Effect of substrate type and moisture requirements in relation to colony initiation in two carpenter ant species
M E Mankowski, J J Morrell
Conditions necessary for optimal colony initiation or the rate of initial colony expansion by early brood in the carpenter ant species Camponotus modoc and C. vicinus on various substrates conditioned to different moisture contents were studied. Camponotus modoc and Camponotus vicinus queens were placed in Douglas-fir, western red cedar and Styrofoam® blocks conditioned in sealed chambers at 70% or 100% relative humidity. Chambers were periodically monitored for changes in substrate weight, numbers of eggs, larvae, pupae, and worker ants produced. Brood counts produced after thirteen weeks were used to assess the effects of substrate and moisture content on colony initiation. Queens of C. vicinus in Douglas-fir and Styrofoam® produced worker numbers that did not differ significantly with moisture content. However, the number of colonies initiated for C. modoc did significantly differ with moisture content. The results indicate that colony initiation in C. vicinus is less sensitive to moisture content then C. modoc for Douglas-fir and Styrofoam®. No differences were found between moisture contents for ant queens in western red cedar, due to a lack of colony initiation. These results suggest that cedar was detrimental to the development of early brood in both ant species.
Keywords: CAMPONOTUS SPP; RELATIVE HUMIDITY; COLONY INITIATION; DOUGLAS-FIR; WESTERN RED CEDAR; STYROFOAM®