They're kept at appx. 75 - 86 degrees, with the "Nest Mate" and Tower both regularly filled with water. I feed them once or twice a week a diet of fruit flies and honey (non-diluted) in a drinking straw that's cut to maybe half an inch in length. They regularly visit the straw.
I usually put the fruit flies in boiling water before feeding them to the ants (I've read that it can kill unwanted mites), but put between 1 and 5 or so in the outworld alive. They love the fruit flies. The ants seemed to be really thriving before the die off.
A few things stand out as possibilities.
- Shortly before they died I tried feeding the ants "Raw Manuka Honey" (which they refused to take) instead of the normal clover honey.
- I fed them two pellets of Cat Food that were soaked in water and mushed to make it easy for them to eat. I'm suspicious this may have caused the deaths. I did witness one ant walking oddly near the cat foot pellet mush.
- I placed around 8 - 10 living fruit flies in the outworld shortly before their death also. They're gone so while I didn't witness it, but I'm sure the ants hunted them as they usually do. I've never seen fruit flies attack the ants, so I'm doubtful they caused it
An odd behavior I witnessed before the 10 or so ants died was that those ants seemed to want to live in the garbage/dump area. I'm not sure if they died of age or not. They may have been with the colony since I purchased them in April.
The queen and 5 or so workers inside the nest seem to be doing ok. They're tending larva so I'm hoping everything is fine.
Does anyone have any thoughts on what may have caused the others to die?