A couple of days ago I gave my Myrmica rubra colony a new foraging box, as their old one was too small, and getting very messy. This new foraging box was actually one I found in my garden shed, one which had been part of a starter kit I purchased last year but had only used the nesting box.
Making the change was not too difficult, despite the fact there were a fair number of ants in the old box. Myrmica rubra can be really quite aggressive, and so I took a teaspoon and tried to scoop them up. This caused them to get a little annoyed, and they started attacking the spoon. Just what I wanted, as they attacked the spoon by climbing over it and biting it. I was able to knock the ants off the spoon into their new tank. In all it only took about ten minutes to complete, and the tank was attached to the nesting box. The ants quickly investigated their new tank. I also put a stone into the tank that I had taken from the garden. There were a few cracks in the stone, and I was wondering whether there was some bug in there, as the ants sure showed a lot interest in it.
I gave them a new water dispenser too, which I got from AntsUK, which I find to be very good for providing water to my ants. On Saturday I checked on my rubras and, astonishingly, found a worker inside the water dispenser’s water tank. The only way it could possibly have got in there was to have entered the water and made its way into the water supply. Perhaps it got caught up in the water and floated to the top of the water level in the dispenser. However it happened, there was an ant walking around inside the water dispenser. I have heard of Army Ants, but never Marine Ants. I put a video of it on my Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/Myrms_Ant_Nest/status/1177843159050706944
The Lasius niger are doing well, with about 20 workers now being present. A few have explored outside the test tube they are nesting in, and have found their food bowl, which I placed near the test tube, but move it further away every day by about half inch. I am moving it toward the stick they have in their tank that leads up to the port, which in turn leads to a length of plastic tubing that attaches to their nesting box. I am hoping they will find it and eventually move in. To be honest though, and from previous experience. I do not expect them to move in any time soon. Perhaps not until the spring of next year, or when the colony size reaches too large for the test tube.
My Lasius umbratus have been very active over the past few days when it comes to eating. Yet there is no brood in their nest now. It could be that the queen has simply stopped laying eggs for this year, though in previous years there have been brood present in the winter months. The queen is 11 years old now, so I suspect she is at the end of her egg-laying life. It’s a shame but is inevitable.