Glucose solution tubes

Posts and questions relating to ant diet & nutrition. Let us know what you’re feeding your ants.

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lunarcoexist
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:52 pm
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Glucose solution tubes

Post: # 35305Post lunarcoexist
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:00 pm

I have recently set up a sugar source for my 2nd-year Camponotus colony as follows:

Add food-grade dextrose (D-glucose, "corn sugar") to room-termperature purified water with constant stirring until no more will dissolve
Gently heat the mixture with constant stirring just until all the glucose goes into solution and the liquid becomes clear
Allow to cool to room temperature
Add the liquid into a test tube and push a cotton ball into the tube until the surface of the cotton is wet with dextrose solution

I connected this via a custom adapter to the rest of their habitat which consists of test tubes, connecting tubing and fittings, and a small outworld.

The ants are seen visiting and drinking from this setup regularly and seem to be doing well so far. Curiously, they have also placed a mealworm head in front of the cotton, about 3mm away from it.

The glucose solution should be concentrated enough to inhibit microbial growth, and I like that it is not sticky, like sucrose solution or honey.

I've read some comments that sugar water solution tubes like this are no good for ants; what are the problems with them? If the ants can have this as a source of sugar and have gut-loaded insects to meet the balance of their nutritional needs, I think it would be very convenient. The ants also seem to be more active when eating this glucose than they do when eating honey.

I have also noticed that the ants seemed averse to a concentrated organic cane sugar solution. They would readily approach the solution, but as soon as they touched it with their antennae they would turn away from it as if repulsed.

Any thoughts or comments on this are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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antnest8
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Re: Glucose solution tubes

Post: # 35341Post antnest8
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:08 pm

lunarcoexist wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:00 pm
Gently heat the mixture with constant stirring just until all the glucose goes into solution and the liquid becomes clear
do you put it on the burner or the microwave how much do you need to heat it. and where would you get dextrose
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PwnerPie
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Re: Glucose solution tubes

Post: # 35381Post PwnerPie
Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:07 pm

Sugar tubes will mold quickly, generally not a good idea. Honey is better as it takes so much longer to mold (as long as it actual honey, organic is a good way to go). I generally never have to clean up my honey drops, eventually they finish it off (even weeks later).

I did some sugar tubes last year, and it had a lot of noticable mold within the water after a couple weeks. Not sure if it was toxic, as I didnt see it on the other side of the cotton (hard to tell tho cause the mold was white). But I still tossed it, not playin with mold!
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lunarcoexist
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:52 pm
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Re: Glucose solution tubes

Post: # 35487Post lunarcoexist
Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:16 am

antnest8, I just ran the container under hot tap water while gently agitating to warm the solution so it would all dissolve. Pure glucose (dextrose) powder is available all over the world as a food ingredient or from scientific or medical supply sources.

PwnerPie, What was the concentration of the sugar solution in your tubes that molded? As I described in the first post in this thread, if the molar concentration is high enough, the osmolality of the solution will inhibit microbial growth. This is also a reason to use a monosaccharide instead of a disaccharide. It's difficult to get enough sucrose to dissolve inhibit microbes, but this glucose solution doesn't have anything visibly growing on it, yet. The solution is clear and the cotton is bright white. Dextrose solution is also not very sticky, compared to sucrose or honey.

This all noted, one of the workers died mysteriously. The rest seem fine. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the sugar source or not.

lunarcoexist
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Re: Glucose solution tubes

Post: # 35488Post lunarcoexist
Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:32 am

My concern is that a concentrated solution of glucose might actually dehydrate the ants if they drank too much, for the same reason that it inhibits microbial growth, and this might be responsible for the sudden worker death.

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