100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

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

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CoolGuy
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100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76082Post CoolGuy
Mon Mar 22, 2021 6:09 pm

First post. All I know about ants is from AC videos, and I've retained little over the years as it was entertainment.

Well last spring I noticed there were a few ants flying around and I knew this meant they were breeding. I tracked one down and caught it and it turned out to be a fertilized queen. I have no idea what species she is and am so lost trying to figure it out.

It seems like her species was the ones getting to my hummingbird feeders so I assumed she fed on sugar and that's what I provided. I also provided pine nuts collected from right outside as that is essentially the only source of fat, carbohydrates, and protein here, other than other insects and dead animals(I have also tried providing insects and meat).

She's only had one worker in the year I've had her and they don't seem interested in anything I provide. I think I saw portions of a pine nut eaten away but it's hard to say. She lays eggs but only ever has 5-8 at any point that never reach maturity. This leads me to believe she's eating them.

What and how should I provide food so pupae can start reaching maturity?

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AM1C39
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Location: Canada, ON
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Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76092Post AM1C39
Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:11 am

In some species the queen lays eggs that are supposed to be eaten and where never supposed to grow up to adult workers. Your colony will be fine they will not let themselves die from starvation. Also ants should have a constant supplies of fresh water, and not just sugar water.
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

Alaydia
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Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76110Post Alaydia
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:40 pm

Sounds like your ants may need protein. Without a good source of protein, the queen will eat the eggs. The brood need protein to develop. Best source is insects. And yes, they need fresh water, not just sugar water.
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditiones habes

Main interest is C. Pennsylvanicus, interested in most native ants to my area.

CoolGuy
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Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:52 pm

Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76111Post CoolGuy
Wed Mar 24, 2021 12:28 am

Alaydia wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:40 pm
Sounds like your ants may need protein. Without a good source of protein, the queen will eat the eggs. The brood need protein to develop. Best source is insects. And yes, they need fresh water, not just sugar water.
That's what I felt, I wasn't providing enough protein so she and her worker were eating eggs. In fact I'm pretty sure she ate her first born, there was a freshly hatched worker that I don't think hide for several months until she was mature. I'm not sure what protein source to give them. I've tried different meats, different native insects, protein jelly, the local pine nuts known here as piñon from the Mexican piñon pine which has very high in fat, carbs, and protein.

She has both fresh water and sugar water at all times, as well as protein jelly and a few piñon nuts. I can't tell what they are feeding off, I look every morning and evening for almost 1 year. Does la queen fed directly or does her worker provide to her?

I know antes go dormant in the winter but I have tried to keep her warm during winter so she can start her colony. Could it be that she needs a season to be ready to do that? She's grown since it has gotten warmer. I feel I provided all potentially needed resources but she had not started a colony in 1 year, what does she need? She looks very healthy, her worker is very mature, her eggs are getting large and have black points. What am i doing wrong?

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AM1C39
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Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76118Post AM1C39
Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:41 am

Most ants love caterpillars, you could give the some or that. The queen can feed directly and from the workers. You can not try to not hibernate her, eave if she is still warm she will hibernate during winter.
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

CoolGuy
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:52 pm

Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76144Post CoolGuy
Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:04 pm

AM1C39 wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:41 am
Most ants love caterpillars, you could give the some or that. The queen can feed directly and from the workers. You can not try to not hibernate her, eave if she is still warm she will hibernate during winter.
No caterpillars in these parts, at least not in any quantity. The only soft bodied insects here are beetle grubs which I recently dug for and found nada. Spring still has not reached the high desert mountains, it just dumped half a meter of snow. Would meal worms that people feed pets and use as fishing bait be okay? Should I feed them live? My species dies not have stingers, just very large mandibles. The queen can really tear bugs up but it's only seemed defensive, the worker will take the fly out whatever away once fully dismembered by the queen.

What triggers hibernation if she's stayed relatively warm and inside (no light cycle triggers) and what marks her "waking"? All she's done through summer and winter is sit and tend the eggs.

Her current eggs are getting noticeably larger, I don't think she's going to eat them. She needs at least one new worker since her current one has to be reaching the end of her life, she's probably 6 months old.

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AM1C39
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Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76149Post AM1C39
Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:02 am

Meal worms will work, you should cut them up thought. Ants run on a biological clock they know when to come out of hibernation. When they are out of hibernation they will act more actively.
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

CoolGuy
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 5:52 pm

Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76184Post CoolGuy
Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:11 pm

AM1C39 wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:02 am
Meal worms will work, you should cut them up thought. Ants run on a biological clock they know when to come out of hibernation. When they are out of hibernation they will act more actively.
Realistically would I even be able to tell how much my queen and one worker are consuming during hibernation? I assume it's far less than when they are active.

With a whole day not having to work I had some really interesting observations. Honestly I think my queen just needed a season cycle to mature. Comparing her to when I picked her up roughly a year ago still with wings; her abdomen has grown significantly and now has hairs in a line along each segment. I also saw her worker eating the pine nut, the first time I've observed them actually consuming something. Really cool. There are now three eggs that are large enough I'm sure they're going to pupate and soon there will be multiple workers. I hope this marks the transition where my queen is no longer tending the eggs herself, will start laying more, and there are enough workers to really start the colony this year. I understand my native ants are very hardy and long lived due to the harsher conditions. There's really only one large native ant species and invasive fire ants. Not much can survive here.

Alaydia
Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:23 pm
Location: PA

Re: 100% noob, figuring out what my ants want

Post: # 76250Post Alaydia
Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:01 pm

Kudos for keeping native ants! Other than the colony I got as a gift, that's all I keep. It's just better all around, both for the ants and the environment!

Food for thought, pun intended, have you tried bee pollen? It's a good source of protein, something the ants would have exposure to normally in the wild. I got some in granules that I put into a little feeder along with some honey. I have some picky eaters, so we'll see how it goes.
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditiones habes

Main interest is C. Pennsylvanicus, interested in most native ants to my area.

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