Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  



Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use, and contain no ads for members. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo

Sunburst Ant Nectar - Convenient & Reliable Liquid Sugar Solution


118 replies to this topic

#101 Offline drtrmiller - Posted March 30 2019 - 5:07 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

If I buy multiple bottles can I use one for 6 months, then open another and use that one for six months. Or are they 6 months from purchase? 

 

If this is a question about self life, the unopened or unused product will stay perfectly fresh and usable for at least 2 years from the manufacture date.  It is only once you have exhausted a lot of the product that the shelf life starts to have any meaning, because there is more and more headroom for air in the bottle.

 

So to answer your question, it's perfectly fine to keep multiple bottles on hand, so you have one ready for when you use all of the previous bottle.  Also, the 6 month date is not a hard date, but just a very conservative guideline that may vary depending on how frequently you use the product.


Edited by drtrmiller, March 30 2019 - 5:08 PM.

  • Antking117 likes this


#102 Offline Antking117 - Posted March 30 2019 - 5:10 PM

Antking117

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 405 posts
  • LocationOmaha, Nebraska, USA

 

If I buy multiple bottles can I use one for 6 months, then open another and use that one for six months. Or are they 6 months from purchase? 

 

If this is a question about self life, the unopened or unused product will stay perfectly fresh and usable for at least 2 years from the manufacture date.  

 

That is exactly what I was asking, thank you.



#103 Offline drtrmiller - Posted March 30 2019 - 6:57 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

As an additional point of reference my ~5000 worker Camponotus barbaricus colony is drinking around between 6 and 8ml of diluted maple syrup (75% water, 25% sugars) per day. Not sure about their Sunburst consumption (which would likely depend on the actual sugar content in the liquid) but when I last gave it to them they were about 2000 ants and drank about 4ml per day so the number seem kinda consistent.


A quick calculation I did showed that the specific gravity of your 1:3 solution might be around 1.0925 (using 1.37 g/cc for maple syrup).  With a specific gravity of around 1.145, Sunburst is significantly more concentrated compared to your described feeding solution.
 
We arrived at our Sunburst formula based on response to the receptivity tests conducted years ago, with both lesser and greater concentrations of sugar attracting fewer ants over the same time period.  The general objective was to make the most delicious and universally accepted liquid sugar ant food that could be stored in, and conveniently dispensed from, a bottle.
 
Do you offer your colony plain water separately, as well?  If so, do they drink a lot of it?  Because it seems like the big colony you mentioned is probably getting a great deal of their water requirements from your relatively diluted sugar-water mixture, and you may be overestimating their sugar requirements as a result.  There's nothing wrong with what you're doing; I'm only mentioning it because it is probably affecting your calculations and perceptions.


Edited by drtrmiller, March 31 2019 - 6:26 AM.


#104 Offline Serafine - Posted March 31 2019 - 3:42 AM

Serafine

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,245 posts
  • LocationGermany

That is exactly what I was asking, thank you.

It's probably still a good idea to put them in a cool place like the basement and not keep them in your room when it gets to 30°C in the summer (like mine).

 

Further, because you guys tend to be able to successfully manage far larger colonies than the typical hobbyist I see from other countries, the "Small," "Medium," "Large" colony language I used would probably not apply to Germany.

Yes, I've noticed that and it might be a subject for an actual discussion topic.
 
One reason could be that the north american/international community is still fairly young compared to the one in Europe, where antkeeping has been a thing for decades, but then even in the US you get those rare people with gigantic colonies (like the guy who had to feed his fire ants an entire can of dog food per day), so it can't be just that.
 
I guess age actually makes the biggest difference, in Germany the usual antkeeper's entry age seems to be 20 and above, whereas in the US in particular it seems to be more like 12-15. Obviously when you're 20+ years old you've already settled down a bit and your hobbies/interests are unlikely to change dramatically within a year or two (you may also have your own flat and not required to worry about your ants when moving to a different place, plus you can take your ants with you to any place within the European Union).
 
And well, about that scale - technically my 5000 worker Camponotus colony is still a fledgling colony, nowhere near it's potential full size XD.
It's probably going to grow to at least 3 times it's current size, maybe more.

 

Do you offer your colony plain water separately, as well? If so, do they drink a lot of it? Because it seems like the big colony you mentioned is probably getting a great deal of their water requirements from your relatively diluted sugar-water mixture, and you may be overestimating their sugar requirements as a result. There's nothing wrong with what you're doing; I'm only mentioning it because it is probably affecting your calculations and perceptions.

