My ant colony was raided

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Argentine ants broke into the nest, all workers are dead and one of the queens, legs are broken. She is in a test tube in a dark place. She has been stuck in honey and is now cleaned. If she has no workers how should I feed her? Can she recover? What should I do?

Camponotus pennsyluanicus and used to 6 workers but the queens the only one left.

With just 6 workers there's actually a good chance that the queen may be able too raise new workers. You'd probably need to feed her though (drop of sugar water or honey and protein in the form of dead arthropods like 1-2 fruit flies or small spiders).
If the queen is still a bit mobile she might be able to care for her brood.

The other issue is now that the Argentines know your colony is there it is likely they will come back. For the first time (while the queen is still in her tube or a very small container) a moat would be the easiest and most guaranteed way to keep them off. Just make sure it doesn't dry out.
Later on you'll need to secure your ant cabinet so the argentines can't climb it.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 04:07:09 PM by Serafine »

Thanks for the info. I put her in the pool table room where the wine cabinet is and she's recovering. She has learned to move with a crippled leg, I transferred her to a new test tube with a water reservoir and has a tissue mat to comfort her. I thought what went wrong and here's what I think.

When I ordered some test tubes I realized they were too small, but not small enough that millipede could get through. So I used them and I put a lid below so they wouldn't fall off. After Thanksgiving, I saved some chicken and took out the peanut butter test tube and replaced it with some chicken fat. I was being dumb and left the peanut butter test tube near the nest. I think the Argentine ants found the peanut butter and one found a way into the nest and told the others, and then they swarmed.

Heres a picture of her now
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 11:46:48 PM by Redmoth27 »

  • Mike

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Bless Pam the queen. Here's hoping she can raise a new brood.

She still looks fairly okay. A crippled leg doesn't affect her that much (and later when she has workers again it won't be an issue at all), ant queens are fairly resilient - I've read a journal about a Messor barbarus queen with 3 missing legs and even that queen did fine (her workers were pulling and pushing her around when needed).

You could add a second ball of cotton into the tube like this

to basically create two chambers. That would also reduce the size of the rear "founding chamber" near the cotton (ant queens love tight spaces for founding, it makes them feel safe).

It might have been the peanut butter that attracted the argentines but they have a real habbit of attacking ant setups so I wouldn't count on that. Better take extra safety measures.
Good luck, I hope your queen does well!

Serafine How can you kill the fruit fly with minimal damage and relatively quickly. I would think to put them in the freezer but that will make them fragile. Would the fridge be a good idea? It's less could. Mike also lets hope Pam can still recover. 

Also is there any other food I can give her because I may not have the time to go to PetSmart this week.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 02:04:35 AM by Redmoth27 »

Freezer. Just freeze it for a few hours or over night, so it's dead (they can survive at least half an hour in the freezer). They're not getting fragile, just carefully put it into the tube while still frozen. Ants prefer soft-bodies fragile food anyway.

Small spiders (just frozen) are really really good ant food (they're hunters so they are full of tasty insect protein), like up to twice the size of a fruit fly (not bigger, the huge ones will just scare the queen).
First time I gave my ants a small spider (when they were four ants) the queen grabbed it and ate it alone.

Found some old pictures - it was like the T-Rex ripping through that goat.

So yes, spiders are a delicacy (and usually easy to find), I've seen no insect-eating ant species so far that didn't absolutely love them.

Hey, what can you do about diseases?

The risk of ants getting diseases is VERY low. They are used to eating dead stuff and constantly clean themselves - they're basically the vultures of the insect world, but cleaner.
The only really dangerous things to ants are certain types of mold (there's a yellow one that's really nasty), some infectous fungi and a few rare types of mites - and the risk of all can be minimized by keeping the ants in a relatively dry setup (Camponotus are very dry-resistent).
Usually just freezing the food is fully sufficient.

Hey I found this weird red liquid in with the ant queen. I've never seen it before and I don't think its blood. What could it possibly be?

A picture would be helpful. It could be some kind of hemolymph (ant blood) or maybe it's just ant poo. It's also possible that the queen drank water and then puked into onto the glass to make the air inside the tube more moist.

Not sure, could be something the queen puked up. I'd just wait and watch (and move the queen to a new tube if the stuff gets moldy). There's not really anything you could do anyway.