Does anyone know what I am doing wrong?

#1
I keep black Harvestor ants but ever since I first saw them (they had at least 15 or more workers) the population has been declining until I only have 9 of them left! they seem to like being moist so I jeep giving one of the two sponges next to there nest a good squirt of water and I had gave them a good amuont of seed before winter. it could just be the amuont of space i've given them! please help! thanks
 

Serafine

Queen
Backer
Beta Tester
#2
What species of ant does "black harvester" ant refer to? Novomessor? Veromessor? Some black Pogonomyrmex species?

Generally they need a place to nest (test tubes work by far the best for young colonies), an outworld where they can forage and proper food. Small seeds like Chia seeds, grass seeds, dandelion seeds etc. work best for small colonies. They also need protein-rich food for their brood (dead insects, boiled/scambled eggs, cat food, etc.).

Do you have a queen and do they have brood? Without a queen the colony will slowly die off naturally.
Also losses from hibernation unfortunately aren't uncommon but as long as the queen is healthy they should be able to recover.
Nesting space should only be an issue if there is literally no space to place the brood, in fact giving a young colony a huge nest is a bad thing because they tend to use chambers of it as a garbage dump which can cause all sorts of problems. So a small nest for a small colony should be fine.
 
#3
Dang! I must have put my ants in that nest area to soon, they are using another chamber for garbage and I don't see any brood, probably because I can't see them through the red celaphane!:oops::oops::oops:But the Queen seems to be in good health. I am an idiot at ant keeping!:(:(:(:(:(
 

VarmintLP

Worker
Backer
#4
Alright. Here are some tips from an messor Barbarus keeper. What I did was. I prepared a clean setup. Glas testtube. Filled it to 10% with water (trust me that will last until the cotton is moldy) then I made a separation for the main chamber and the seed chamber which also acts as the garbage are. I used 2 tubes which I stuck together and then I cut of a ring to make that separation. This way they got a clean main chamber for the queen and brood. Next I put them on a bed of cotton to keep the vibrations to a minimum. Put them in a spot with around 25 °C. They love it hot so everything between 25-35°C is fine. Then I covered them with a thick cloth so they are protected from light. Do not check on them every day. At maximum once a week. If the queen is too stressed she won't lay any eggs or she will just eat them. Also offer them some seeds. Paprika seeds or sunflower seeds are nice. They probably eat tomato seeds but I haven't tried those yet. So I cannot tell for sure right now. Dandelion seeds are also always an awesome meal. Don't offer cherry pits or apple seeds (because they can be poisonous for them or honey or insects since they can be stressed byit and they actually get everything they need from the seeds.
 
#5
Alright. Here are some tips from an messor Barbarus keeper. What I did was. I prepared a clean setup. Glass test tube. Filled it to 10% with water (trust me that will last until the cotton is moldy) then I made a separation for the main chamber and the seed chamber which also acts as the garbage are. I used 2 tubes which I stuck together and then I cut of a ring to make that separation. This way they got a clean main chamber for the queen and brood. Next I put them on a bed of cotton to keep the vibrations to a minimum. Put them in a spot with around 25 °C. They love it hot so everything between 25-35°C is fine. Then I covered them with a thick cloth so they are protected from light. Do not check on them every day. At maximum once a week. If the queen is too stressed she won't lay any eggs or she will just eat them. Also offer them some seeds. Paprika seeds or sunflower seeds are nice. They probably eat tomato seeds but I haven't tried those yet. So I cannot tell for sure right now. Dandelion seeds are also always an awesome meal. Don't offer cherry pits or apple seeds (because they can be poisonous for them or honey or insects since they can be stressed by it and they actually get everything they need from the seeds.
Well my last colony is actually dead now but I have got another colony that only has the queen and some brood who have developed well so far, and one looks like it's on it's 3rd stage already! I got instructions from the guy who I bought the ant queen from and he says that I should keep my ants at a temperature of 10 degrees to 20. and up it one or two degrees every second day. But thank you so much for the great advise!:D:)
 

VarmintLP

Worker
Backer
#6
Well my last colony is actually dead now but I have got another colony that only has the queen and some brood who have developed well so far, and one looks like it's on it's 3rd stage already! I got instructions from the guy who I bought the ant queen from and he says that I should keep my ants at a temperature of 10 degrees to 20. and up it one or two degrees every second day. But thank you so much for the great advise!:D:)
Well that with the temperatur is probably correct since she was still in hibernation or put into hibernation. However naturally they live in a warm summer region arround Spain, south of france, italy. You know what I mean. So they usually deal with temperaturs arround 25°C - 35°C even 40°C in some cases. But they also need their water of course so they can hydro and thermo regulate. I keep mine arround 25°C. If you need more help just let me know.
 

Serafine

Queen
Backer
Beta Tester
#7
Generally 25-30°C with a heat gradient (one side of the nest being warmer than the other) is best for most ants. Pupae prefer warmer temperatures (up to 30) while larvae prefer the colder parts of the nest (around 25°C). That's why when you lift up a stone in summer you often see tons of pupae but no eggs and only a few larvae (most of those earlier brood stages are stored deeper underground where it's cooler).
Keeping them at an overall of somewhere around 20-25°C while they're in a test tube is fully sufficient though, generally I wouldn't heat test tubes unless it's really required (some tropical species need temps above 25°C) because there's always a risk of heat building up and cooking your ants. You can still heat them once they are big enough for a nest where they can evade to colder parts if one side gets too warm.
 
#8
Generally 25-30°C with a heat gradient (one side of the nest being warmer than the other) is best for most ants. Pupae prefer warmer temperatures (up to 30) while larvae prefer the colder parts of the nest (around 25°C). That's why when you lift up a stone in summer you often see tons of pupae but no eggs and only a few larvae (most of those earlier brood stages are stored deeper underground where it's cooler).
Keeping them at an overall of somewhere around 20-25°C while they're in a test tube is fully sufficient though, generally I wouldn't heat test tubes unless it's really required (some tropical species need temps above 25°C) because there's always a risk of heat building up and cooking your ants. You can still heat them once they are big enough for a nest where they can evade to colder parts if one side gets too warm.
It doesn't matter any more though. All my ants are dead but I got another colony with just one queen and some brood. I hope they survive this time though.
 
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