Introduction & Overview
This is a perfect species for beginners. Medium sized polymorphic carpenter ants that have a major cast. This is an arboreal species of Camponotus that nests in dead branches where the colonies stay small, around 100 workers.
The entire colony can live in a testtube setup connected to an outworld or inside an outworld (tubs and tubes setup). My colony instantly moved into a new testtube once theirs dried out.
My colony has thrived on just honey and cockroaches (dubia) for a year. They are very active foragers. The queen is also very active in the testtube, she is constantly walking around (not in a panic) compared to just sitting there like my Camponotus chromaiodes do.
Camponotus decipiens is easy to identify. The queens are a dark solid red throughout the head, mesosoma, petiole, and legs; The gaster is a solid black. A common miss identify is C. discolor. The difference between these two is that Discolor has "conspicuous suberect to erect hairs on the malar area" (Joe A. MacGown), whereas decipiens does not.
This species has a simple founding stage, you leave them alone for a month until they get their workers.
I find that this species does well around 80f. I keep the nest in a drawer that is heated, This means they don't have a temperature gradient and is why I try to keep it around 80; I don't want to make it too hot.
I have only ever kept this species in a test tube setup and they keep the brood in between the dry side and humid side, favoring the humid side a little bit more.
Time to first workers
4 weeks when heated at 74
vibrations, sudden light
When I first open up the drawer the colony freaks out; they calm down in a few seconds. They also freak out when i take the lid off the outworld; again, they calm down in a few seconds.
Tubs and tubes
You can keep this species in a test tube for their entire lifetime if you have a large enough tube, their colonies only get around 100 workers. This species loves honey, and they love Dubia roaches, I haven't fed them anything else because they never have a problem with these to food sources. I keep my 30 something worker colony in a test tube connect to a petri dish out world; there is an opening on the other side of the petri dish for another test tube.
I have no experience with this species in anything other than a test tube.
The current colony I had lost all the workers (around 20) and brood (a lot of pupae and larvae) during hibernation ( I tried to hibernate my colonies for 6 months, tooooo long) The queen kept laying and got more workers than she had before hibernation, shes above 30 now with a large pile of brood and the workers are very active.
This is a very resilient and fast growing species, great for beginners if you can get your hands on one.