Synthetic Diet - Questions

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

Moderator: ooper01

Post Reply
Araston
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:48 am
Location: London

Synthetic Diet - Questions

Post: # 65429Post Araston
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:27 am

Hi,

I've recently started with Ant Keeping, and I'm starting small and basic.

I should receive within days my Lasius Niger Queen, with eggs.
I will keep her in a test tube attached to a Wakooshi Basic Nest for as long as possible.

I live in London, and I can keep my ants in the basement (10/12 degrees) during winter and in my home (21/25) during rest of the year.

For a various amount of reasons, I do not think it will be possible for me to feed my ant with live insects.
I understand Lasius Niger needs both proteins and carbohydrates.

I've found many diets around, but this one based of Cricket Flour seems to be the best choice for ants.
https://www.formiculture.com/topic/1116-etherwulfs-synthetic-ant-diet-research-threadguide/
I've read somewhere anyway that Whey is not indicated for Ants.

Do you recommend this diet, or anyway, is it a good alternatives for my species?
My idea is to prepare it, and cut it in small cubes that I can then freeze, and use accordingly when needed.

If not, I could modify the recipe to use only Cricket flour?

Thank you.

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

Re: Synthetic Diet - Questions

Post: # 65524Post DCheezi
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:24 am

Welcome to the wonderful world of ants :D, L Niger is a great beginner species, very hardy, and they make babies very quickly.
Araston wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:27 am
For a various amount of reasons, I do not think it will be possible for me to feed my ant with live insects.
I understand Lasius Niger needs both proteins and carbohydrates.
Could you share why you can't keep feeder insects? They don't make any smell and they're very low maintenance, but if it's due to parents not wanting to keep feeder bugs or something more personal then I understand.

You're right with them needing proteins and carbs, I've heard of people using boiled egg whites, cooked or raw chicken, beef, pork and other meats to substitute for insects.
The biggest issue with that though is that ants are naturally attracted to hemolymph, aka insect blood, but in the end each ant species and individual colony is different in their own way. The good thing, though, is that your queen will probably be in hibernation or go into hibernation when you get her, so if you give her some honey for energy and maybe a bit of protein to last her you'll have a few months to sort out what she'll eat. Just make sure that she has water left in her test tube. You also won't need to hydrate the nest as often during hibernation, I've heard every few days is fine.

Using only cricket flour would most likely turn the ants off of it, they are naturally attracted to sugar after all. The agar in the recipe is needed for it to hold together like a soft jelly so they can eat it easily. Sodium Benzoate is a preservative but there have also been people who have used it as an insect repellant, though from what I can find it isn't toxic to bugs or ants. Ascorbic Acid (basically vitamin C) seems to have been added for nutriment, and vitamins seem to be beneficial to ant colonies, but I'm not sure about the science behind giving it to them and how much of a difference it would make.
In this study https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2012.0051 they claim to have used Vanderzant for nutritional supplementation and never mention it again, which leads me to believe it's a viable additive.

In the end, as he states, it's not ideal to feed ants a wholly synthetic diet, so you should still offer them the occasional insect. Catching spiders, fruit flies, moths, anything you find in your house works, so long as you boil or freeze them to ensure they don't have any nasties on them (parasites or pesticides). I've never though to make my ants ant jelly but I might try it out and post my results to this forum in the future. And you, if you do try this, please share! I'd be interested to see how they fare with it :lol:
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: Synthetic Diet - Questions

Post: # 65525Post LasiusSapien
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:29 am

Araston wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:27 am
Hi,

I've recently started with Ant Keeping, and I'm starting small and basic.

I should receive within days my Lasius Niger Queen, with eggs.
I will keep her in a test tube attached to a Wakooshi Basic Nest for as long as possible.

I live in London, and I can keep my ants in the basement (10/12 degrees) during winter and in my home (21/25) during rest of the year.

For a various amount of reasons, I do not think it will be possible for me to feed my ant with live insects.
I understand Lasius Niger needs both proteins and carbohydrates.

I've found many diets around, but this one based of Cricket Flour seems to be the best choice for ants.
https://www.formiculture.com/topic/1116-etherwulfs-synthetic-ant-diet-research-threadguide/
I've read somewhere anyway that Whey is not indicated for Ants.

Do you recommend this diet, or anyway, is it a good alternatives for my species?
My idea is to prepare it, and cut it in small cubes that I can then freeze, and use accordingly when needed.

If not, I could modify the recipe to use only Cricket flour?

Thank you.
sounds like harvester ants would of been a better fit for you as they can live perfectly fine on just seeds
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

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest