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Food

From Ant Keeping Wiki

Ants typically need sugars and proteins.

dumping this from discord discussion on it

I guess this should cover pretty much everything... maybe individual care for feeders should go elsewhere probably

we'll also need a synopsis section for like, best practices. ain't nobyd gna read about stuff like CRFBL or whatever

Warning: Pesticides

Many foods made for human consumption are treated with pesticides first, including organic fruit.(citation needed) This can kill off your entire colony. Be sure that any food you give your colonies is not treated with pesticides, or any surfaces that may be treated with pesticides are entirely cut off, such as the skin of the fruit or the stem.

Most Common Feeders

Some of the most common feeders include Fruit Flies, Mealworms, Superworms, Roaches as well as harder to keep feeders such as Crickets and Locusts.

Mealworms - Mealworms are very easy to keep and do not require a lot of space, most ants will readily accept them, especially if fed dead. It is not recommended to feed live mealworms unless the colony is large or is exceptionally aggressive. You may need to cut them up for the ants to be able to get inside the mealworm, as they have tough exoskeletons. The pupae have the best protein % of all the stages of growth and can be fed live (seperate pupae from mealworms). Mealworms require constant feeding as they cannot drink water - they get their moisture through eating. Breeding mealworms is very simple. Start with a small box, preferably plastic as they cannot climb it, and fill it up with oats (any oats work, including porridge). You can choose to give the mealworms some cover, but they will happily burrow into the oats for cover themselves. Give them 1/2 a baby potato, as that will last the longest and will not mould, as well as being soft enough to eat into (replace once completely consumed). Make sure to skin the potato for pesticides, as the pesticides (if they do not kill your mealworms), will later kill your ants.

Superworms - Superworms are the same as mealworms, but a bit more of a hassle to keep. In return for this though, you get a much better protein % on the pupae, and also a much larger meal for your ants. BEWARE WHILE FEEDING LIVE, these pupae can kill a few ants unlike mealworms due to their size and strength. Make sure that your species of ant can actually take it down - smaller species may have more trouble. Species such as invicta will easily take them down, where as other species Camponotus fragilis may have some trouble. To keep, do exactly the same as mealworms - box full of oats, give them a potato and wait for them to be ready to pupate (seperate pupae from superworms). They are ready to pupate when very large, and not shedding their skin any longer [citation needed]. However, superworms will not pupate if surrounded by other superworms, unlike mealworms. This means you have to get another box ( or boxes ) for the superworms to be put into when they are ready to pupae.


Fruit Flies - [Borat or LOA needs to come save this section]

Roaches - Unlike mealworms and superworms, these guys can drink! They also give live birth, meaning you do not need to worry about roaches eating the eggs. An easy setup is a coconut substrate floor with a small bird feeder water tower, where they can drink from. They will also eat any plant matter in the set up, including leaves and fruits. Roaches are not known to cannibalise each other ~ they are much more herbivores than carnivores, but if not given food there is the chance that they will turn on one another. You may also give them oats (in a small amount) if you want them to have a more stable food source- be aware, oats with even a small amount of water can create a massive mould problem - killing your feeders and potentially even killing your ants. Once you get the roaches from the store - GIVE THEM WATER! They are normally very dehydrated, and you'll see them plump up alot after having a drink.

Crickets and Locusts - Both very common, crickets and locusts are known around the world. They are probably one of the best protein % feeders out there - especially locusts. Locusts also have a very soft and moist exoskeleton, making it super easy for ants to enjoy. One of the main problems is that they jump. This can make them pretty hard to contain. Not only that, they poop everywhere, whether it be on the ceiling, floor or walls of their enclosure, they'll manage it. They are also pretty good climbers. But, they are not impossible to contain - just needs a bit more work than the other feeders. You need to keep them in a completely closed container with air holes in the lid. Small crickets and locusts can jump over 1/2 a meter - not fun for a feeder. Put them in this closed container with a substrate of oats, and give them fruit and potato. They have a tendency to cannibalise each other despite ample space and food, so don't buy more than you can use in 2-3 weeks.

Summary - mealworms are the easiest to keep, with the biggest bang for the buck (40 mealworms can easily turn into 200 mealworms in the space of a few months). Superworms are a bit harder, but also more rewarding for yours ants. Roaches are just as easy, you just need to make sure not mould develops in their set up. Crickets and Locusts are by far the hardest, but are also the best protein % of any feeder insect.

Nutrient needs

Section request - is this better in biology somewhere? expert attention needed

Proteins

Proteins are needed by ant colonies for the queen's egg production as well as larvae growth. In species that lack social stomachs, this will be given whole or in part to the larvae itself.