Yes, they have 2 bird water feeders (a big one in the first outworld and a smaller one in the second outworld) which are both used quite a extensively. They also have water tubes in their outworlds (which are used as outposts and satellite nests). And since they don't like dry foods their food also has quite a high water content (fresh insects, wet cat food).

 

Btw I actually tried pure maple syrup a few times and they don't like it (it's too viscous and sticky, they immediately start burrying it).


Edited by Serafine, March 31 2019 - 3:56 AM.

We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

Join the antkeeping discord chat! & reddit - r/antkeeping

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal

#105 Offline drtrmiller - Posted March 31 2019 - 5:34 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

 

Btw I actually tried pure maple syrup a few times and they don't like it (it's too viscous and sticky, they immediately start burying it).

 

 

That's right.  I do occasionally hear complaints that Sunburst is too watery, but these customers don't understand the attributes of the food which make it attractive to ants.

At one point, I conducted some experiments with thickeners & gelling agents to modify the viscosity of Sunburst without changing anything else, and the result was always a food that was less readily accepted. Unfortunately, I can't be 100% sure whether the decrease in receptivity was due solely to the change in viscosity, or whether it was due to a change in taste after adding the ingredient, but I would speculate it would be the former.

 

I frequently see a lot of people in German groups using big bottles of liquid invert sugar, and either feeding it in concentrated form or slightly diluted.  So I bought a bottle from Amazon.de, the exact brand these people use, and used it the same way they describe.  And the result was that Sunburst performed better in every test with North American ants.  Sure, the invert is cheaper, but I just can't understand why that would be the only reason these folks would use it, as seriously as they take the hobby?  Have you also seen a lot of people use invert?  What are your thoughts?


Edited by drtrmiller, March 31 2019 - 7:01 AM.


#106 Offline Serafine - Posted March 31 2019 - 6:10 AM

Serafine

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,245 posts
  • LocationGermany

Invert sugar syrup is an ingredient used mostly in the food industry, i's main advantage being that it takes a very long time to spoil (it's also fairly cheap). You can basically fill a small bird water feeder with it and leave it there for weeks without it getting bad, even during hot seasons it easily lasts over week.

 

From what I've seen honey and honey water seem to be the most common things in german antkeeping, with invert sugar mostly used by people who have huge colonies that drink vast amounts of sugars per day (I guess a fully grown Camponotus ligniperda colony with like 30k workers probably drinks about 25-50ml of sweets per day, this might actually get expensive).

Personally I use diluted maple syrup (might not be the cheapest solution but it seems to be what my ants prefer over anything else, I'd say it's on par with Sunburst) and I've also seen others using stuff like Agave syrup and Date palm syrup.

 

There's regular discussions in german antkeeping forums about how good of a food sugar water/invert sugar syrup is and my opinion is that if your ants are doing bad the type of sugars they get likely isn't the issue - with the rest of their diet being diverse (=not just mealworms) and their nesting conditions being fine they shouldn't suffer from malnutrition due to sugar water.

Also Messor harvester ants, the most popular type of ant in Europe second only to the omnipresent Lasius niger, are obviously not affected by this issue at all as most of those colonies don't drink any sugary liquids.


Edited by Serafine, March 31 2019 - 6:15 AM.

We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

Join the antkeeping discord chat! & reddit - r/antkeeping

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal

#107 Offline drtrmiller - Posted March 31 2019 - 6:19 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

...my opinion is that if your ants are doing bad the type of sugars they get likely isn't the issue...they shouldn't suffer from malnutrition due to sugar water.


I also hold the belief that all sugars are nutritionally equal.  But I would add that not all sugars are equally accepted.

 

And so the key is to find a liquid sugar that works the most reliably and consistently with your ants, no matter the source.  Creating the most delicious and universally accepted liquid sugar ant food that can be stored in, and conveniently dispensed from a bottle, has always been the driving purpose behind the development of Sunburst.
 

Also Messor harvester ants, the most popular type of ant in Europe second only to the omnipresent Lasius niger, are obviously not affected by this issue at all as most of those colonies don't drink any sugary liquids.

 
I've seen a few anecdotal reports over the years from users who were surprised that Messor seemed to be attracted to Sunburst.  I can't explain it, though.
 
Also keep in mind that Sunburst contains more ingredients than just sugar and water; it also contains salts and hydroxide ions.
 


