I’ve noticed, that captured parasitic queens seems (Formica rufa group) to have a very high mortality, compared to claustral or semi claustral ones. I’d say, that about 50% dies within one or two days. They have been captured in small collection vials on anting trips, and then within a few hours transferred to a clean test tube setup. I have several theories. First explanation could be that the queens might have exposed themselves to formic acid during the trip home, and this might weaken them and cause dead within a couple of days. In that regard, I might try to transport them home in an open container. Second explanation could be that they simply need to be fed right away. It might just be nature’s way, that queens that don’t immediately find a host colony or gather some workers around her, dies from starvation or from lack of other vital inputs. In that regard I could try to introduce them to some host workers right away. Third explanation could be that parasitic queens are just weaker, and that mortality just is higher for no specific reason. Fourth explanation could be, that the queens die from exhaustion, since they very often tends to pull the cotton for extended periods of time.
Anyone has any knowledge or ideas in this regard?