Feed your queens!!

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

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PwnerPie
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 55775Post PwnerPie
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:43 am

idahoantgirl wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:42 pm
Newbies: Please Note

Most ant keepers (including myself) disagree with this method. Ant queens are designed to survive, and thrive without food during the founding stages. It's how their bodies naturally work. No stress is crucial to proper development. They simply aren't designed to not mind having their homes shaken constantly, the "roof" of their house lifted up, and giant globs of unnecessary food getting shoved into their living quarters. In most cases, development will slow, and chances of eating their eggs goes up. Food at this stage also presents multiple hazards. The most immediate negative effect is getting stuck or even drowning in globs of honey (note that is hard to drown an ant, but removing your queen from a sticky drop of honey is extremely dangerous, not to mention stressful for the queen. Also, feeding in the tube, no matter how big or small the colony, can cause mold outbreaks, causing you to have to move your queen to a new tube (if she wasn't killed by the mold, some molds are worse than others) Moving = more stress.

Try to remember, these ants are not like any other pet. Just because human and many animal babies and mothers need food to survive, doesn't mean that it is "better" for the ants to be fed during a time where they don't need food.

There are times that call for feeding a queen in the tube, mainly if a queen has had significant setbacks such as losing all her workers and left on her own again after becoming dependent on workers.

If there are nutritional benefits to feeding your queen, they are quickly outweighed by the reality of stress being a very common killer for our queens.
Thank you for the reply Idaho. I definitely realize that it is not the accepted method, but i have just had amazing success with it so I wanted to share. I am sure there may be other factors here, but going off the thought that if the queen has less resources, she will be more stressed..this may be the right thing to do (for some species).
The ants that get the most stressed from this are actually mymica, shockingly as they are semi claustrual. Normally i can get food into the other test tubes without the queens reacting until they smell the honey. I try to keep the test tube dark with a cover and am fairly good at not shaking it when feeding. Like i said in my original post, one of the queens started eating off the toothpick before i could even get the honey down!!! She was starving! She didnt give a crap that something was there - formica species did this.

This is obviously a very delicate process, and more research is needed. Again, this just goes off the thought that a fat and well fed queen will be less stressed than a queen with limited resources. Causing quicker laying and bigger nantics. I will do the same thing again this year and let you know how it goes.
Keeper of:
1x Formica Pacifica
2x Camponotus Modoc
1x Tetramorium Immigrans
2x Lasius Sp

Founding:
3x Lasius Sp
2x Formica Argentea
2x Myrmica Rubra

GAN Farmer: 4 Colonies sold
Goal: Supply school science classes with colonies for learning.

PwnerPie
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 55779Post PwnerPie
Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:39 pm

Additional responses to Idaho's previous post, missed the edit window.
1) Amount of food: Definitely never put GOBS of honey or any liquid substance into an ant nest, workers or no.
2) Food molding: I have yet to have honey mold. Again the "feeding queens" deal is only in reference to honey, organic honey to hopefully avoid pesticides.
3) "Ants dont need it in the wild": Just because they can survive without it, does not mean it is ideal. They evolved to not NEED it because of all of the predators in the wild that will eat them, it does not mean it is not extremely helpful to have extra resources.

This is the exact phrase that I have debating here: "In most cases, development will slow, and chances of eating their eggs goes up." As this is wrong in my case. However I do not know if something else I am doing is giving a higher rate of success. I have actually noticed and higher rate of egg laying and less egg eating when I feed them. I am by no means saying it is always accurate, but it is something that deserves more research. I will continue to report on my findings. More feedback and ideas are always welcome!
Keeper of:
1x Formica Pacifica
2x Camponotus Modoc
1x Tetramorium Immigrans
2x Lasius Sp

Founding:
3x Lasius Sp
2x Formica Argentea
2x Myrmica Rubra

GAN Farmer: 4 Colonies sold
Goal: Supply school science classes with colonies for learning.

