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Camponotus vicinus is a species of carpenter ant native to North America. Known for their calm and gentle nature, these ants are perfect for macro photography and taking pictures of ants. They grow slowly but pick up the pace once the colony reaches over 20 workers. These ants come in both bicolored (red and black) and monocolored (black) variations.


Queen identification can be difficult due to their similarity in color to other ants in the same subgenus and significant intraspecies variation. Camponotus vicinus can be identified by their singular hump on the thorax, larger size compared to myrmentoma, non-truncated heads, and longer heads in major workers. They also have a distinctive ridge on the clypeus.


The founding setup for C. vicinus is relatively easy as they are fully claustral and do not need to be fed during this stage. Feeding them during this time can cause stress and harm the queen or brood. These ants do not stress easily from light and vibrations but should be kept away from constant light exposure to simulate their natural environment. They perform well in tubes without any substrate.


C. vicinus colonies are usually oligynous, meaning they can have multiple queens. Aggression between queens may occur, leading to the exile or death of some queens. To prevent this, queens can be separated into different chambers or tubes.


Regarding feeding, C. vicinus requires both proteins and sugars. Suitable sugar sources include sugar water and honey from reputable sources. They accept a wide range of protein sources such as fruit flies, frozen and cut-up insects like crickets, mealworms, roaches, moths, and meat like chicken, beef, small fish, and tuna. It is important to cycle through different protein sources to ensure a variety of nutrients.


Food poisoning is a common problem that can cause colony die-offs. Both fruits and insects from unknown sources may contain pesticides harmful to the ants. As the colony grows, escape barriers may be necessary to prevent the ants from escaping their container. C. vicinus requires a diapause period of 3 to 4 months, from November to late February or early March. The ants must be kept at a low temperature during this time, which can be achieved with a controlled cooling unit or a non-heated room that stays above freezing.


Overall, Camponotus vicinus is an excellent species for beginners who can provide the necessary hibernation period. They are easy to care for, and their gentle nature makes them ideal for macro photography. With proper care, a colony of C. vicinus can thrive and grow to hundreds of individuals in 2-3 years.


Note: Live ants ONLY SHIP within CANADA.

Camponotus Vicinus (Bicolored Carpenter Ant)

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