Lasius niger Diary

Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon dodgydogman » 18. Jul 2008 22:16

I will start with a little about myself; I am 14, I have been fascinated by ants for as long as I can remember and have always wanted my own colony.

Feel free to chat and please answer my questions. Sorry it probably seems horribly clustered, this is my first diary and these are my first ants.




Tuesday 15th July
I ordered the colony from Edu-sci, as they are a UK company and I knew that the ants would be sent faster than AntStore (sorry AntStore). I was a little disappointed in Edu-Sci’s variety of types of ant farms but settled on Starter Set B.



Wednesday 16th July

My colony has arrived! That was fast. I unpacked my ants and the ant farm and proceeded to set everything up, I had read somewhere that it is good to keep my colony in the test tube until you have gotten about 10 workers. As my colony already had 16-18 (they are so hard to count…) I felt they would do fine. The Queen had a small pile of larvae, maybe 10-15.
I set up my farm, put a food dish and a water dish (with cotton wool to stop drowning) and added 1 drop of sugar water to the food dish, I made my own from water sugar and honey. Within 20 second of putting the test tube in and opening it, about 10 of the ants scurried towards the sugar water. I sat watching as they drank but became worried as a few seemed to be trying to pull its head out of it pushing with its legs trying to get out of the solution. This became more panicked as they started using each other to get out, pushing each other into the drop. I watched thinking they would sort themselves out. Soon they a couple stopped moving. I pulled them out with a cocktail stick and dried it up, replacing it with a cotton ball. If I had left them I would have lost maybe 6 or 7 of my ants.
A couple of ants seem to be acting strangely, they are just staying in one place up in the digging area, very strange, I made a hole with a pencil next to them (thinking they were looking for a place to dig a home, they proceeded to move in (not the colony, just the two ants…). I added some cocoons from a colony I dug up earlier. The cocoons are almost as big as my queen, the ants seem to take no notice of them.
Lol busy day.



Friday 18th July

That small bunch of larvae has turned into about 10 cocoons. I think the queen laid another pile of eggs but its too dark to look at them (they might just be some larvae). They seem to be taking some bit’s a pieces of food I give them, so far; 2 fruit flies, a small part of a house fly and a couple of grass seed.
Hehe I love giving them grass seeds and watching them take them into their test tube :D

This edit took out tonnes of stupid stuff i have said :oops: I bet I have left a bit though :?
Zuletzt geändert von dodgydogman am 19. Jul 2008 10:58, insgesamt 1-mal geändert.
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon tail__ » 18. Jul 2008 23:10

Some basics: Eggs don't grow. The ant's life cycle is like this: egg - larva - pupa - imago (adult insect). In case of Lasius and other species of Formicinae subfamily the pupa is enclosed in cocoon, and these cocoons are commonly called "ant eggs" - this is of course false, ant eggs are very small. For sure not "about half the size of the queen" :) Please name the stages correctly. Larvae grow very fast, so it is quite normal they double their size in 1-2 days. Actually the larva stage is the shortest.

You can give the cocoons (not "eggs") from other colony, but is really not necessary, and it is not nice to damage other colony's home. And it seems you gave them huge, "royal" cocoons - so if something will hatch from them it would be new winged queens! It wasn't clever move. Of course they will be useless for such a small colony. Maybe the ants will simply kill them. Don't do anything until you really know what you do. In most cases it is the best to leave the colony alone, only making sure the ants have proper environment.
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon FredeP » 19. Jul 2008 09:26

You can give the cocoons (not "eggs") from other colony


Yes u can do that, but u shall be sure that is worker coccons, and not queens cocoons or male cocoons, because like he said they will kill them, and they will not help the small colony. But I have just take 15 new cocoons from another colony, and it's works!(:
So u can, but u shall know what u are doing, and don't get any adult ants with them! Because if u do that, u will kill maybe our colony, so that is not good, but hope it's help what I just have wrote(:
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon dodgydogman » 19. Jul 2008 10:50

Ok thanks for the advise, I looked it up and I looked at some photos of cocoons. Lol I cant believe that I thought that those were eggs, I will edit my diary, also the cocoons I got from another colony (which I am pretty sure are Lasius Niger) are two times as big as my cocoons. They are huge, should I take them out? I don’t want to bother the queen but they might be/probably are queens.

Also when I get my eggs I only lift up pavestones so I don’t have to dig up the colony. :grin:
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon FredeP » 19. Jul 2008 11:07

Yes take the big cocoons out, but only if they are bigger than the cocoons your colony self have made!(: And u shall be sure that it's Lasius niger cocoons, and not another ant's cocoons, because they will might kill our queen, and distroy your colony!(; - and hope u can use that (: But remember, be care full about what u do, and do never do a thing u don't know what is. (: And we will help and guide u here on Anstore's forum!(:
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon dodgydogman » 20. Jul 2008 10:04

Sunday 20th July

Yesterday I was breaking up an old swing set in our back garden when I noticed that there were ants inside of it. I quickly got a box and poured the ants into it hoping to get a queen, instead I got about 50 ants 20 winged queens and about 200-300 cocoons. I removed the ants, cleaned out my food dish and poured the cocoons onto the dish. Soon my ants start looking all over the cocoons, going backwards and forwards. It wasn’t for a few hour before they started taking them into their nest, but they were still very careful, they would go around the cocoons as if looking for a particular one. When I woke up today their whole test tube is almost packed with cocoons. there is about half an inch left and the queen seems to be a bit cramped at the top right against the ceiling. I feel like I am cheating as already about 20 ants have hatched but are still white/yellow. Also I have a Q for u guys, I read online that the ants take a few hours to go black and their shells to harden, a few of my ants are almost 20 hours old and are only slightly darkening.
Ps. As I write this 3 more ants have been born. Lol I am sooo cheating :D
Pps. Another Q. What are my ants going to do when the tube fills up… in about 2 hours.