Antfan
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:44 am
Location: UK

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 57934Post Antfan
Sun May 05, 2019 3:55 pm

I only feed my queens if they have larvae, but I do it not that often. However if you want to feed your queens then thats fine, but in my oppinion do not feed them if they have eggs/small larvea as they may eat them or if they don't have any eggs/brood/larvea.

In conclusion do not move the test tube when feeding to reduce stress

Aaaaaa
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 12:44 pm
Location: Dallas,TX,USA

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 70067Post Aaaaaa
Mon May 18, 2020 1:19 pm

Thanks! This really helped! But where do I put the honey? I’m only twelve, so I don’t have a test tube, I keep my queen ants in small jars, should I just put a drop in there, or do I put a small container full of honey in. If I fill a little container, I think the queen may get stuck.
Owner of
2 fire ant queens :D

SkeleAnt
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 70098Post SkeleAnt
Tue May 19, 2020 10:48 am

Aaaaaa wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 1:19 pm
Thanks! This really helped! But where do I put the honey? I’m only twelve, so I don’t have a test tube, I keep my queen ants in small jars, should I just put a drop in there, or do I put a small container full of honey in. If I fill a little container, I think the queen may get stuck.
I agree that if your queens are fully claustral, you shouldn’t feed them at all until their first workers arrive, but for your situation, one of the easiest ways I’ve seen is to make a small square of foil and put the food on that. That way you aren’t putting food directly onto the surface of the enclosure and it’s easy to remove once it’s depleted or the ants aren’t interested. Keep in mind that even though queens are larger than workers, their stomachs aren’t massive. If you really want to give them honey, make sure the drop is smaller than the queen’s head. You don’t want to risk her drowning or getting stuck. I hope this helps!
First time ant keeper with 2 formica subsericea queens!

Aaaaaa
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 12:44 pm
Location: Dallas,TX,USA

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 70112Post Aaaaaa
Tue May 19, 2020 5:39 pm

Thanks that really helped, I have 2 more quick questions. How long after nuptial flights do fire ant queens lay eggs? Also, do fire ants prefer light or dark? I’m just asking so I know when to expect when the queen will lay eggs, and to provide the best experience for my fire ant queens.

Thank you!
Owner of
2 fire ant queens :D

QJH2023
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: MN

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 70174Post QJH2023
Thu May 21, 2020 2:48 pm

I have done a test involving 50 queens of camponotus and 36 queens of lasius and gave 25 of the camponotus queens honey and gave 18 lasius queens honey now here is what I found camponotus survival rates were 1.5 times as high(80% compared to 60%) when I gave them honey where the lasius did horrible with the honey not only did the queens survival rate drop to 33% when typically they were 75% so it really depends on the species
keeper of: 5xCamponotus novaeboracensis, Crematogaster spp. and unidentified species and tapinoma sessile

SkeleAnt
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 70252Post SkeleAnt
Sun May 24, 2020 12:42 am

Aaaaaa wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:39 pm
Thanks that really helped, I have 2 more quick questions. How long after nuptial flights do fire ant queens lay eggs? Also, do fire ants prefer light or dark? I’m just asking so I know when to expect when the queen will lay eggs, and to provide the best experience for my fire ant queens.

Thank you!
Egg laying times vary based on how comfortable a queen is, if she feels at home egg laying should begin soon after she’s been set up since she needs her workers as soon as possible. All ant species do best in the dark while founding because it cuts down on stress and mimics their natural conditions. Being in the dark tells them their nest is covered, therefore hidden and secure. This makes the ants feel secure as well. They do not need light to navigate their nests. An added bonus is that keeping the ants in the dark makes them photophobic (afraid/agitated in light) so when you need to transfer them to a new location, you can expose them to light in their current home and put the new home in the dark, making it much more appealing to move to.
First time ant keeper with 2 formica subsericea queens!

Aaaaaa
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 12:44 pm
Location: Dallas,TX,USA

Re: Feed your queens!!

Post: # 70288Post Aaaaaa
Sun May 24, 2020 12:06 pm

Thank you to both of you!
Owner of
2 fire ant queens :D

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