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Hi, my name is Jordan and this video I will be sharing with you some of my tips on how to successfully raise up a queen ant.
With the end goal of establishing an ant colony by bringing rise to the queen’s first generation of worker ants.
So the first, obvious thing you'll need is a queen ant.
The queen is vital for the growth of the colony. Without her,
no eggs will be laid and therefore, no new generations of ants will emerge.
If you haven’t yet obtained a queen ant. In my previous tutorial, I covered how to
catch one, so go back and watch that video if you need some tips on finding queens.
Once you've got hold of a queen, you'll need to create a home for her.
In the wild, most queens will construct a small chamber for themselves underground
or within a fallen tree.
The chamber they form will be the space in which they will lay their eggs
and spend the next few weeks and months tending to them. Until, eventually, they
eclose into worker ants.
This period is known as the founding stage of an ant colonies development.
When creating an artificial home for a queen
it's best to try and emulate these natural conditions.
I find great success raising queens within a small test tube.
In this setup, the queen is confined to this small space here, towards the top of the tube,
with the remainder of the tube being used as a water reservoir.
She’s able to drink from there and it also creates some humidity within the setup.
From above, you can see the resemblance to the wild queen’s chamber.
So in order to set this up, first fill up a test tube with fresh water, so it’s about ¾ of the way full.
Then you want to block of the water with a cotton ball. Here I'm using a
cotton bud to push the cotton ball through the tube, that way if you push the cotton in a bit too far,
you can absorb up any excess water that leaks through.
Now the tube is ready for the queen. So gently get her into the tube.
Once she’s in there just seal the end of the tube off with another cotton ball.
You want the seal to be tight enough to prevent the queen from being able to squeeze through,
but not so tight as to prevent a little air flow.
If you’re really having to force it into the tube,
it’s probably too tight a fit. Perhaps tear the cotton in two and use one of the halves as the seal instead.
And that’s essentially the setup. Very simple and effective.
You can even put a bit of sand or soil in there too, then the queen can dig
and rearrange the space more to her liking,
as she would in the wild. Just make sure you sterilize the sand or soil first.
You can do this by either baking or boiling it. Now if you don’t have any test tubes or the equivalent of one,
I really recommend buying some. They’re usually pretty cheap,
I went on Amazon a few years ago and bought 100 tubes for fifteen dollars or so.
Otherwise you can just use a small container with a couple of moistened cotton balls placed inside for hydration and humidity.
Just make sure the container isn’t air tight. What you can do is bore a small
hole or two in it and then stuff the holes with a cotton
ball to allow for a bit of air flow, while containing the Queen as well.
This is a perfectly suitable setup. The downside is you’ll have to continually
make sure the cotton remains moist, as the queen must have constant access to
water. So it requires more work on your part and the regular checking up on
the queen could potentially stress her out, so a test tube setup is preferable.
Regardless of what setup you choose to go with, remember that this is going to
be the queens home for some time.
So when preparing it, make sure all your equipment is sterile and your hands have
been thoroughly cleaned beforehand with hot soapy water.
This will help reduce the chance of harmful mold and bacteria taking over
your setup, and threatening the health of your queen.
Something you’ll need to determine is whether the queen you have is semi or
fully claustral.
Typically, you can differentiate the two by the size of their bodies. Fully
claustral queens tend to have a larger thorax and gaster section, but smaller
head when compared to semi claustral queens.
If you have identified the species of queen you have, a quick bit of research on
that species will usually reveal whether they’re semi of fully claustral or not.
Fully claustral species are able to sustain themselves on water alone until their
workers emerge. Achieving this long period of fasting by utilizing fat
reserves and metabolizing their now useless wing muscles. So feeding these
queens is unnecessary.
However, I find providing them with a source of sugary food early on to
be quite beneficial for their development.
After I’ve housed my queens, I'll offer them a tiny drop of honey. I only put the
slightest amount into the setup. Any food left lying around will
promote mold growth.
So if you do happen to place in more food than the queen is able to consume, make
sure you clean it out as soon as possible.
Semi-claustral species, Queens of the Genus Myrmecia, Rhytidoponera and Odontomachus
for example, lack the ability to fast during the founding process and must
leave their egg laying chambers to hunt for food, in order to nourish both
themselves and their growing larvae. So, unlike fully claustral species,
you will need to feed them and provide a space in which they can forage for this food.
What you can do is place the test tube or container you've set them up
in and put it inside a container like so. This space will be used as their foraging area.
