In this guide, we will help you get used to keeping the Messor Structor reaper ant colony so that there are as few difficulties and unforeseen situations on the way to a large developed ant family as possible.
In our farms, the nest is made of a natural and natural mineral – gypsum.
It is perhaps the ideal material for creating moisture in the passage system, as it absorbs water well and distributes it. Thus, creating the necessary humidity for the comfortable existence and development of the colony.
Any farm has two to four humidification chambers, depending on the model. With the help of them, you can easily provide them with good moisture.
When preparing the farm for settlement, it is necessary to fill all humidification chambers with water. Wait 30 minutes and repeat the procedure. This volume of water will be enough to wet the entire plaster nest.
In the future, it is necessary to moisturize on average every 4-5 days, 2-3 ml. clean and boiled water cooled to “room” temperature.
The interval can be different. Visually, it will always be possible to determine by the color of the gypsum whether there is enough moisture or not.
In the case when there are several humidification chambers in the nest, we humidify those chambers that are as close as possible to the ants’ habitat.
And if you want to create a moisture gradient (uneven wetting of the nest), then the entire volume of water that is evenly poured into all chambers is transferred to one. And thus you will get uneven moisture in the nest.
Also in the system of passages (nests) there are special partitions. They are needed for the gradual settlement of the nesting space.
Initially, we install blind partitions everywhere (without holes). Since it is assumed that in the early stages the colony is small and they have enough living space up to the first partition.
With the gradual growth of the colony, it is necessary to replace these partitions with those with holes, which also come in the kit.
How do you know when you can open the moves?
On average, when the colony reaches 80-100 individuals for mini models and 150 individuals for medium farms.
Why can’t you open moves ahead of time?
As mentioned earlier, the arena is a subsidiary territory.
As part of preparing the farm for moving in, we need to prepare a drinker.
To do this, fill a glass test tube with water (also boiled and cooled to “room” temperature) and plug it with a special nano-sponge “immersed” it by 1-3 mm.
Next, we assemble a stand for this test tube and install everything in the arena, directing the sponge towards the entrance to the nesting space, so that it would be more convenient for the ants. The drinker is ready!
Also, ants take out all the garbage into the arena, which they put in a designated place. From time to time it is necessary to remove this debris with tweezers. Fanaticism in cleaning is not required.
The main thing is that all this does not turn into a huge dump
The most popular ant species is the Messor Structor (reapers). Their main diet is seeds.
It is thanks to this diet that the colonies of these ants have soldiers (they have nothing to do with war and battles), whose main purpose is to cleanse, gnaw and grind seeds.
Next, pour some seeds from the kit into the arena. Literally 20-30 grains. It’ll be enough.
Ants are thrifty creatures and will take everything you give to their nests, so the main thing is not to give them too much, because a long stagnation of seeds in their storage can lead to germination or the appearance of mold.
Visually, you can always track the amount of food in their storage and add it if necessary.
You can also give a variety of protein foods: the most affordable ones are boiled egg white, boiled chicken breast (without salt and spices), mealworm, crickets, Turkmen cockroach, marble cockroach. Give only the dead insects!
It is undesirable to give insects caught in nature, as there is a risk of introducing unwanted parasites into the farm.
There is no need to give protein food every day. Once every 5-10 days is enough.
If, for example, you gave boiled protein from a chicken egg, and they do not eat it, then perhaps they do not like it. And it makes sense to periodically change the diet. This will help you understand what suits them best.
Honey and sugar syrup, loved by many species of ants, do not need to be given to the reapers. They get all the carbohydrates necessary for life from seeds.
It is also contraindicated to give food from “our tables”.
So…. We moistened the nest, installed a drinking bowl, poured seeds … You can start launching those for whom all this was done)
Carefully take out the cotton wool from the test tube and place the test tube with ants on the arena with the direction to the entrance to the nest space.
Resettlement takes place from 3 hours to 2 days, depending on the ants. To speed up the process, you can cover the nest with a cloth, thereby creating darkness. This will attract them and they will move faster.
The check-in process is simple, but requires patience.
In no case should you try to shake the ants out of the test tube yourself. Let them do it themselves. Moreover, very soon the conditions that you have created for them, they will appreciate and soon move. As soon as they leave the test tube and transfer everything from there to the nest, it must be removed from the arena.
Conditions of detention.
It is also important where the farm will be located. It is important to observe several points here.
- Do not expose the farm to sunlight. Since even 10 minutes of the active sun will be enough to create a “bath” and destroy the colony. Therefore, the windowsill is not a very good place. In addition, near the window, the temperature can vary greatly, which creates stress on the colony and, as a result, slow development or even a decrease in the population.
- Do not put it near the heating battery either. Firstly, the excessive temperature is contraindicated in the colony. And secondly, due to the temperature difference, condensation will form on the acrylic walls.
- Since ants love silence and feel like the only ones in the world, it is undesirable to constantly move the farm and allow vibrations in every possible way. They certainly won’t die, but the stress will take their toll on them and their populations.
- When placing the formicaria on the table, it is advisable to put a soft substrate under it (a cloth, foam rubber, etc.) so that there is no direct contact of the farm with a hard surface. Since even a pen that falls on the table will create a strong one for ants