Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!
The fungus toppled over again yesterday after becoming top heavy, hopefully now there will be a wider base to hold it up as it grows. This week the ants have been given a rest from having rose leaves and i have given them Privet, when i tried privet before the ants were only taking the new shoots but they are happy now with all the leaves.
Everything is going really well, the garden continues to grow and they are using the waste area. They are still taking rose leaves over Vinca and i have tried Box and apple, apple has been accepted but not sure if they are just taking advantage of the juice or they are adding it to the garden. I have also installed an IP camera so i can watch them via the WWW. This took a few days to sort out but the camera is to close and am getting rubbish pics at the moment. When i get around to having a proper feeding area i will get the cam to focus better.
So information for me really as i was very worried about the health of the queen and this morning i saw her inspecting the only cell with some larvae inside. So pleased she looked fit and healthy. I did manage to take a very poor photo of her through the mist 🙁
So a quick update just to say that everything else is going really well and the ants definitely have a preference for rose leaves
So i added a loo for the ants as they have been building up their waste next to the fungus. I put a small sample pot ( fitting ) to the end of a T piece and put in a bit of waste inside. Strange thing this morning was that i had previously gave them some orange peel and during the night they added loads of it, pith and peel to the new loo and to the old loo too.. Is this a form of air freshener or does the acidity neutralise it perhaps ? 🙂
Everything is going very well. The garden is growing and they are down to just the main fungus which i am pleased about, there was no sign of the other small garden they had started in the pod holding the leaves. I also checked the little pot of compost and although they had dug down into it they were just quarrying it, then hauling it out to the main pod. Most of this compost is now being built up around the loose fitting tubes coming from the pod, so what is needed here are proper tank connector so the fittings are tight and sealed. The ants waste a lot of time bunging up these gaps. Not so easy with a cylinder shape though.
I have noticed that they are using the main pod for their waste so this needs sorting out somehow. I managed to smash two boiling tubes trying to construct a waste area, so back to the drawing board here.
My biggest concern at the moment is that i have not seen the queen for 10 days now and although there are some small larvae to be seen they could have been there before.
With the advice from Andrew Stevenson’ forum i added a small pot of compost to the feeding pod as there was a chance that the ants weren’t happy, so giving them an alternative place to build but they took little notice of the extra soil and decided to take some to the original pod instead. Today the main fungus got top heavy and decided to topple over 30 degrees but didn’t fall against the sides of the pod thank goodness. The other fungus was looking precarious, balanced on the rose leaves and it had slid down towards the water in the pot. Tonight there is no sign of it and it was getting on for an inch long too. The ants are taking the compost to the main garden happily building up the sides so i can’t see in…..little buggers. So they are still caring for the original garden so i am hoping all is well.
A full week has gone by since my ants arrived and everything has gone well so far. The fungus has been rebuilt from it’s journey to me and grows daily. The ants are cutting and adding leaves. I have only used Privet, Vinca and rambling rose shoots so far. Privet has been the least favourite and rose the best. The temps have been stable and the humidity has not budged from 99%. I have added a small hole at the bottom of the pod so i can ad some water if needed. The surface has dried a bit and the ants have been digging down into it. They have sealed up one of the pipe holes in the fungus pod as the hole was a bit big and air was getting in. I could have fitted a sleeve into the hole to make a tighter fit perhaps.
So far i am pleased with my decision to build an incubator style set up, it seems to have worked really well, my only gripe is there is not enough room at the top to gain enough access. Raising the pods a few more inches above the heat mat wasn’t planned but that was my fault.
Errrrmmm, next weeek i want to finish the foraging section below and/or put a shelf up level with the top section. I want the food plants to stand in water or better still, potted so height is important. I need the plants to last about 10 days whilst on holiday. Coincidentally at xmas i was breeding Oleander hawk moths and Vinca is their food plant. I saved all the roots and potted them up which i still have growing outside. How lucky 🙂
Oh and i noticed this morning that the ants had put a small piece of fungus at the bottom of the feeding pod, could they be moving, not happy ? and this evening they have put it up into the leaves which are standing in a small pot of water. How awkward.
At last i have seen the Queen in the flesh for the first time, and i’m not talking about “Game of thrones” 🙂 She was bumbling about over the fungus looking at what the workers had been doing before paying them.
Here she is revealing her back end to me 😯
Well she went and turned around…
So the tin foil thats reflecting the heat back in against the front of the pod seems to have worked as most of the condensation has now gone, but i think i might put some jabbalite there instead. The soil has also got very wet as you can see, but i’m not going to mess with it. I put in about 1/2 inch of water in the pod at the start because i wanted to see how long the humidity would stay constant. Holiday worries…