Into the Fire

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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BenLWolf
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Into the Fire

Post: # 62238Post BenLWolf
Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:30 pm

Today I have captured a S. Invicta queen. I found her at work just wandering around on the pavement in the parking lot... in 95+F weather. Because fire ants are hard core. I'm well aware that they can be a living nightmare and I'm open to suggestions. As for right now, I didn't have an extra test tube laying around to put her in a laboratory set up like I have with my recently found queen Thief Ant. Instead I've put her fiery highness in a large, sealed tube that formerly contained M&Ms which I filled half way with loose, damp soil. She promptly buried herself. Wish me luck and give me any advice you can.

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 62246Post Hawkeye
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:06 am

BenLWolf wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:30 pm
Today I have captured a S. Invicta queen. I found her at work just wandering around on the pavement in the parking lot... in 95+F weather. Because fire ants are hard core. I'm well aware that they can be a living nightmare and I'm open to suggestions. As for right now, I didn't have an extra test tube laying around to put her in a laboratory set up like I have with my recently found queen Thief Ant. Instead I've put her fiery highness in a large, sealed tube that formerly contained M&Ms which I filled half way with loose, damp soil. She promptly buried herself. Wish me luck and give me any advice you can.
Visit your local florist they will more than likely have some test tubes.

BenLWolf
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63184Post BenLWolf
Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:11 pm

After settling her into a test tube and feed her a few little drops of honey... and much time having passed, my queen has laid her first clutch. I am delighted. Also, horrified. This is happening and I only pray I'm good enough to manage these lovely little beasts. I was afraid she would be infertile and die like the thief ant queen who formerly occupied her tube.
I am MOSTLY convinced she's an imported fireant, invicta to be precise. However, I'm not an expert. I can tell she is in the roughly 5 MM length. Deep red/black. I don't want to disturb her and my tools are VERY limited so I can't get much more precise. She looks much like the pictures I've seen.
How easy is it to control their population? I know temperature and food is a good way. My future home for them is an ant farm I got off the internet. Let me look up what kind... It's an ebay thing, ant farm ant works educational formicarium. 11x11x10cm volume. How long is this likely to contain my little beasts before I had to get them an add on?

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63189Post Hawkeye
Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:58 pm

Well that depends on the temperature, the availability of food, the variety of food, the humidity, the species and the queen herself. So i cant give you an estimate. Be aware that the ants will be tiny and can escape through the tiniest holes!

BenLWolf
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63191Post BenLWolf
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:53 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:58 pm
Well that depends on the temperature, the availability of food, the variety of food, the humidity, the species and the queen herself. So i cant give you an estimate. Be aware that the ants will be tiny and can escape through the tiniest holes!
Well no holes in the unit that aren't supposed to be there for the ants to craw through are larger than the point of a needle and fire ants aren't THAT Tiny. I'm not afraid of escape until they get a critical mass of numbers to start eating through things and pushing stuff around. The formicarium is made of layered transparent acrylic. I know I'm not supposed to introduce the colony to its new home until around the third batch of workers, once the queen has been fed and fattened up nicely.

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63194Post Hawkeye
Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:38 pm

BenLWolf wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:53 pm
Hawkeye wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:58 pm
Well that depends on the temperature, the availability of food, the variety of food, the humidity, the species and the queen herself. So i cant give you an estimate. Be aware that the ants will be tiny and can escape through the tiniest holes!
Well no holes in the unit that aren't supposed to be there for the ants to craw through are larger than the point of a needle and fire ants aren't THAT Tiny. I'm not afraid of escape until they get a critical mass of numbers to start eating through things and pushing stuff around. The formicarium is made of layered transparent acrylic. I know I'm not supposed to introduce the colony to its new home until around the third batch of workers, once the queen has been fed and fattened up nicely.
If it is acrylic you probably can't use the rubbing alcohol and talcon powder trick, just a heads up

BenLWolf
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63195Post BenLWolf
Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Honestly? I was going to super glue the top piece on if things get too dicey. Right now I'm just painting the nest area transparent red so the ants can have simulated darkness. Once it's all dry, I'll probably glue everything but the feeding hatch closed.

BenLWolf
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63199Post BenLWolf
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:35 pm

To prepare for her upcoming move I have placed a thin layer of well aged forest soil (left in a container to dry for so long anything biological pretty much must be dead) on the outworld of the formicarium. Tomorrow, I may go out and gather them some nice moss patches to go with their current dirt and twigs for a more festive, outdoorsy feel. The red coloring seems to have gone well. We'll have to see.

BenLWolf
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63808Post BenLWolf
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:04 pm

Ant brooding continues. She has quite a lovely clump of fat lil larvae at this point. I gave her a little piece of candy corn for her freshly hatched workers to break down and feed to her as soon as they're mature. The outworld is ready for trial runs with a lovely hunk of moss and some damp forest soil. Now we continue waiting. She's taking her sweet time in raising her babies.

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Into the Fire

Post: # 63815Post Hawkeye
Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:37 pm

BenLWolf wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:04 pm
Ant brooding continues. She has quite a lovely clump of fat lil larvae at this point. I gave her a little piece of candy corn for her freshly hatched workers to break down and feed to her as soon as they're mature. The outworld is ready for trial runs with a lovely hunk of moss and some damp forest soil. Now we continue waiting. She's taking her sweet time in raising her babies.
Good things come to those who wait.

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