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A little help - The big move!

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:32 pm
by Tonry17
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and to the hobby so please bare with me.

I've managed to capture a Lasius Niger colony by tempting them into a plant pot over a few weeks. I've been lucky and they have taken the bait 👍(plant pot is full of soil and has the rootball from a dead chilli plant in it) .

Since capturing them I've made a formicarium with ample room to nest, feed etc. However I'm having great difficulties getting them to move in.

I've removed the soil/rootball from the plant pot and placed it in a plastic container with enough room to work around (this is where the colony is currently nested). I've attached this container with the new nest site via plastic tubing and despite a few workers venturing down the tube they don't seem to want to move.

I've tried shining a light on the rootball/soil however they are deep inside of it so no light will get through.

I've considered breaking the soil/rootball up but think it will be to invasive and could damage the queen.

Do any of you experts have any suggestions?

Re: A little help - The big move!

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:37 pm
by AntsOfOntario
Tonry17 wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:32 pm
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and to the hobby so please bare with me.

I've managed to capture a Lasius Niger colony by tempting them into a plant pot over a few weeks. I've been lucky and they have taken the bait 👍(plant pot is full of soil and has the rootball from a dead chilli plant in it) .

Since capturing them I've made a formicarium with ample room to nest, feed etc. However I'm having great difficulties getting them to move in.

I've removed the soil/rootball from the plant pot and placed it in a plastic container with enough room to work around (this is where the colony is currently nested). I've attached this container with the new nest site via plastic tubing and despite a few workers venturing down the tube they don't seem to want to move.

I've tried shining a light on the rootball/soil however they are deep inside of it so no light will get through.

I've considered breaking the soil/rootball up but think it will be to invasive and could damage the queen.

Do any of you experts have any suggestions?
I am in no means an expert but I can give you tips on what I've done in the past.

Now, based on the fact that they're in soil already the chances of them wanting to move out into a man made formicarium is extremely low. Although, if ants are exploring the tubing that's already a good sign.
I would recommend first drying out their nest. Don't add any moisture to it whatsoever. If you urgently need them to move you could let some sunlight in on the soil to help with the drying process.

You'll notice the ants looking for a better place to settle (especially if they have a lot larva).
When you see this happening, I often like to use something soft like a Q-tip and once there's a working in the tubing, give them a bit of a nudge or perhaps blocking off most ways to travel back to their nest without at least checking out the nest you provided. You can do this with a couple of workers, and if they deem the nest you provided a good home you'll see them start to move out.

Hope this helped.

Re: A little help - The big move!

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:33 am
by Tonry17
Thanks for your reply AntsofOntario. I really appreciate it. I'm going to take your advice and give that a try over the next few days.

Thanks again

Re: A little help - The big move!

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:28 am
by Tonry17
Quick update...

So the nest is looking pretty dry now however they still don't want to move. Approximately 10 workers are going backward and forward into the new habitat however it hasn't led to the mass evacuation as I thought it would. Since I posted the thread I've put all food in the new habitat in the home that this will attract however it doesn't seem to have happened.

My wife suggested moving them by pouring water into the tub in effect forcing the colony to move up their current nest and looking for new nesting ground... Although it sounds quite logical I'm unsure if this will be effective or is the right thing to do.

What do you guys think?

Re: A little help - The big move!

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:40 pm
by Boomdale
Can you show us a pic of the new place you’re looking to move into and a place they live now? Might help give you some ideas.

While it might not hurt the ants with the water, I don’t know if that’s the best route to go. Keep on it, add some heat with a bulb if you can to them. My colony refused to move from their test tube to another one until I added some heat. Light and dryness they could care less about. Be gentle with the heat. Don’t cook them

Re: A little help - The big move!

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:00 pm
by AntsDakota
Tonry17 wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:32 pm
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and to the hobby so please bare with me.

I've managed to capture a Lasius Niger colony by tempting them into a plant pot over a few weeks. I've been lucky and they have taken the bait 👍(plant pot is full of soil and has the rootball from a dead chilli plant in it) .

Since capturing them I've made a formicarium with ample room to nest, feed etc. However I'm having great difficulties getting them to move in.

I've removed the soil/rootball from the plant pot and placed it in a plastic container with enough room to work around (this is where the colony is currently nested). I've attached this container with the new nest site via plastic tubing and despite a few workers venturing down the tube they don't seem to want to move.

I've tried shining a light on the rootball/soil however they are deep inside of it so no light will get through.

I've considered breaking the soil/rootball up but think it will be to invasive and could damage the queen.

Do any of you experts have any suggestions?
How did you get them to move into the plant pot?

Re: A little help - The big move!

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:24 am
by Tonry17
Unfortunately not well I'm afraid.

It turns out that the root ball only contained workers and no signs of a queen. I was so confident that there were one due to the numbers of workers and that I'd been monitoring them going to and from the pot for a week or two.

The workers did keep going backwards and forwards to the new environment however after a week all I could find were dead ants.

So with that I released the rest of them back into the garden.

I've emptied the new habitat and will start a fresh. I currently have a queen in a test tube so there is still some hope.

I will keep you updated 👍