Hello everyone as the subject says I live in southern California and have recently got into the fun exciting hobby of keeping ants. When I was a young lad I loved collecting bugs and insects but could never successfully start an ant colony. Now as an adult I am trying my hand at a once beloved child pastime of mine. So about roughly a month ago I took a trip down to the Joshua tree national Park to go queen ant hunting with some guys from the Formiculture forums. I caught only 3 acromyrmex versicolor queens(long story short I took a Gamble to find different species and lost). Well all the Queens lived for about a week including my very first Queen. Sadly all those first Queens have passed with no fungus and no eggs, my very first queen just passed last night
. But on the bright side someone had sold me 3 Queens and two nuggets of fungus a week ago and all three of the Queens are doing okay.
One queen has yet to receive fungus.
One queen had torn her fungus to pieces but was working on fixing it(she had taken a tiny piece and some how got it to start growing and it was getting much better) sadly I made a terrible mistake and tried warming their setups up with a heating pad(one for humans for muscle pains) and placed the entire setup on the pad and her fungus died that night. I was pretty devistated I had made such a dumb mistake.
The other queen is doing great her fungus has grown and now even has two tiny eggs in it(she shaped the fungus into a little bowl like shape ) . This queen has been doing great caring for the fungus adding rose leaves, rose petals, and oatmeal to it nearly everyday. I now even went and got propper reptile heating pads and have them set on a timer to heat only during the coldest parts of the night, and only on one side of the set ups.
Currently the ants are in test tubes placed in Tupperware containers filled with white sand. I put wet cotton balls in plastic snap caps and added large plastic test tubes filled with water to keep the humidity up. The containers generally float around 80-90% humidity and I'm sure the test tubes are even higher the temp floats between 75-80F. I give them a varied "diet" of rose petals, rose bush leaves, and oatmeal. I have pictures of all this and will probably post them all when I can get home(at work currently) can't wait to discuss leaf cutter ant keeping with you all.