Insects (Not all the things i put in there are insects)

Insect Cultured? Feeding method Notes
Fruit Flies this should probly link somewhere else Yes Frozen or live Fruit fly cultures need to be remade every 4 weeks or so in order to avoid mites.[1]Flightless fruit fly cultures must be kept under 32˚C or offspring will be capable of flight (does not apply to wingless fruit flies)

Fruit fly cultures are prone to crashes so more than one culture should available at any time

Dusting fruit flies with calcium or vitamin powder will prevent them from climbing

Mosquito No Freshly killed
Mealworms Yes Freshly killed, forzen, freeze dried, live To keep and breed mealworms, it is very simple. Start with a small box, preferably plastic as they cannot climb it, and fill it up with oats (any oats work, including porridge). You can choose to give the mealworms some cover, but they will happily burrow into the oats for cover themselves. Give them 1/2 a baby potato, as that will last the longest and will not mould, as well as being soft enough to eat into (replace once completely consumed). Make sure to skin the potato for pesticides, as the pesticides (if they do not kill your mealworms), will later kill your ants

Once mealworms pupate, you may need to remove the pupae and transfer it to another box as mealworms will happily eat a pupae


Protein levels - 20.27%

Calcium ratios - 3.2%

Fat ratios - 13%

Fiber ratios - 1.73%

Superworms Yes Freshly killed, frozen or live Superworms can be kept the same way as mealworms but breeding is more troublesome. This is because superworms will not pupate if surrounded by other superworms, unlike mealworms. This means you have to get another box ( or boxes ) for the superworms to be put into when they are ready to pupae.

Seperate the pupae as superworms will eat pupae


Protein levels - 17.4%

Calcium ratios - 10.8%

Fat ratios - 16%

Fiber ratios - 6.8%

Crickets/locusts Yes Freshly killed Breeding them can be difficult, as they tend to eat each other (even with food provided) instead of mating and require a large amount of space and are noisy


Crickets have a very short lifespan. They go from egg to cricket in about 2 weeks, and adults only live for about 3 weeks. To culture crickets you get adult crickets, and put in a bin with plenty of space and hiding spots. Vermiculite as a substrate is good as its very absorbent and reduces smell. Have a tupperware container of any kind of organic dirt such as coco fiber, and make sure it is moist. Crickets will lay eggs in there and after 1 - 1.5 weeks take the tupperware out and put in a new tub. Crickets need plenty of water such as hydrated water storing crystals, meant for plants, and lots of fresh veggies. The less food and hiding spaces the more cannibalism you will get

Pinhead crickets are great for small colonies. Soon enough you will be overrun by crickets because of their short reproductive cycle

Dubia/wood Roaches Yes Freshly killed, live or frozen To culture, keep in a container with a bed of coconut substrate with access to water

They will eat plant matter such as leaves, fruit and vegetables

Spiders No Freshly killed or frozen
Chicken No Cooked or raw
Bloodworm soup No
Shrimp No Raw
Springtails Yes Live There are 2 methods of culturing springtails:

1) Get a shallow container, 100% lump wood charcoal, and fill with just a little bit of water. Sprinkle with brewers yeast or rice. When harvesting, add additional water, since springtails float you can then pour the water with the springtails out to wherever you want to move them. Alternatively, blowing them in (They jump when air moves near them), or sucking some up with a turkey baster is viable.

2) Plain dirt such as topsoil, with leaf litter. To harvest springtails from the dirt method, put some pieces of charcoal in and tap springtails off charcoal. Alternatively, place food in a tray and remove the tray with springtails on it after a while

Springtails are harmless and eat bacteria. Rice is a good food source as it molds quickly and the springtails eat the mold, or brewers yeast.

Sugars

Liquid sugars

Type Days until spoil Notes
Sugar water Varies(citation needed) Hummingbird nectar is made to imitate flower nectar and has a ratio of roughly 5:1(citation needed)

Adding a small amount of salt to the solution can increase receptivity

Sugar
Honey
Maple syrup

Solid sugars

White granulated sugar
Brown granulated sugar
Honey crystals
Grapes
Apples
Other Fruit

sugars (solid) dry granulated sugar grapes apples brown crystalized sugar tangerine honey crystals Strawberry Cucumber Mango Raspberries Melon Mandarin Orange Pears Carrots Tomato Radish Grapes Cherries Paprika Apple Kiwi

Plant matter

Leaf cutter species such as Acromyrmex, Atta and Trachymyrmex need different types of plant matter to feed their fungus gardens. It is critically important that any plant matter obtained does not have pesticides on it.

Plant matter Notes
Dried rose petals
Oats
Lettuce
Blackberry leaves
Wet toast

Seeds

Harvester ant species such as pogonomyrmex, messor and veromessor utilize seeds for their protein, sugars or both (citation needed).

Seed Notes
Bluegrass seed
Sunflower seed
Teff seed
Chia seed
Sesame seed
Poppy seed
Almond
Walnut
Niger seed
Bird seed

sugars (liquid)

maple syrup

agave sugar water honey honey water humming bird nectar aphids

sugars (solid) dry granulated sugar grapes apples brown crystalized sugar tangerine honey crystals Strawberry Cucumber Mango Raspberries Melon Mandarin Orange Pears Carrots Tomato Radish Grapes Cherries Paprika Apple Kiwi

blar ok im dead more later

See also:

http://www.leafcuttingants.com/article01.html

http://www.formiculture.com/topic/112-preferred-food-by-species/