Since it is ridiculously tedious trying to resize pictures here, those who wish to view them can do so on my website forum.
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click on "forums" (For membership, it is free) > Tropical Zone Ants > "Atta cephalotes bicolor".
I will be updating more regularly on my personal forum but I will update here as well periodically. Photos will be on the other website as the website automatically resizes pictures for me.
So to update since my last update:
There is a LOT of action going on in the nest. There are TONS of new workers, brood and eggs are carried to different parts of the nest regularly. The ants have been busy building and shaping their nest founding chamber. It has been hollowed out to accommodate the fungus garden which is larger than ever before. It measures to ~10cm tall and 6cm wide and ever growing. Although the queen had disappeared for the last 3 weeks within the nest, I did not worry. Usually healthy colony and fungus means healthy queen. Until today I was a bit curious as to what happened to her, but yesterday some of the excavating workers reached another side of the container and this now allows me a "side view" of the fungus garden---- and the queen. There she was, perched up on the fungus, presumably laying or sleeping. Queen Attas have been recorded to be sleeping/resting for a good part of the day (I forget the source but I'll try finding it). This makes sense as the business of laying eggs at a monstrous rate must be exhausting. Our little antagonists (the mites) have been gone for a long time now. Not one mite has been observed in a few months. As it is spring outside I now have access to Raspberry leaves, bramble, rose leaves and more. All of these are growing in my backyard so there has been a LOT more to feed my ants. I will worry about the upcoming 2012 winter when it arrives (My research shows that these ants can survive easily on cornmeal, semi-cooked rice, various market produce etc.). For now though it looks like the colony will be undergoing a time of plenty in the upcoming warm months. No majors are to be reported yet but there should be one or two in the next few months. All is well.
Pics on other site.
& Here's a YouTube video of my colony (for those like me who can easily become "entranced" while observing the ant state)links are only visible for registered users