I think I have ants under my house. Yesterday morning I found perhaps 50 dead Lasius niger ants on the floor of my Ant Room. On checking my own Lasius niger colony I was satisfied that they were not my ants. I noticed a live ant on the floor. She was much bigger than my Lasius niger workers, therefore I knew she was from an established colony.
I cleaned the floor and went out in the garden to see if I could find any signs of ants near the back door. There was a line of ants reaching from the wall that separates my garden from that of my neighbour. The line ended at a small hole in the wall at the base of my back door. I even saw some ants carrying cocoons into the gap.
There is a colony of ants moving in underneath my house! I am not sure how to feel about that to be honest. On the one hand I am pleased that they are there. On the other I hope they do not start coming into the house. Worse, what if they find my captive colonies and raid them? I’ll have to be scrupulous in keeping that floor clean so that the ants do not find anything tasty in there.
In the mean time, an update on my own colonies.
This young colony is doing very well. I have not seen any sign of nest expansion, still seeing only one chamber about halfway down the depth of the nesting box. Sometimes I see a few cocoons there, but at other times it is empty. I have noticed that they have stored some eggs and on the surface of the soil in the nesting box. It is usually covered with a dark cloth, so I guess they see it as a large chamber. I did not see the queen there. I assume she is in a hidden part of the nest somewhere. Workers are often feeding from various foods I put in.
There is still some activity in this colony outside of the nest, especially when I put new food in. I even saw the queen in one of the nest chambers. However, no eggs or brood at all. Considering we are almost in our summer, this is not good news. The queen has stopped laying eggs. As I have mentioned before, this is a sign that she is near the end of her life. I am surprised that she is still alive to be honest.
By far the busiest and now most populous colony I have. Almost every chamber has a large amount of brood in it, which is great news. Whenever I feed my colonies, these seem to be the hungriest ants. They swarm over the food in large numbers. Even without looking into the nest I know they have many hungry larvae within.