This is an experiment that I did with my colonies of Prenolpis imparis I was able to rear this year. (See here, but be warned there's some suggestive language towards the end.) In North America there are 10 accepted varieties of this one species, and it's hard to believe some of them don't deserve species status. I'm not here to set the record straight though so that's just something to bare in mind should you try this with your own colonies of Prenolepis imparis.
In years past, locally, I have noticed Prenolepis imparis queens come in at least 2 sizes, and workers have at least 3 or 4 color patterns. I have tried this in years past with a slightly larger variety (the true species?) and it did not end well at all. On contact workers started fighting and killing one another, they stole the brood and out right murdered the queen to the weaker colony.
This is a bad reaction in captivity because it lowers the number of queens and colonies. Out in the wild though it's successful because it allows one colony to take over a nice patch of land where they don't need to fear much competition from their own species unless a larger colony already has claim to the territory.
Nuptial flights usually result in queens scattering areas looking for potential nesting sites. Occasionally ideal sites are limited and more than one queen may start a nest there. When workers emerge these become delicate situations. Populations are low and every worker is important to a young colony. How species handle this situation is key to the colonies' survival. Here I decided to recreate what happens with this species, at least one variety, in captivity.
Of 5 queens caught in March, only 4 successfully reared workers. (The last one died) Given how young the colonies are it is hard to say which variety I have, but given the options I'd say the closest variety they fit in with is the rare Prenolepis imparis var. minuta which is colored the same as the true species but overall smaller by about 2mm. I did not take this into consideration at the time of this experiment, if I had, I would have done this in two groups. Life is full of regrets.
This is either a series of muggings or from the other view, some kind of weaponized liposuction. I don't know how else to describe it. As with Honey Bees that swarm many of the individuals are to fat with honey to sting. Could the same be true for Prenolepis imparis repletes? Could making the other ant to fat to attack be the key to peace?
Over night this process was repeated with the other colonies in this setup and the result was one colony with four queens.
If I could do this experiment again I would repeat the same as above with 2 colonies. But with the other 2 I would try not feeding them at all. I'm curious to know weather or not exchanging food is important for a peaceful colony merging. What's more I'm curious to know if this is important with other P. imparis varieties as well other species. When the colonies are starving is it possible for two colonies to still find piece and not look at one another as food items?