After eight hours of an almost fruitless anting-trip where the main goal was to collect Lasius niger queens, I came home to a nuptial flight i my very own driveway. It was Myrmica of some sort, probably Myrmica rubra, but I'm not sure. They were running around on the ground by the hundreds. I collected about seventy, mixed males and females, as I found it hard to distinguish between them in the heat of the battle. Also I noticed, that the mating in some cases was continuing/being initiated on the ground, and I didn't want to spoil the fun, if there were more mating to still being done. I collected them in 10 small containers, but after about 3 hours, they were "set free" in one big container.
Status is, that I have about 70 mixed males/feemales in one container. They have water, sugarwater and a couple of flyes, and seems to be fine. Now, after 20 hours, not one of them have sheed their wings, and all of the males are alive and kicking. This concerns me a bit - might I have collected the alates to soon... This leads to the first questions.
- How long will it normally take for a mated queen to shed her wings, and how long will the males normally live after mating?
I've read somewhere, that most Myrmica is semiclaustral, and need to forage during founding a colony.
- Will it be OK to just feed her from time to time in a regular test-tube setup, or does she need a setup with a small outworld?
I also believe to have read somewhere, that Myrmica-queens often will team up with other queens, and found a new colony more queens together.
- Is this correct, and does it mean, that I can add 5 queens to each setup?
Hope you Myrmica-experts will help me out :-)