Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

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Haze809
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 30, 2020 3:14 pm
Location: Florida

Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70552Post Haze809
Sat May 30, 2020 3:47 pm

Greetings to all!

The Problem
I think I accidentally received a Red Harvester Queen Ant from Nature's Gift when I purchased a "toy" Ant Farm with 50 live ants. As far as I know, they clearly state they don't sell or ship queens.. but after watching AntsCanada's video for days, I think this ant checks a lot of the boxes needed to be a queen. I need your help confirming my suspicions are correct.. Please see attached pictures.

Why I think it's a Queen?
- Much larger size than any other ant in the farm.
- I can see "Scars" where her wings were supposed to be.
- Her behavior is different than other ants.. doesn't dig or move much, just stays at the top climbing things and not moving much.
- I can see the 3 extra "eyes" on top of her head (I think)
- Is constantly licking her tail/stinger.

I've had the toy ant farm for about 48 hours now and the believed to be "queen" has not gone down any of the tunnels and likes to roam the top area instead. I'd say it's dark 75% of the time.. I purchased this one to "see" the ants dig tunnels and live their lives along with my toddler. So.. I know I may be bothering her too much if she is a queen and will not lay eggs this way.

The Solutions
If it is a queen.. What do I do now? I had purchased an actual queen with eggs (currently in a test tube in my closet) and had purchased a small Ant Tower from AntsCanada for her.. but if I accidentally got a queen with this toy ant farm then it changes the scenario..

If it is a queen --
- Should I seclude it and put it in a test tube environment by herself until she lays eggs and some new workers arrive?
- Should I try to move the entire "colony" from the toy ant farm into the AntsCanada small tower?
- Should I leave the "colony" in the toy ant farm along with the queen?

If it's not a queen then never mind!
Link to images: https://postimg.cc/gallery/VkvQBvW

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NKantsalberta
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 6:48 pm
Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta
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Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70553Post NKantsalberta
Sat May 30, 2020 6:13 pm

Hello! well, first off congratulations that is a queen, fortuitous mistake on their part for you.

My suggestion, would be to collect her and a couple workers in a test tube (like you would a normal queen for founding, with cotton blocking a water reservoir) and attach that test tube to the ant farm you have shown. This will allow the colony to function in the ant farm, and the queen can have a larger space, which you can also wrap tin foil or other opaque material around to provide darkness.

Harvester ant queens are semi-claustral, so they are required to forage for food during their founding stage, and cannot just be left alone as would other species. Harvester ants are very sensitive to vibrations however, so In the end, it is up to you which course you want to take for the ant farm itself. If your toddler is going to be bumping the set-up alot, best to move a few workers with the queen and purchase a good founding nest, or utilize the AC test tube and portal set-up for ease of feedings.
Raising 2x Camponotus novaeboracensis, 2x Formica podzolica, 2x Lasius neoniger.

Facebook/Instagram : @NKantsalberta

Haze809
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 30, 2020 3:14 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70554Post Haze809
Sat May 30, 2020 8:07 pm

Thanks for your response! Honestly I feel so lucky to have received this queen and would love to grow its colony.

I kept telling myself it could not be a queen because of where I got it from..but at least thats one more person that thinks it may be a queen too!

How is it possible though? Im not sure how Natures Gift gets their ants..I imagine they have a few colonies to choose workers from. I tried to google but didnt find the answer..

- Do Red Harvester Ants have multiple queens?
- If they have multiple queens, how is it possible she was picked out?
- If they have one queen.. did they possibly just send me their one and only queen? (For that colony) that would be crazy lucky.

In any case, I look forward to more comments, feedback and suggestions.

I will keep this topic updated with any news/progress from this colony. I need a name for this unexpected colony too!

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CabboAntsGuy
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:32 pm
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70555Post CabboAntsGuy
Sat May 30, 2020 8:57 pm

Haze809 wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:07 pm
- Do Red Harvester Ants have multiple queens?
- If they have multiple queens, how is it possible she was picked out?
- If they have one queen.. did they possibly just send me their one and only queen? (For that colony) that would be crazy lucky.
With that in mind, there is a chance, and this would be a little bit hard to believe, but unless you've seen her lay any eggs, she might be an alate from the colony and broken off her wings but not mated. She could have been taken from the nest and not be mated, in which case she would become another worker. I hope that this is not the case and that she is in-fact fertile and will workout for you, I just thought I would bring this up.
Keep:
3 camponotus pennsylvanicus
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The Camponotus Crew! https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=15267
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

Haze809
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 30, 2020 3:14 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70557Post Haze809
Sat May 30, 2020 9:40 pm

@CabboAntsGuy
Thanks for bringing me back to earth a little bit :) i was already imagining myself with a queen laying eggs.

Based on her behaviour, for now, she is not acting like another worker..and does seem to be looking for a nest. For now i added a new tube of water wrapped in foil paper. Should be dark and moist enough.

I’m very very tempted to add a connector to my small AntTower and see if they prefer that instead..at least the queen. The “toy” ant farms could serve as an out world in this case.

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CabboAntsGuy
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Location: Wisconsin, U.S.

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70565Post CabboAntsGuy
Sun May 31, 2020 10:24 am

Haze809 wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 9:40 pm
Based on her behaviour, for now, she is not acting like another worker
That might be because she was taken out of the nest and not kept in it. If she left the nest then she may think she's a queen, where as if she were left in the nest and wasn't able to go and breed, then she would probably become a worker. Either way she won't act exactly like a worker.

