Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

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

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DCheezi
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:27 am
Location: UK

Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 64899Post DCheezi
Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:41 am

I've been watching ant videos for years and I've ordered a L. Niger queen, workers and brood online, and an acrylic farm for them. It's got a decent sized feeding arena on it, so I'm not too worried about the size of food, but it looks like everyone feeds them something different :? Here's a list of what I've seen-
Dubia roaches
Mealworms
Crickets
Curly-wing fruit flies
Spiders(???)
What do you feed your L. Nigers? I'm completely lost, the ants aren't coming for a few days and it looks like they come with a cricket head but I would like to get protein sorted for when I move them in. I'm 17 so I can't buy something very expensive like a starter colony of morio worms
Keeper of founding L. Niger colony (~10 workers)
Keeper of founding M. Barbarus colony (20-30 media and minor workers) :)

LasiusSapien
Posts: 274
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:37 pm
Location: Bristol

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 64900Post LasiusSapien
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:48 am

mario worms didn't go down so well with my lasius tbh i'd leave worms until the colony is in the hundreds as worms are quite fatty and will congeal with in a few hours, what i do feed them and pretty much all my ants are, small to medium sized crickets,grasshoppers as well as spiders, fruit flys, crane fly(when they were around) and woodlice too, i would avoid beetles unless you don't mind crushing them up as there armor is far to tough also any wild caught insects could possible have diseases and or parasites in them so i'd suggest freezing them to kill any nasty they might be carrying
1x Lasius Niger - early forging stage - 60-100 workers
1x Messor Barbarus - founding stage - <20 workers
1x Camponotus Turkestanus - claustral stage - 1 nanitic + brood
1x Odontoponera Transversa - semi-claustral stage - no eggs

DCheezi
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:27 am
Location: UK

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 64902Post DCheezi
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:31 am

LasiusSapien wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:48 am
mario worms didn't go down so well with my lasius tbh i'd leave worms until the colony is in the hundreds as worms are quite fatty and will congeal with in a few hours, what i do feed them and pretty much all my ants are, small to medium sized crickets,grasshoppers as well as spiders, fruit flys, crane fly(when they were around) and woodlice too, i would avoid beetles unless you don't mind crushing them up as there armor is far to tough also any wild caught insects could possible have diseases and or parasites in them so i'd suggest freezing them to kill any nasty they might be carrying
That's great to hear! There's a jollyes near me that sells small tiny crickets, and I reckon they'll fit well in the feeding arena. Also I didn't know that about the beetles, I was about to pull the trigger on dubia roaches before I remembered the forum. How often do you feed your lasius?
Keeper of founding L. Niger colony (~10 workers)
Keeper of founding M. Barbarus colony (20-30 media and minor workers) :)

Hawkeye
Posts: 1473
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 64907Post Hawkeye
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:03 am

DCheezi wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:31 am

That's great to hear! There's a jollyes near me that sells small tiny crickets, and I reckon they'll fit well in the feeding arena. Also I didn't know that about the beetles, I was about to pull the trigger on dubia roaches before I remembered the forum. How often do you feed your lasius?
Hey there!

You can probably feed them anything you like, as long as you take a hard exoskeleton into account (pre-cut) and the speed at which the food decays (like the worms.) I'd say it's a bit of trial and error to find out what your colony likes. As to how often, that depends on the size of your colony and how hungry they are really. Keep an eye on how interested they are in the food. If it is gone within a day, you will want to feed again soon. If it is still there after 3 days, remove the food and wait for a couple of days to feed again. (They likely have pieces of food stored in their nest and will have full (social) stomachs, so there's no need to feed them)

Definitely listen to Lasius:
LasiusSapien wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:48 am
Any wild-caught insects could possibly have diseases and or parasites in them so I'd suggest freezing them to kill any nasty they might be carrying.
You wouldn't want your fledgeling colony to be infected if you can avoid it.

DCheezi
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:27 am
Location: UK

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 64909Post DCheezi
Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:09 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:03 am

Hey there!

You can probably feed them anything you like, as long as you take a hard exoskeleton into account (pre-cut) and the speed at which the food decays (like the worms.) I'd say it's a bit of trial and error to find out what your colony likes. As to how often, that depends on the size of your colony and how hungry they are really. Keep an eye on how interested they are in the food. If it is gone within a day, you will want to feed again soon. If it is still there after 3 days, remove the food and wait for a couple of days to feed again. (They likely have pieces of food stored in their nest and will have full (social) stomachs, so there's no need to feed them)

Definitely listen to Lasius:
LasiusSapien wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:48 am
Any wild-caught insects could possibly have diseases and or parasites in them so I'd suggest freezing them to kill any nasty they might be carrying.
You wouldn't want your fledgeling colony to be infected if you can avoid it.
Okok, I'll keep the feeding times in mind. And yeah, I'd be gutted if they ended up catching any nasties and died, I'm going to stick to store-brought for now. I'm glad I came here! Crickets seem like a decent choice for me at the start
Keeper of founding L. Niger colony (~10 workers)
Keeper of founding M. Barbarus colony (20-30 media and minor workers) :)

Vincex
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:22 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 64912Post Vincex
Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:38 pm

Small flyless fruitflys are perfect I find just pop two or 3 into freezer for 10 mins and give to them ! They never refuse them
Keeper of
1 lasius niger
1 pheidole pallidula
1 myrmica rubra
1 camponotus ligniperda

Formicarufa
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:28 pm
Location: Penzance

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 69192Post Formicarufa
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:47 am

I feed my lasius niger colonies Mediterranean flour moth larvae
My ants rejected woodlice and earwigs

Also the moths are super easy to keep

The ants are chewing on the cotton, even when I feed them honey and protein

Any ideas

SkeleAnt
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 69235Post SkeleAnt
Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Formicarufa wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:47 am

The ants are chewing on the cotton, even when I feed them honey and protein

Any ideas
With my own ants, they chew on the cotton on the wet side for a drink, and also to pull it apart a bit to organize their space. My one colony pulled some cotton around to make a little cover over where they keep the brood. Anytime they're disturbed, like for feedings, they rush to grab the brood and stash them there, so they might be chewing it for that reason.
1 formica subsericea colony
1 aphaenogaster rudis colony, wild collected
1 mystery colony
1 refounding formica subsericea queen
And like, so many new founding queens. So many. Like...10+ of different species.

Formicarufa
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:28 pm
Location: Penzance

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 69288Post Formicarufa
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:40 pm

My ants pull the cotton from the dry side

Slightly confused as to why

Do you have any other tips for lasius

SkeleAnt
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Best insect for feeding L. Niger??

Post: # 69465Post SkeleAnt
Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:07 pm

Formicarufa wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:40 pm
My ants pull the cotton from the dry side
I dig a little bit of digging about pulling cotton in general, wet or dry, and there's a couple of reasons. One is like why mine do it, to organize their space, to make an area for garbage away from the brood, etc. Another reason might be, as the first ants of the colony, that they're trying to get out of their claustral cell (in this case, the test tube) to go look for food, since the oldest ants need to go foraging for food once they're old enough, otherwise everyone will starve because the queen doesn't have any more food stores to care for herself and the brood. Even if you're feeding them, they might still feel compelled to do this.

I'm pretty new to ant keeping, and my first 2 colonies are actually formica subsericea, not lasius like I originally thought, so I'm lacking on the specifics for your species, but I hope this helps with some ideas on why they're still pulling the cotton.
1 formica subsericea colony
1 aphaenogaster rudis colony, wild collected
1 mystery colony
1 refounding formica subsericea queen
And like, so many new founding queens. So many. Like...10+ of different species.

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