Ants not doing anything

Questions from those who are just starting or considering getting into the ant keeping hobby. If you’re intimidated or confused by the in-depth posts of the other sections of this forum, feel free to post here, and we'll start from square one!

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KristijanVelja
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Location: Croatia, Zagreb
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Ants not doing anything

Post: # 71812Post KristijanVelja
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:36 am

Hey, so I'm new to ant keeping. I found a queen outside a year ago and put her in a test tube setup, she then layed eggs and then a month or two in had her first workers, I had an old formicarium from my past attempt and hooked up the test tube (Which I covered) to the setup so when they were ready they could move in. And to my surprise they moved into the formicarium that night. That was months ago, and they are still in the same position not growing in numbers, they didn't even eat the honey that I provided. I thought that maybe the queen was too stressed out because of light since the formicarium is made out of plastic, I gave them sand which they used to plug up the tunnels.

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

Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 71904Post SkeleAnt
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:23 pm

If your colony is still small, there isn’t a lot for them to do at this time. They are most likely eating the honey provided, just not when you are around. Once they’ve filled their social stomachs, they go back to the nest and they don’t need to forage until their internal reserves are low. Are you giving them a source of protein, or just the honey? Sugar is good for energy, but protein is needed for growth in the brood and the queen to lay eggs. If there’s no growth going on with the brood, there’s very little for the current workers to do.

You should really keep your ants actual nest area in the dark unless you’re checking on them. If they’re always exposed to light it could make them uncomfortable. If they used the sand to plug up tunnels, they probably feel their new nest is too big (and therefore harder to defend from invaders), so they’re cutting off access from the excess space they don’t currently need.
2 founding formica subsericea
1 aphaenogaster rudis
1 brachymyrmex depilis
More still founding!

KristijanVelja
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Location: Croatia, Zagreb
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Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 71960Post KristijanVelja
Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:12 am

Thanks for the tip, I'll make sure to keep them in darker areas, I've ordered the AntsCanada mini nest, but I don't know how I will move them. I keep giving them dead insects which I cut open (I also have 2 geckos and they sometimes don't eat all their crickets/roaches), but they are just left untouched like the honey and grow mold so I remove them.

SkeleAnt
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 72036Post SkeleAnt
Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:50 am

It’s possible the insects you’re providing are too big to take back to the nest, or provide too much food for the current colony numbers, so they’re taking what they need and leaving the remains. Many ants don’t eat solid food, they’re more interested in the liquid parts of a bug’s body, so they drink up the protein rich fluids and go home to share that with everyone else. When they do carry food back to the nest, it’s to cut it apart and have the larvae chew it down, since they need more protein than grown ants and are made to chew solid matter.

If they aren’t taking any of the food you’re offering at this point, I would recommend waiting a few days, maybe a week, without giving them anything at all, and then giving them a small drop of honey and see if they eat that. I bet they don’t need any food right now because everyone has a full social stomach so there’s no need to go foraging. Keep us posted on the situation!
2 founding formica subsericea
1 aphaenogaster rudis
1 brachymyrmex depilis
More still founding!

KristijanVelja
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:27 am
Location: Croatia, Zagreb
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Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 72083Post KristijanVelja
Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:41 pm

I tried leaving them without food for 2 weeks, and then giving them a freshly cut open mealworm, it was just left out, I even took a picture of what it looked like before and then when I checked up on it a day later it was untouched.

SkeleAnt
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 72292Post SkeleAnt
Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:14 am

KristijanVelja wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:41 pm
I tried leaving them without food for 2 weeks, and then giving them a freshly cut open mealworm, it was just left out, I even took a picture of what it looked like before and then when I checked up on it a day later it was untouched.
I should have asked first, but you do you know what species of ant you have/do you have any pictures? It could be that your ants don’t eat the kind of food you’re providing. Do the workers’ gasters look swollen/buldging at all? If they investigated it and weren’t interested they could still be well stocked on food. Have they taken any honey after the 2 week dry period?

Sometimes ants are picky eaters, you could try giving them a different protein source like peanutbutter or egg yolk. If they at least take pieces back to the nest, they’re eating it.
2 founding formica subsericea
1 aphaenogaster rudis
1 brachymyrmex depilis
More still founding!

KristijanVelja
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:27 am
Location: Croatia, Zagreb
Contact:

Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 72768Post KristijanVelja
Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:54 am

Hey! An update on the ants, I have tried giving them different insects and even different types of meat, but it is still left untouched, regarding the species I was just about to post on the ant species id center, I've been thinking about releasing them and continue with my second colony, which is doing great, they are in the AntsCanada hybrid nest mini.

KristijanVelja
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:27 am
Location: Croatia, Zagreb
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Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 72774Post KristijanVelja
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:00 am

KristijanVelja wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:54 am
Hey! An update on the ants, I have tried giving them different insects and even different types of meat, but it is still left untouched, regarding the species I was just about to post on the ant species id center, I've been thinking about releasing them and continue with my second colony, which is doing great, they are in the AntsCanada hybrid nest mini.
Edit: Just after I posted this I saw an ant on my desk, I followed it and found out that the ant farm I bought online (Not the AntsCanada hybrid nest mini) has flaws, I found 2 holes for them to escape, so they most likely found food someplace else.

ANTLORD
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:58 pm

Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 73791Post ANTLORD
Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:54 pm

lol, and to think of the amount of money that must have cost you...
Trying to find a queen ant :D

KristijanVelja
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:27 am
Location: Croatia, Zagreb
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Re: Ants not doing anything

Post: # 74918Post KristijanVelja
Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:54 pm

It truly did cost a lot unfortunately, and I think that light is bothering them, I have 2 colonies, the one discussed on this post and another one in an AntsCanada hybrid nest mini, the ones in the hybrid nest mini are newer but there are a lot more of them and they are more active while the ones in the older one are acting shy but I see they are alive and well.

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