Raw honey, bad for ants?

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

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PwnerPie
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 34875Post PwnerPie
Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:41 am

Hi all, found something strange that happened when feeding a formica colony raw honey, the atleast 1 worker died within 2 days after putting raw honey in (out of 4, so big impact). It is the first time I have had a worker die, and none have died since I stopped putting raw honey in. It is organic raw honey, so no pesticides.The ants looked fine before discovering them dead, definitely not a sickness.

One thought, could it be too sticky? Do they need access to an actual water source? I ask this because I noticed the queen pulling at the water cotton and actively drinking the days after putting the raw honey in. I have not seen it since I started using regular honey (still organic) again.

What would cause this? Has anyone had a similar experience? I thought raw would be better for them. =(
Keeper of:
2x Formica Sp
2x Camponotus Sp

Founding:
3x Lasius Sp
2x Formica Sp
1x Myrmica Sp
1x Tetramorium Sp

GAN Farmer: 3 Colonies sold
Goal: Supply school science classes with colonies for learning.

Cartil
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:13 am
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 34905Post Cartil
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:38 pm

I see you're asking whether they need access to a water source. Are your ants in a test tube with water and a piece of cotton?

When you give them honey, try to give them a few tiny drops (smaller than them) rather than a large one, otherwise they could either drown or get covered by it and die (imagine yourself falling in a lake of honey and having no way to clean yourself properly). If you would rather, mix sugar with water and give them a few drops of that instead. It works too!

PwnerPie
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 35016Post PwnerPie
Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:59 am

Do are in a regular test tube setup with water, and they are small drops, they are not drowning. They ate some and died within a couple days.

Ever since not giving them any more raw honey, no more have died. They have regular organic honey and eat it fine.
Never giving ants raw honey again, just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience with raw honey! May need to send out a PSA if that is the case so more ants dont needlessly die! =(
Keeper of:
2x Formica Sp
2x Camponotus Sp

Founding:
3x Lasius Sp
2x Formica Sp
1x Myrmica Sp
1x Tetramorium Sp

GAN Farmer: 3 Colonies sold
Goal: Supply school science classes with colonies for learning.

WNCAnt
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:16 pm

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 37010Post WNCAnt
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:48 am

Do not feed your queens raw unprocessed honey. Little incite, bee keepers use a special powder to keep mites and ants out of there hives. This powder is poison to the ants, so when you feed raw honey it contains small amounts of said powder until its processed. The powder is harmless to humans and bees.
Founding Camponotus Pennsylvanicus X 2.
Keeping Camponotus Subbarbatus X1.

OttoIsTheOrange
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:48 pm
Location: New York

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 38691Post OttoIsTheOrange
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:49 am

So what type of organic honey are you suggesting? I have been using organic strawberries and my ants go crazy for them, or would you recommend a switch to honey or sugar water every once and a while? I was also wondering if I connect my ants to a test tube of sugar water, would they also be able to sustainably use it as a water source as well as a sugar source?
Been ant keeping for 1 full year now and have 1 successful Tetramorium sp. E colony, 2 Lasius flavus queens, and 1 Lasius neoniger queen! Even though I’m fairly new, I’m passionate about the hobby and appreciate much advise!

WNCAnt
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:16 pm

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 40428Post WNCAnt
Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:38 am

I used processed organic honey myself doesn't seem to bother them. Sugar water works well but have to watch for mold. If they like the strawberry's I would stick to what works. I would keep a clean water source around as well. Sugar water all the time can't be good for them.
Founding Camponotus Pennsylvanicus X 2.
Keeping Camponotus Subbarbatus X1.

Dinoff
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 20, 2018 10:02 pm
Location: Northern Maryland

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 40916Post Dinoff
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:38 pm

I do not know much about ants but I am a food scientist so I hope someone finds this helpful. As far as organic (and other better for you products) goes you need to be extremely careful as organic, not only contains natural insecticides as someone mentioned, but also has zero microbial controls aside from heat or steam treatment by USDA rules. I work in a food lab and we will not guarantee micro counts on organic since it cannot be treated for things like yeast, mold, spoilage microbes, and pathogens. I am not trying to preach that people not consume organics but there is mass disinformation about organic foods.

