hi all Ive had my Messor Barbarus workers have all died slowly one by one over the last few weeks, it now looks like just the queen is left and shes wandering around the habitat. im not sure if there's something wrong with where they are (i have them housed in a glass topped aerated concrete block habitat. Ive provided many different seeds which in the early days got moved inside and stored in the chambers, there is water available from the test tube the came in and in the foraging area via some soaked cotton wool in a plastic cap, even tried some sugar water mix in the last week, the whole lot is sitting on top of my skink vivarium heat lamp, so its reasonably warm but not hot from the heat conducted through the wood and concrete not sure why the queens not been replenishing the workers, any ideas?
Messor barbarus are notoriously hard to start up. How large was the colony before this happened? What have you fed them?
From my years on the different forums I have noticed that many keepers of Messor barbarus opt for bare Y-tong nests. I do not believe this to be as good of a nesting material as a simple tank with sterilized soil or sand specifically for this species.
I'm also rather concerned about the watering techniques being used. Unfortunately misting is often a unreliable system for stone nests. How long does the nest stay noticeably moist? Does it at all?
Limes has pretty much said what I was going to say.
I would definitely keep away from misting their nest as Messors do like it quite dry. If you can, try and move them out of the formicarium they are in and move them into a, like what Limes said, a tank with sterilized soil or sand in. This will be far more natural for them and they will be at home. I have read on other forums that you do need to leave Messors to do what they need to do. Keep them dark as they can easily be stressed out. Are you heating them?
Get a tank! Lol. But yes misting doesn't do the job terribly well, it would be better to drop water with a pipet as the water would be more concentrated and you wod be able to decide better on how much water you will use.
I am sorry to hear that. I can understand the hardship of getting, maybe not this particular species, your colony up and running. I have a Pogonomyrmex barbatus, and she has had issues with keeping the workers alive for very long. They are not the easiest species to work with but in my opinion the most fun.