Queen back in test tube

Posts and questions relating to ant diet & nutrition. Let us know what you’re feeding your ants.

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Sarahrose080
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:04 pm
Location: California

Queen back in test tube

Post: # 72407Post Sarahrose080
Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:44 pm

I have one camponotus queen. I caught her last year, she laid eggs and had five workers. I had moved them to a tiny plaster terrarium once she had the workers, they lived fine for a few months but this year the workers started slowly dying one by one, until all the workers were dead. I believe this was due to mold that would keep coming back even when I cleaned out bad food.

I have since transferred my queen back into a test tube set up, she has eggs in the test tube.

How often do I need to be feeding her and what should I be feeding her?

SkeleAnt
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Queen back in test tube

Post: # 72408Post SkeleAnt
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:32 pm

This can be very tricky, because she's past her founding stage and won't have her food reserves, but she's still just as susceptible to stress from being looked in on too often as she was when she was founding.

Whatever you were feeding the colony before the workers died off, that is what she'd still eat. However, unlike worker ants who collect and distribute food to themselves and the queen, the queen ant isn't a forager. She will (hopefully) drink honey/sugar water since it's already a liquid, but providing her protein will not be easy. There's no telling if she will even accept food offerings, so be prepared for this. Since she's a single ant, she won't need the amount of food you'd give before when she has workers. A tiny drop of honey and a small piece of a feeder insect, maybe once a week, might be a safe bet; minimal disruption, maximum chance for her to be comfortable enough to eat, and minimal chance of mold due to the amount of food. Plus you can keep tabs on her health.

I am still very, VERY new to ant keeping, so this is all advice based on my experience. I have a formica queen in a similar situation (early workers and later brood all died due to my inexperience at the time). This was months ago, and she has been laying eggs still and hasn't passed on yet, but she seems more agitated/stressed by the food I provide her than anything else. What she seems to be doing is laying eggs, eating some to reabsorb the protein, and only attempting to raise a small number of brood with the nutrients she gets from the eggs she eats. She also seems to eat some newly hatch larvae, probably to keep down the number of mouths she needs to feed as she starts over. I can only make assumptions based on the number and size of her brood when I check in on her every few days. I expect this situation will be the most likely outcome for your queen, although camponotus ants develop very slowly, so she'll have a much bigger gap between when she lays her eggs and when they'll hatch, but smaller intervals for when she needs food herself. My queen seems more likely to eat her brood when I check on her, as she usually has less if I look in too often, but has more if I wait once a week.

I hope this advice is helpful, and I wish you luck in helping her refound her colony!
2 founding formica subsericea
1 aphaenogaster rudis
1 brachymyrmex depilis
More still founding!

AccidentalAntKeeping
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:16 am
Location: Cupertino

Re: Queen back in test tube

Post: # 73636Post AccidentalAntKeeping
Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:31 pm

Yikes... That is a rather disturbing situation.
The biggest problem right now is how to give her the protein she needs to raise the young.
From what I can see, yogurt is rather protein-rich, sugary, and also already partially liquid. As far as I can see, it's probably a really imperfect solution, and there have been debates that are mostly 50/50 positive to negative. But trying can't really hurt, maybe it'll work out in your favor! Hope she lays lots and lots of eggs, best of luck to you!
Updates might be nice :)

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