Weaver Ants, bringing up the heat !

Before you start reading this post, make sure you have checked the most recent post on this colony https://ants853.com/2020/02/07/weaver-ants-and-a-little-bit-of-research/

Last week, we saw how temperature may be too low for their optimal development, and so I decided to bring up the heat !

I started by getting an infrared basking spot 100W bulb.

And did some measurements to make sure I wasn’t frying up the colony, since this light is quite strong.

I used the bulb’s specifications and tried to keep the right distance to get to 24C.

Kept moving the light up or down until I got what I wanted, 24 C.

Unfortunately the bulb was too strong for my eyes, because it was shining down to my working place… something I should have thought about in the first place. So the next day, went out and got a ceramic bulb instead.

Had to re-adjust the position of the light because in the case of 100W ceramic, the heat is much more disperse. But did the measurements again, until I got the same temperature of 24C.

The ants seem to be enjoying the extra heat.

As they started to roam a bit more around the tree. I also had to do some pruning on the heat side. One of the branches was touching the heat bulb support.

The colony continues to be fed regular, with small roaches, honey and water. Their foraging is still very limited unfortunately. They don’t seem interested in prey far from the nest (on the dishes I recently installed), but they will forage to the water dish (more frequently) and honey dish (less frequently)… on the other hand, the mealybug is still the most visited place on the whole tree. But I hasn’t multiplied yet.

This week, on the local insect Facebook group, someone was complaining about the forever permanent presence of these aphids on their crops! I immediately messaged this person, to ask for some of these aphids!! I want to introduce them into the lemon tree!! I have read the Oecophylla smaragdina do tend to aphids, but at the same time can keep a balance in their population by preying on them as well, when they start to grow to large numbers! Wouldn’t that be awesome to see? What do you think? Let’s do this? I say yes!

On another topic, the age topic, can you notice the color difference between these two workers? The left one being darker and older, and the right one being lighter and younger. Cool right? I think its always a good sign to see the generations mixing in… gives me the feeling colony is growing.

Recently, because of the position of the 4th nest, its not easy to get close and take a peak like before… i can’t really get a grip of how many workers there are inside, but from what I see the nest seems darker and more packed… i truly hope so, but not sure.

This week, few days after installing the light, something worried-some happened… I found laying on the table, just under the nest, this scenario.

One of them, definitely looks older. But the other two have light coloration, and one in particular still has all its legs folded inwards, just like a pre-eclosed pupae. I got preoccupied… kept inspecting the area for any more, but no others were dropped ever since. I am not sure what does this mean… is this the result of the less optimal temperatures they were exposed to? and these are the pupae that didn’t develop well enough? Just like the graphic showed, in last week’s post?

Or is this something else? To be honest, I hope its nothing… Let me know what you think!

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! And if you like to read these posts, please subscribe to the blog! Cheers!

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