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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Week 4

Not much to say really. The garden has grown a bit more and they are using the Loo (waste area) that i made for them which is good news. One of the cells has quite a few larvae in now. The humidity has dropped to 98 % but i will leave it at the moment. Ermmm, well here’s some pics 🙂

 

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Queen spotted

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 🙁

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So a quick update just to say that everything else is going really well and the ants definitely have a preference for rose leaves

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

New loo

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 ? 🙂

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Week 3

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.

 

 

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Toppled over

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.

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Week 2

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.

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Queen

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 😯

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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…

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Second night

The ants have had a busy time and have started to add leaves to the fungus, really pleased they have settled in so well. 😀 I have opened up the waste pod for them and after some initial investigations they went back to their duties. They are being kept in total darkness until at least they feel secure then i’ll see what happens with the lights on may be. My biggest problem is getting a decent photo as the pod has some condensation on the front. I think it’s because the front is that much cooler even though i have a 5 mm acrylic window, so to combat this i have put some hard board in the window frame and covered it in tin foil. This will hopefully reflect the heat back to the front of the pod. Failing that i cold just use the jabbalite insulation, but this would be inconvenient to take out for a quick view.

Temps 24.5 and humidity 99%

So a couple of hazy pics but you can see already how much green has been added.

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

First morning

With anticipation i couldn’t wait to see what had happened over night and i was very pleased to see that they had built up the fungus and not taken it into the tubes. At lunch time ( mine not there’s )  i opened up the feeding pod and offered them some Privet and Vinca major. I did see one ant later carrying a piece of leaf it had cut into the main pod so, i’m happy to know that they seem happy. Plenty of brood and i think iv’e spotted Queen Bernard in the pic at least. 🙂

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Acromyrmex octospinosus

Today my Ants arrived ( Acromyrmex octospinosus )

So today, just after 9 am my Acromyrmex octospinosus arrived by special delivery and i had to wait all day to get them home after work and get them settled in.

Opening the box.

Well the box arrived in perfect condition and was well packed using bubble wrap and a heat pack that was still nice and warm. I was a bit anxious as to how to go about getting the ants into their new home so i put the pod in a small bowl of water and opened the containing tub. I was expecting a mass exodus but they all seemed pretty calm apart from one that was trying to chew my knuckle, but i’m ‘ard and it didn’t hurt 🙂 The fungus was just a pile of dust, well the postie was a women driver and must have had a rough trip so i just tipped it all into the pod. Only one was taking a swim, picked her up and placed with her sisters and closed the lid. Simple. I turned the light off, blocked off the two connecting tubes and left them to rebuild and settle in. Tomorrow i will reconnect the tubes as i have given them another option as to where they can settle. I just put a bit of soil in the waste pod, but it’s nice to have the choice.

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Doh!!! forgot to take the tissue out…..

Finally the perspex arrived for the bottom section so tomorrow i will finish that off.