Tropical Fire Ants, Solenopsis geminata queens with Solenopsis invicta friends to the rescue, is it even possible?!

Before you start reading this post, make sure you have checked the most recent post on this colony https://ants853.com/2020/02/07/tropical-fire-ants/

A brief from last week post:

  • 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,

Last week, when I wrapped up the post, I was 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.

And now what happened this week!

To start off, we had three deaths… If last week wasn’t looking good, than this week started off on the worst possible way 😦 I will show you in which colonies these ones died from, further ahead.

But I decided to stick with the plan of getting some wild brood! So although everything if fenced off to the public due to the Corona Virus Epidemic, I decided to go into the beach areas in search of Solenopsis geminata colonies… but unfortunately I couldn’t find any… the only thing I found was Solenopsis invicta… another disappointment… bummer.

Well, since that wasn’t working out, I decided to go out and buy a couple of infra-red light bulbs (instead of heat mats) to warm up my colonies! I had read that the development threshold for fire ants is at around 17C, and my room was between 19 to 21C… a bit too cold it did seem.

So I got 100W ! maybe a bit too much, but hey, who cares? Its for the sake of the ants.

It started off increasing slowly, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and it stopped at 27C at night and 28C during the day. The queens were loving it. Immediately became much more dynamic and cleaning themselves up a lot.

Colony 1 – 13/02/2020

Colony 1 still has 5 queens and a small clutch of eggs, its a really small clutch. But last week, if you remember they still had mites, and only a couple of eggs, so some progress here.

Colony 2 – 13/02/2020

Colony 2 – Now has 3 queens with 1 dead this week and also a very small clutch of eggs. From last week, I would say that the clutch became smaller. So no progress this week.

Colony 3 – 13/02/2020

Colony 3 – Has 4 queens but no absolutely no eggs. This is a major setback from last week has they were one of the most promising colonies regarding egg clutch size. Heart broken!

Colony 4 – 13/02/2020

Colony 4 – Has only 2 queens now, last week had lost 1, and this week lost another and to make things worse, they also have no eggs. After hydrating the nest, since the nests are warm, some condensation formed on the top cover, which was great because it allowed me to find a small mite moving around. I managed to kill him. It was the first mite, found since last week.

Colony 5 – 13/02/2020

Colony 5 – Has 3 queens with 1 queen dead this week. Last week, this colony had no eggs, and this week has a reasonable amount of eggs. Even with a dead queen they made some progress. Hope with the extra heat now the eggs will be able to develop faster.

Colony 6 – 13/02/2020

Colony 6 – Has 4 queens and has also the best amount of eggs. Last week, they only had a couple of eggs! Really pumped about this one!! fingers crossed!

Colony 7 (the one with workers) – 13/02/2020

Last but definitely not least! Colony 7 still has 4 queens, 6 or 7 workers, 4 or 5 big larvae and a very good looking egg clutch!! They really seem to be utilizing that extra heat for their brood development! Because they are inside test tube and I want to prevent any flooding because of the heat (which sometimes happens) I added a small plastic tubing to raise the opening extremity.

Looking at the overall state of the colonies, to be honest, I am not happy. I want them to succeed! So I decided to go all in!! I went out and captured some invicta brood and workers.

You won’t believe it, but I did it. In Colony 3, I placed 7 darker and larger pupae.

And in Colony 4, I placed 8 lighter and smaller pupae.

Some hours later…

I observed them grooming the pupae! OMG! Someone tell me please that they have tried this before and worked!! Colony 3 has a very dark pupae, so it should be hatching soon! Can’t wait for tomorrow to see how this will develop!

And you guys?! What do you think of all of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!! And I would truly appreciate if you could follow the blog, only if you enjoy the content and the weekly posts!

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!

One thought on “Tropical Fire Ants, Solenopsis geminata queens with Solenopsis invicta friends to the rescue, is it even possible?!

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