This outer container can be any size you wish
and some protein and sugary rich foods should be provided for the queen within.
Just make sure the container is escape proof and isn't air tight.
Some species of ants are polygynous, meaning they often found their colonies with
multiple queens present. These include some species within the genera Pheidole,
Solonopsis and Monomorium.
I would advise against attempting to house two or more queens together,
however, even species known to be polygamous can often turn against one another.
Resulting in one or even all the queens dying.
It may be tempting to put a bunch of queens together and create a super colony,
but it's safest to just keep the queens on their own.
Once you've got your queen appropriately housed, you'll want to cover the setup from
any light and place it somewhere
free from any vibrations you'll also free from any vibrations. You'll also want to pick a place in which stays at a
consistent temperature. So avoid placing the setup within an air conditioned
room, as rapid changes in temperature can be harmful to the queen. Pick a place
where the temperature doesn't fluctuate too much and where it will stay
relatively warm, ideally at 20 degrees Celsius or above.
It's important to keep the queen relaxed and comfortable within her environment.
A queen that’s disturbed too often, may become stressed and discontinue laying
eggs and even consume eggs that she’s laid.
So avoid troubling her as much as possible.
I like to put my queens in a box somewhere quiet and only check up on
them once every few weeks or so.
Once the queen has settled into her home, she should begin to lay her first batch of eggs.
Sometimes they’ll begin laying almost immediately, but usually it takes about a week or two.
If it’s been over a month and the queen still hasn’t laid any eggs,
it could mean a few things. Your queen could potentially be infertile, be
stressed and uncomfortable with their living space, or, if you live in a
temperate region, might be waiting for warmer weather before getting her colony underway.
Sometimes, mold can inevitability start to form within your setup and you may need
to move the queen elsewhere in order to keep her healthy.
Here's a test tube setup which isn't looking too great.
What I do in this situation is prepare a fresh test tube and just tape it to the end of
the old one. Notice I don't tape it all the way around, so as to leave a little gap for air to get in.
Next what you want to do is expose the old tube to light, while covering up the fresh tube.
The queen will be distressed by the light and will look to relocate to darkened tube.
I like to use natural, indirect light to influence the move, but you can
use artificial lighting too, just make sure the tube isn't positioned too
close to the light source, as the radiating heat could potentially cause the tube to flood.
The moving process may start straight away or can take several days and even
weeks if the queen is really stubborn.
It's important to remain patient though and let the queen move in her own time.
Once she has relocated, just make sure she has transported all of her brood over
before detaching the old tube.
Occasionally, despite all your efforts in accommodating for your queen, she can
uneunexpectedly die, without any real explanation as to why.
Try not to be discouraged by this and just focus on others you may have
caught or catching another queen. Ant keeping often requires patience.
It can sometimes take a long time for the first generation of workers to arrive.
If you’re not the patient type, however, you can speed up this process by heating your colonies.
Here I’ve got heating mat setup.
I’ve positioned the test tube so the entrance is just touching the edge of the heat source.
This establishes a temperature gradient within the tube and allows the queen to
position herself and her brood at their most preferable level of heat.
You can judge if the queen is either accepting of the heat or not,
by where she has positioned herself within the tube.
If she is right up against the entrance of the tube, then she is quite happy with the heat
and you can then shift the tube further towards the heat source.
If she has positioned herself well away from the heat source, then you’ll want
to shift the tube further away from the heat.
It’s better if the queen is below her ideal temperature than over.
So start with the setup fairly far away from the heat source and only gradually move
it closer, carefully observing the queens positioning as you go.
If your heating a container style setup, just be wary the moisture within
the cotton balls will evaporate even faster in the presence of the heat, and so,
you’ll need to add in water more frequently.
If everything goes well, between 1-3 months later, depending on
temperature conditions, the first generation of workers will finally emerge.
For me, this is the most exciting time as an ant keeper.
After watching the queen’s progress, from laying and tending to her eggs,
feeding the larvae and then waiting patiently for them to eclose,
it’s just so satisfying seeing all the queen’s hard work finally pay off. And then
seeing the queen get a much needed break, as the newly emerged workers begin
taking over her previous duties. Leaving her to just relax and lay more eggs for the next generation.
So that’s it for this video, I hope you found it somewhat helpful.
My next video will be on what to do after the first generation of workers have arrived.
Covering what to feed the colony and effective ways in which to house them.
So look forward to that and thanks for watching.
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How To Raise A Queen Ant

701 タグ追加 保存
April Lu 2017 年 10 月 25 日 に公開
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