As we have a new colony you will see a lot of heightened activity over the next few weeks.
Sadly, our queen leaf-cutter ant recently died, resulting in the demise of the rest of the colony. There is only one queen in each colony, who is the only ant in the nest able to reproduce, producing up to 200 million offspring in her lifetime. With leaf-cutter ants, the queen is the control centre of the colony. The ant world is ‘chemosensory’, meaning all information is passed through hormones and other chemical messengers from the queen. Once the queen dies these chemical cues are no longer available and the ants begin to fade out as their life span is just a few weeks.
As we have a new colony you will see a lot of heightened activity over the next few weeks. Expect to see more soldier ants, which are visibly larger, as well as the fungus garden which you can not normally see. The fungus garden is a grey honeycomb material and once the nest is established it will be covered by substrate (earth), so now is a great time to head over to Tropical House to take a look.