don't risk to overheat them.

If you have any other question feel free to ask! :D

S1bolger
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:23 am
Location: London

Re: Heat mats for Lasius Niger

Post: # 53432Post S1bolger
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:21 pm

StigmaticSpark4 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:26 pm
Hi Sean,

I'm also a keeper of Lasius Niger but I haven't used a heat mat on them yet. What I can tell you though is that I've used one on my Messor Barbarus colonies and I've tried in 2 ways:

1. Putting the heat mat directly below the nest -> hasn't worked out perfectly because the nest would become dry way too fast and the ants could suffer the lack of water.

2. Putting the heat mat on top of the connection tube between the nest and the outworld -> I've found this to be the best way for me because the ants could decide whether or not to move their brood in the tube and they did. And I also placed a test tube filled with fresh water close to the entrance so they could keep the larvae moist more easily. The queen never moved in the tube though. But using this method I easily went from 100+ workers to 150+ in just a few weeks, they were developing so fast!


Now, this was my experience, and it could be different from person to person, but if you want, I'd personally recommend to give it a shot and carefully keep an eye on their behaviour. Obviously I wouldn't use a heat mat now, in November, since Lasius Niger should go into hibernation, but you could try maybe in April/May. Oh, and one last thing, my heat mat isn't very powerful (It's a Lerway heat mat 17.5W designed for plant germination) so that I don't risk to overheat them.

If you have any other question feel free to ask! :D
Hi StigmaticSpark4,

Thanks so much for the info, it was very useful. I do not plan to hibernate them this year as it's the first year and I've read that they do not need hibernating when they first start out - but I definitely will be next year. My heat mat is rather powerful so I think I'm just going to keep it on, but have the heating element only just touching the plastic at the bottom.

I plan to get myself a lower powered heat mat (for plant germination like yours) as it sounds like you've been very successful.

Thanks again for the advice.

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StigmaticSpark4
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:45 pm
Location: Turin

Re: Heat mats for Lasius Niger

Post: # 53439Post StigmaticSpark4
Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:39 am

To check if they are trying to go into hibernation you should see no more eggs but only larvae that will not be developing.
And as far as I know even for the first year they require hibernation (for example I have a Lasius Niger queen which my brother caught this August which still has larvae and they haven't been developing for the past month and a half).
Also, think about how they manage to survive in nature, no matter how many workers they have, if it's winter their only option is to burrow underground until spring comes in order to survive. ;)

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