Like I said, she may still be a queen that is fertile. You'll have to find out.
Keep:
3 camponotus pennsylvanicus
2 formica subsericea
The Camponotus Crew! https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=15267
Need help or want to help? https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18153#p70566

Hawkeye
Posts: 1561
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70576Post Hawkeye
Sun May 31, 2020 3:56 pm

Haze809 wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 3:47 pm
Greetings to all!

The Problem
I think I accidentally received a Red Harvester Queen Ant from Nature's Gift when I purchased a "toy" Ant Farm with 50 live ants. As far as I know, they clearly state they don't sell or ship queens.. but after watching AntsCanada's video for days, I think this ant checks a lot of the boxes needed to be a queen. I need your help confirming my suspicions are correct.. Please see attached pictures.
Hey there!

I just wanted to offer up my ideas, even though you probably won't like what I have to say...

I don't know the company who sells the kits, but yeah, they probably have some large colonies to harvest workers from. Like all large colonies, they will produce new queens and male alates to spread out and conquer new territories to ensure the survival of the species. When they fly out (nuptial flight) depends on cues from the environment. For example, most flights occur right after a rain shower when temperatures have been consistently high for at least a couple of days.

Now I suspect the company will in fact have multiple colonies, but I doubt they will let them crossbreed haphazardly. So, I reckon your queen will have been preparing to fly out and mate, but I doubt she was able to. Next to that I am pretty sure she wouldn't have been able to mate with alates from the same nest. (I could be wrong here of course.) So, your queen will probably have been fairly inactive, eating anything the worker ants would feed her and awaiting the next rain shower.

When they shipped the ants of to you, they must have mistaken her for a major, or simply overlooked her. The worker ants on the other hand, will have noticed her (and the absence of the original queen) and probably accepted her as their queen as she carries the same scent of the nest. They are likely also responsible for clipping her wings, losing her wings will make her more maneuverable underground.

If your queen was fertilized, her instinct would be to dig a claustral chamber in which to lay her first eggs. The fact that she is out and about, climbing to high vantage points, is in my opinion a second confirmation that she hasn't mated.

Anyway, if it were me, I wouldn’t remove the queen, as the worker ants have quite clearly accepted her, and I don’t see any benefit in isolating her. If she isn’t fertilized as I suspect, she will simply live out her lifespan like the other ants in the setup.
Now I might have missed it in the pictures, but I didn't see any food (seeds, insects, sugar water) in the kit. If you haven’t your ants are probably hungry. Seeing them carry the food to their storeroom might be a cool sight for your kid too.

Haze809
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 30, 2020 3:14 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70648Post Haze809
Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:05 am

A little update on my wanna be Queen.

I connected a small AntTower to the toy ant farm almost 24 hours ago. It has been kept dark, added a piece of fresh fruit (which they loved) and a test tube with honey water connected to the Ant Tower.

I would say 80-85% of all Ants are now in the AntTower digging and moving things around. I can tell they prefer this set up over the toy farm, which is good feedback for AntsCanada! There is still a lot of action in the AntTower. Many ants are carrying the white sand from the toy farm into the small AntTower..which I dont mind as I can see them more clearly.

The problem is.. even though 80-85% of ants moved to the AntTower..the Wannabe Queen still hasn't checked it out and is still just climbing the top of the toy ant world.. I know it takes time to move an ant colony into a new nest, especially when no tricks are being used (light, temperature etc). As a result of the queen not interested in the AntTower yet, I'm starting to lose hope that she is indeed a fertile queen.. but I will keep you guys updated.

1 more thing, my home is usually between 70-75 degrees which is "Alright" for these ants but not ideal for encouraging more egg laying. I'm curious if I should buy a reptile heated mat or cable and put it under or on a side of the AntTower.. with hopes to make it more appealing for the queen.

Hawkeye
Posts: 1561
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70652Post Hawkeye
Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:17 am

Haze809 wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:05 am
A little update on my wanna be Queen.

I connected a small AntTower to the toy ant farm almost 24 hours ago. It has been kept dark, added a piece of fresh fruit (which they loved) and a test tube with honey water connected to the Ant Tower.

I would say 80-85% of all Ants are now in the AntTower digging and moving things around. I can tell they prefer this set up over the toy farm, which is good feedback for AntsCanada! There is still a lot of action in the AntTower. Many ants are carrying the white sand from the toy farm into the small AntTower..which I dont mind as I can see them more clearly.

The problem is.. even though 80-85% of ants moved to the AntTower..the Wannabe Queen still hasn't checked it out and is still just climbing the top of the toy ant world.. I know it takes time to move an ant colony into a new nest, especially when no tricks are being used (light, temperature etc). As a result of the queen not interested in the AntTower yet, I'm starting to lose hope that she is indeed a fertile queen.. but I will keep you guys updated.

1 more thing, my home is usually between 70-75 degrees which is "Alright" for these ants but not ideal for encouraging more egg laying. I'm curious if I should buy a reptile heated mat or cable and put it under or on a side of the AntTower.. with hopes to make it more appealing for the queen.
It is likely the 'dark' part the ants appreciate most :D

QJH2023
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: MN

Re: Did I accidentally receive a Red Harvester Queen?

Post: # 70863Post QJH2023
Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:23 pm

lucky duck!!! :o :shock: :? :lol: how does that evan happen?
keeper of: 41xCamponotus novaeboracensis, Crematogaster spp. and unidentified species and tapinoma sessile

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