Rofl, all of the new borns are staying near the entrance of the tube and getting in the way of the ants carrying cocoons
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon tail__ » 20. Jul 2008 11:38

For Lasius niger it takes 1-2 days to be completely coloured black.
When the tube will begin too small, they will look for a new living place. A test tube is intended to keep only very small colony, <100 workers, and it would take circa 6 months for a beginner colony to grow to this size without "cheating". 200-300 ants is surely too much for a test tube. So better make some serious nest very quickly!
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon SteveUK28 » 20. Jul 2008 11:39

you want to be carefull as i tried the same thing.. only to find it was males being born, if thats the case with you then i doubt your colony will be able to sustain them.
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon JimmyVe » 20. Jul 2008 15:11

Hello dodgydogman and welcome to the forum.

I read that you have a Lasius niger colony. They grow fast so i don't understand why you are boosting them ? (adding cocoons) If you are so impatient maybe ant keeping is not your thing. You need patient to keep ants. I know it is all new and fun but you need to learn to be patient.

These ants do not eat seeds, so it is not necessary to give them grass seeds. It better to learn about the ants first before you keep them. Check out the Care sheet in the beginners section.
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon dodgydogman » 20. Jul 2008 21:09

Ok guys, thanks for the advise again! My ants seem to be doing great, all of the ants that have hatched seem to be worker ants and they are also helping bring the eggs in :), I am sure the ants are going to be fine as my workers I have now seem to be doing a great job helping all of the ants out of their cocoons, my numbers are increase at an alarming rate (I have about 50 ants now), as for the spacing problem, all I can do is hope that they will move to the digging area when all the ants hatch.
Ps. I read online that they eat grass seeds but you have had more experience so I will stop giving them to them and also the eggs I gave them would have gone in the bin because we were throwing away the climbing frame, I just thought that recycling them was better. You don’t have to accuse me of being impatient. I am new here, my ants are doing great, I don’t see the problem.
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon FredeP » 21. Jul 2008 12:19

I'm glad to hear that your ants are going great!(:
But how many cocoons did u catch?(:
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon dodgydogman » 21. Jul 2008 14:30

21st July

Ants are still doing amazingly! I have a population of about 60-70 right now, most of them are pretty close to being fully black, they filled up the tube and are piling the cocoons up outside, by the end of the week I think most of the cocoons will of hatched :D.
Oh yeah FredeP, I think I got about 200-300, as the test tube is full, 60-70 of them have hatched and there are loads still outside. I just hope my small tank will be big enough to hold all of them.
Roflcopter, my ants look so silly all stuck in a small test tube crammed with cocoons and young yellow ants.

Oh yeah I forgot my queen seems to be alright but because of all the cocoons I have not given the colony much to eat. I read that in the wild the queen will lay her eggs and sit by them until they hatch and they take ages to hatch. I think it will be only 1 or two days before the ants have relocated all of the cocoons and I cant feed them, will she be ok and can she just get the other ants to regurgitate food for her if she is hungry?
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon FredeP » 21. Jul 2008 16:20

If she is hungry the other ants will feed her, because that is the workers job, and to cleaning the nest and many other things. That day I took cocoons I only took 15, because I think that more was to many, and my queens shall also have a job, if u understand (;
- but it's okay with 200-300 workers, but I mean it's to many when u are new to ants (: But fine ; )
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon JimmyVe » 21. Jul 2008 16:53

young yellow ants


If the ants are really yellow they could be Lasius flavus that is not really a problem as long as they accept them.
You should feed your ants, the queen and brood needs food. Also the workers need food. Give them insects and sweets (honey or sugar water).

I just hope my small tank will be big enough to hold all of them


If that is already the case you need a new setup soon. This species gets big soon (the colony i mean) they can grow up to 40.000 workers in one colony.

I read online that they eat grass seeds but you have had more experience so I will stop giving them


I don't know where you read that, but like i said. They don't eat seeds. ;)

also the eggs I gave them would have gone in the bin because we were throwing away the climbing frame, I just thought that recycling them was better. You don’t have to accuse me of being impatient


Okay maybe you are not impatient than, still it is not a must to boost this species. And personally i think 300 cocoons is to much for such a small colony.
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Re: Lasius niger Diary

Beitragvon dodgydogman » 21. Jul 2008 21:27

Thanks JimmyVe, ... I said young yellow ants because the ants are yellow when they hatch , I don’t have enough money right now to buy a new tank but I will buy a bigger tank when I can. I agree that 300 cocoons is a bit much for my small colony but they were hatching really fast and I didn’t want to waste them, anyway the colony isn’t so small anymore ;) I have almost 80 ants now, I will give them fresh bugs tomorrow, they already have sugar water.
Oh yeah and I know about 300 ants is a few to many ants for a newbie :D but I will try my best :D

You have been so much help!

Oh wait I have a BIG question!: Some of my ants have tiny white bugs on them, I read that they are probably mites that hang on to the ant and feed of waste and are harmless, but they seem to be making it hard for them to walk, there was one with a mite on its antennae and the ant kept of trying to get it off. So far I have seen 2 mites and have picked the ants up with tweezers and pulled the mites of them, the ants were fine when I put them back, should I be worried and keep on removing the mites, or are they really harmless and ignore it?!
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