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project: Immortal ant farm


specimen24-6
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Hello every body as the displayed on the title I'm working on a personal project where I try to make a immortal ant farm (the ants won't be immortal but the colony will).

This is how plan A will work I'm using a species of ant called Linepithema humile or Argentine ant and these ants are invasive ( unfortunately) here in California. Very recently I've stumbled upon a brood mother load so I took a bunch of ants and brood. Now I have read that these ants make super colony and that these ants reproductives breed with in there colony it has been said that the workers execute there own queens/mothers and replace them with freshly mated queens but this happens once a year and nobody knows why. Almost forgot that there are multiple queens in one colony.

So what I'm trying to do is trying to get the ants brood to become queens and males(the males will come from unfertilised eggs laid by the workers) and if this works then this will be a success but if it doesn't then plan B will be in order (this wont be reviled until plan A is a total failure)

I will try to up date my progress as soon as possible and pictures wont be up till I get a hold of a camera at the mean time please feel free to comment and ask question I will answer question to the best of my ability

11-11-13

Nothing out of the ordinary jus a bunch of ants with brood

"big things have small beginning" quote I here'd from Prometheus

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I'm using a temporary tupperware method this includes a tupperware container and 2 test tube (one where the ants live the other has cotton and water) bub I dont have test tubes so I use a glass vial and a small plastic pill bottle. Later when the colony grows I will use a plaster ant farm.

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Are you sure they're L. humile? From your description, it sounds like you only managed to collect workers and brood. It is rare to find a lot of brood of that species without also uncovering a large number of queens.

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11-12-13

I think I see a male ant tonight. It must have been from one of the pupa I've collected or must have miss it while collecting or it cold be my eyes playing tricks on me ether way I can't wait till my colony gets its queens

Apheanogster I'm very sure there L.humile , I've collected them them from a sight that I've been whaching for years I've also witness them budding I've tried to catch the queen but she was to fast and I think the reason why there wasnt any queens is probably the workers already exicute them that and I was doing things at random so there might be a queen in there some where. And juguing by your name by your user name you must be a fellow ant keeper nice to speak to you :)

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Yes, I am. :) Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it is difficult to find species that form "immortal" colonies where I live (CO). Anyway, good luck with your project!

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Thank you, what kind of ants species do you keep or see in your area Aphaenogaster. I see fire ants, California harvester ants, pyramid and some sort of Formica sp. Sorry for saying there common name there Latin name are quite difficult to spell :D

And please keep on asking questions or comments Im interested in hearing on what you have to say:)

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I keep captive colonies of only three species at the moment: Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Tetramorium caespitum, and Pheidole ceres. I may post some pictures of them here when I find the time. I'm lucky enough to live in a region with very high ant diversity. In my neighborhood alone, I've come across at least a dozen species. Sadly, with the exception of termites, we don't have any native cockroaches that I know of.

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Aphaenogaster aren't pheidole sp. good candadates for this project or is it a particular species because I have seen a video some where in YouTube of a captive colony slates bedding inside there nest. I hope to find a pheidole queen some day because I find there polymorthic workers fansinating.

Also can you give me some pointers on how t make a plaster formicarium.

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There are some Pheidole species (i.e. P. megacephala) that live in "immortal" colonies, but most do not. From what I know of P. ceres, I would say they are among those with a more typical colony structure. Pheidole are extraordinary ants, perhaps my favorite genus! :)

As for how to build a formicarium, the below link has some useful videos on the subject. Hydrostone is the preferred alternative to plaster, since it's much more resistant to fungal growth. If you can't get ahold of hydrostone, adding activated charcoal to the plaster mixture can also be effective.

www.youtube.com/lueshi112

Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

11-27-13

I whent to my argentine ant hunting sight again and I found queens I think I only cought one queen and workers and not to mention brood but I will come back to the that sight again because they tend to always come back to this sight and it has a rock that I flip over there is where they congragate with there brood and there queens. In a matter of time I will have my immortal ant farm.

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  • 1 month later...

1-8-14

Happy new years every one I wish I could say the same for my escapees of my argentine ant colony long story short the tupperwhere container keeped them in was open slieghtly during a bus trip from here to Los Angeles (LA), I had to kill as many as I can before my care takers can find them :( as far as I can tell there were all workers not queens and workers are expendable. Yes, and another thing worth mentioning is that argentine ants are also invasive to LA way before I decided to keep them.

Aphaenogaster or any ant keeper out there, I am wondering if I could use transparent plastic tudes that I can find in hardware because I what to view my ants easily because I can't see them with all the dirt in the way I will put moist cotton on one end an nothing on the other end. If this does not work then can you tell me any other way or a way can I can improve this idea because I've read that Paster can be broken and chipped. If any of you are reading this pease respond.

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