Tropical Fire Ants, help is on the way!

Before you start reading this post, make sure you have checked the most recent post on this colony https://ants853.com/2020/02/01/solenopsis-geminata-a-queens-perspective/

In our first post (last week), while I was recording the video, we all noticed the mites that were infecting these beautiful founding chambers. Unfortunately they managed to get inside during the separation of the queens.

I did my best to remove all I could see, but I was warned that their eggs might still be present, and those would be even worse to spot, for they would be invisible. So a week has passed, and its time to see how they are doing.

Colony 1

Only two eggs visible, in the center of the photo,

and unfortunately, mites were still present! You can actually see them, on the top right corner, near the queen on the right side, near her thorax. 3 mites. Once again I proceeded to remove and kill them. I left a drop of honey water on the entrance and hydrated the nest.

This Colony 1 is the only with 5 queens, and lets see if they can make a come back after this.

Colony 2

Things are definitely looking better on this nest. A clutch of eggs and no mites in sight! Colony 2 has 4 queens, although only 3 are visible here, as the other one was already having a drink of honey water. I also hydrated the nest. To be honest, the egg clutch so far doesn’t look too promising. But lets wait and see, after all its only been six days since last operation. Fingers crossed on this one.

Colony 3

This colony is looking even better than colony 2. A reasonable clutch of eggs, and not mites in sight! Hurray! This colony also has 4 queens, and they also got their honey water drop and nest hydrated. Big hopes for these girls!!

Left to right – colony 1 , 2 and 3

Colony 4

Colony 4 is not doing well. Initially this colony had 4 queens, but now only 3. After last week mite episode, I took a second round of detailed inspection on all the colonies, and in this one, I found a queen with a red mite attached. Unfortunately, I had to remove her, I tried to remove the mite from the gaster, but it turned out to be impossible. I had to kill her for the sake of my other queens and colonies. And so is nature.

Another reason why they are not doing well, is because there are absolutely no eggs visible, but at least also no mites as well. Not sure what will happen with these?

Colony 5

Colony 5 has 4 queens, has no mites visible, but like colony 4, no eggs. I decided to hydrate the nest a little more than usual here, to make a difference between colony 4 and colony 5.

And finally, Colony 6

Colony 6 has 4 queens, and a very small clutch of eggs, very similar to colony 2. And no mites in sight as well for this last colony.

From left to right – Colony 4, 5 and 6

So overall, from last week:

  • Lost one queen in Colony 4
  • Mites still found in Colony 1
  • Colony 4 and 5 had no eggs
  • Colony 1 and 6 only had a couple eggs
  • Colony 2 and 3 had the more significant amount of eggs,

I don’t know if you agree with me, but its looking a bit grim. Besides all of the above, temperatures aren’t at its best varying from 19 to 21C inside the ant room. Temperatures are expected to remain like this for the next 10 days.

I am considering the following measures – First, get brood from the wild local colonies (or my own small colony, but definitely not at this moment) and second, add heat mats to help the egg development. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Drop me a comment if you have!!

Based on last weeks research about polygyny, queen adoption, etc… I am pretty sure that they are capable of adopting foreign brood from another colony. Should I try it? I say yes! 😀

Lets do this! Stay tuned for next week’s post!

And to wrap up this week’s update, take a look at this beautiful Tropical Fire Ant Queen!!

This is a photo of a single queen, from a long time ago! Look at the amount of differentiated brood she has going on in there! She is totally alone, freshly caught, and full of energy. Compare this photo to my multiple queens nests… they are totally exhausted, throughout all the trials and tribulations, and I am still unsure if they aren’t microgynes, which would explain a lot as well.

Well, this is all for this week’s updates! Thank you for taking the time to read the posts, and leave me a comment if you want, and see you next week!

PS: Next week, I am expecting to open yet another journal ! Cheers!

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