I hope someone finds this helpful.

PwnerPie
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 41207Post PwnerPie
Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:01 pm

OttoIsTheOrange wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:49 am
So what type of organic honey are you suggesting? I have been using organic strawberries and my ants go crazy for them, or would you recommend a switch to honey or sugar water every once and a while? I was also wondering if I connect my ants to a test tube of sugar water, would they also be able to sustainably use it as a water source as well as a sugar source?
I use organic honey, they love it and it does not mold. Just dont use RAW honey.
Keeper of:
2x Formica Sp
2x Camponotus Sp

Founding:
3x Lasius Sp
2x Formica Sp
1x Myrmica Sp
1x Tetramorium Sp

GAN Farmer: 3 Colonies sold
Goal: Supply school science classes with colonies for learning.

CampoKing
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:20 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 45912Post CampoKing
Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:38 pm

Ok I'm definitely hopping on this topic because I just did massive research into the safety of honey for ants.

My conclusion: Don't use honey. Use maple syrup.

Here's why. Honey has more stuff in it than just sugar. It also has very low water content, so it will dehydrate ants when fed directly. The honey can and probably will have dormant bacteria or other pathogens in it, and that's one reason why there's a warning label on most honey to not feed it to kids under a certain age. Since bees and ants are both insects, it's likely that any pathogens carried by bees (and getting in their honey) will affect ants negatively, including killing them. There are documented cases of some ant species being carriers of chronic bee paralysis virus. It's not impossible that bees are also carriers of things dangerous to ants. Honey is so dry because nothing can grow in it, allowing it to keep fresh basically forever. But when you add water, it can quickly spoil because of the things waiting in it for the right growing conditions.

I recommend maple syrup for one very simple reason: it's basically tree sap. What do ants do in the wild all day when crawling up trees? Collecting tree sap (or closely related aphid honeydew). It makes much more sense to use syrup instead of honey, since syrup is pretty much what ants naturally eat anyway.

Hope that helps everyone.
Keeper of:
C. pennsylvanicus & C. subbarbatus

PwnerPie
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Raw honey, bad for ants?

Post: # 46111Post PwnerPie
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:41 am

CampoKing wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:38 pm
Ok I'm definitely hopping on this topic because I just did massive research into the safety of honey for ants.

My conclusion: Don't use honey. Use maple syrup.

Here's why. Honey has more stuff in it than just sugar. It also has very low water content, so it will dehydrate ants when fed directly. The honey can and probably will have dormant bacteria or other pathogens in it, and that's one reason why there's a warning label on most honey to not feed it to kids under a certain age. Since bees and ants are both insects, it's likely that any pathogens carried by bees (and getting in their honey) will affect ants negatively, including killing them. There are documented cases of some ant species being carriers of chronic bee paralysis virus. It's not impossible that bees are also carriers of things dangerous to ants. Honey is so dry because nothing can grow in it, allowing it to keep fresh basically forever. But when you add water, it can quickly spoil because of the things waiting in it for the right growing conditions.

I recommend maple syrup for one very simple reason: it's basically tree sap. What do ants do in the wild all day when crawling up trees? Collecting tree sap (or closely related aphid honeydew). It makes much more sense to use syrup instead of honey, since syrup is pretty much what ants naturally eat anyway.

Hope that helps everyone.
Quick question. By "maple syrup" i assume you are referring to the really expensive stuff or the regular $2 giant bottle of it?
Keeper of:
2x Formica Sp
2x Camponotus Sp

Founding:
3x Lasius Sp
2x Formica Sp
1x Myrmica Sp
1x Tetramorium Sp

GAN Farmer: 3 Colonies sold
Goal: Supply school science classes with colonies for learning.

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