Most ant species are sedentary species that nest in one place for several decades - generally as long as the queen is alive, or longer if a new one appears. For example, we can find a large anthill in the forest and be sure that it will be there next year.
Harvester ants are an example. The main task of their queen after a mating flight is to dig a deep, steep passage underground, ending in a small chamber. In such a chamber, the first generation of their descendants will be brought up. After leaving the pupa and strengthening, some of the ants will go upstairs in search of food for the family, and the rest will start expanding their "apartment", digging not only new chambers, but also deep, several-meter passages. As a result, the anthill will be in one place - it changes only the position of the entrance to it, because after hibernating, the ants often dig them elsewhere. Only an emergency may force the ants to move to another place. Such a possibility may be deterioration of conditions (shading, flooding), an attack of predators or constant competition with others species that may threaten their existence.
However, there are ant species for which it is normal to change their place of residence. They include not only nomads who do not have a permanent home at all. Such are, for example, representatives of the Myrmica species, as well as, for example, steppe ants Tapinoma erraticum, which due to their changing way of life are called "migratory".
These species change their place of residence several times a year, moving along with maggots and queens where it is more humid or warm and sunny, where there is more food and fewer enemies.
Under the conditions of our formicaria, ants sometimes have to migrate too. For example, when we move them after buying from a test tube to a permanent place of residence, or when replacing an old incubator, for example, when water has run out for a new one.
Let's take a look at how to properly organize this process and when it needs to be done.
There are several situations when moving cannot be avoided:
- high pollution of the habitat
- reproduction of parasites
- in the case of an incubator no further humidification (drying of the cotton / sponge).
The real problem, however, is the appearance of mold or algae stains on the surface of the formicarium.
However, if we choose the size of the formicarium correctly, we moisten it properly and place it in the right place - where direct sunlight does not fall into the nest - this problem will not occur.
In fact, isolated mold outbreaks are not a problem (once all available decomposing organic matter is 'devoured', the mold will disappear by itself or be collected and ejected by the ants), but if it grows strongly it can also kill the colony. Overpopulation is another reason. because of this, almost half of the formicarium population lives in the arena.
Organization of the move.
Unlike us, ants don't always understand that they need to go somewhere new. They can sit in the nest for a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, and even indefinitely - it depends on the characteristics of the species or colony.
In this case, a beam of bright light comes to the rescue - the old apartment is illuminated with a lamp, and the new one is dimmed with a cloth, or whatever the new one is heated with a thermal mat - the ants will go there because they like to bask - or gradually dry the old habitat.
As a rule, ants move from an incubator to an incubator faster than to a formicarium. Patience is required anyway - it's not a quick process.
Changing the place of residence for a colony is almost always a huge stress. When moving, old or weak ants die. To help insects recover faster, feed them their favorite food and place them in a quiet, calm, and shady place.
Therefore, without a specific need, it is better not to move the ant family anywhere. To minimize the number of removals, you should buy partitioned farms.
As the colony grows, it simply opens up new chambers or floors, and a dangerous situation in the understanding of ants turns into a peaceful exploration of new habitable territories.