I’m having problems lowering the temps much below 20 c where they are and the ants are still pretty active but mostly at night after lights out. I have now moved them onto a window sill which is about 15 c and will drop more, i just have to make sure its not to drastic. The ants are also getting a natural light cycle which should also help stimulate them to rest.
Temps are fluctuating between 9c – 15c and the ants of both colonies seem pretty quiet with just a few ants ambling about the arena. I’m adding a few drops of water for them on some cotton wool but nothing else. I have noticed a slight smell coming from both colonies, not sure what this is so i have put the small pc fans running to try and freshen up the air a bit for them.
This morning i have taken my two colonies out from their winter break and raised the temps quite dramatically up to about 18 c. I’m not sure if the break has been altogether successful because the temps have fluctuate between 8c and 15c. There are no eggs or larvae to be seen so the queen had stopped laying and i am happy that i haven’t found any dead ants in either colony. The ants have eagerly accepted prey items so hopefully they will resume with a happy 2012…
I still haven’t got around to building their new nests yet and i will have to loose one of my colony’s 🙁 I’ll just wait a while so i can confirm both queens have made it through the rest.
I have finally made my ants their new nest and decided to use Crystacast Plaster as it sets like concrete, hopefully it wont be so easy for the ants to chew their way out. It better not as this stuff is expensive. I used a small faunarium and made the negative impessions for the tunnels from play dough that i had made from flour and salt earlier. That bit was fun. I then coated the sides of the faunarium with vedgeatable oil so the plaster would come out easier and then went to mix the plaster. Right, ready to pour the plaster in and ….BUGGER!!!!, the oil had caused the play dough to slide down into a heap to the bottom. I had to quickly chuck it all out and start again but the plaster was already setting, i added some more water twice, formed the tunnels and in a panic, poured in the plaster. Well it didnt look to good but useable. Crystacast Plaster sets like rock in about half an hour and is very heavy, infact it was setting as i was pouring it and had to make a bit more to finish it off. Anyway, next time ill know .
I wanted to use the whole box for the nest , the first part was to put in the water reserve. Also at the back the entrance and air vent.
The playdough forming the tunnels.
After the plasters been poured and cleaned.
Entrance and vent
Connected to original arena.
I took the cover of the RG’s and the ants very quickly began moving their seed stores to the new nest. I don’t think the queen has moved yet but all seems good.
All the ants moved into the new nest within the day and spent another 2 days moving their seeds. I didnt noticed that i hadn’t put the plaster back into the faunarium properly, and it wasn’t quite sitting on the bottom so the ants were able to get underneath. Ill have to be very carefully when handling it otherwise a slight slip and ill end up squashing 100’s 🙁 This is a worry so i will probably make them another.
The breeding seasons has began again with this nice clump of eggs, although there are some larger larvae in the nest i think they must have been left over from last years before hibernation. Looks like they are content with the new nest though.
Today i was happy to see that there are already pupae inside the nest, all goes well so far this year for the harvesters. I still have plenty of dandelion seeds left over from last summer and they are always eager to choose these over millets, another month and i will be able to collect more of these seeds. I still want to get some niger seeds to see how they compare.