Edited by drtrmiller, March 31 2019 - 6:57 AM.


#108 Offline Serafine - Posted April 1 2019 - 6:05 AM

Serafine

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,245 posts
  • LocationGermany

I've seen a few anecdotal reports over the years from users who were surprised that Messor seemed to be attracted to Sunburst.  I can't explain it, though.

It's actually not that uncommon for Messor ants to drink sugary sweets, especially when the colony is still young. But every colony is different, so it comes down to testing.
From what I've read Messor species like to chew on plants in the wild and lick up the sap.
 

Also keep in mind that Sunburst contains more ingredients than just sugar and water; it also contains salts and hydroxide ions.

Yes, that's why I don't use sugar water - honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, date syrup, all of those sweets have additional ingredients sugar water doesn't have and all of them can be obtained at a local supermarket. And they're even easier to mix with water than crystaline sugars.


Edited by Serafine, April 1 2019 - 10:36 AM.

We should respect all forms of consciousness. The body is just a vessel, a mere hull.

Join the antkeeping discord chat! & reddit - r/antkeeping

Welcome to Lazy Tube - My Camponotus Journal

#109 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 8 2019 - 12:31 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

Save $3.00 on a 120 mL bottle of Sunburst Ant Nectar on Amazon.com:

 

For a limited time, customers shopping on Amazon.com may save $3.00 on a 120 mL bottle of Sunburst Ant Nectar by clipping the coupon at the top of the product page.

 

Shipping Update:

 

After some months, Amazon finally came through and is now exporting Sunburst Ant Nectar to all EU countries.  Simply shop on any Amazon Europe site (UK/DE/FR/ES/IT) and you may now have Sunburst Ant Nectar shipped to any EU country.

 

members-of-eu.jpg


Edited by drtrmiller, May 8 2019 - 12:35 PM.

  • Serafine likes this


#110 Offline B_rad0806 - Posted May 8 2019 - 12:48 PM

B_rad0806

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts

HMMMM. I would totally buy this but i'm already spending a lot of money on ants.


Journals:

Ant Journals

 

 

Shop:

Brad's Ant Adoption


#111 Offline rbarreto - Posted May 8 2019 - 2:10 PM

rbarreto

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 478 posts
  • LocationOttawa, On
For some reason antkeeping depot cannot to process my order.

My journal featuring:

Aphaenogaster picea

Lasius claviger

Lasius umbratus

Lasius sp. (black workers)

Lasius sp. (yellow/orange workers)

Formica pallidefulva (northern color form)

Prenolepis imparis

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Camponotus novaeboracensis

Temnothorax cf. curvispinosus

Tetramorium immigrans ( 2 polygynous, 1 monogynous)

 


#112 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 8 2019 - 2:12 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

For some reason antkeeping depot cannot to process my order.

 

Can you provide more information?  Are you receiving a specific error during checkout or did they email you saying there was a problem after you placed the order?



#113 Offline rbarreto - Posted May 8 2019 - 2:52 PM

rbarreto

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 478 posts
  • LocationOttawa, On

For some reason antkeeping depot cannot to process my order.


Can you provide more information? Are you receiving a specific error during checkout or did they email you saying there was a problem after you placed the order?
It's a specific error during checkout. I input the exact same information I use on all other online transactions but for some reason it won't work. It brings me to another page that says that my order cannot be processed and with the option of trying again.

Edited by rbarreto, May 8 2019 - 2:55 PM.

My journal featuring:

Aphaenogaster picea

Lasius claviger

Lasius umbratus

Lasius sp. (black workers)

Lasius sp. (yellow/orange workers)

Formica pallidefulva (northern color form)

Prenolepis imparis

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Camponotus novaeboracensis

Temnothorax cf. curvispinosus

Tetramorium immigrans ( 2 polygynous, 1 monogynous)

 


#114 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 8 2019 - 3:11 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

 

 

For some reason antkeeping depot cannot to process my order.


Can you provide more information? Are you receiving a specific error during checkout or did they email you saying there was a problem after you placed the order?
It's a specific error during checkout. I input the exact same information I use on all other online transactions but for some reason it won't work. It brings me to another page that says that my order cannot be processed and with the option of trying again.

 

 

byFormica does not own AntKeepingDepot. They are a reseller.  So I can't see your order to know what might be going on.

 

If you are only ordering byFormica products, you can try ordering from Amazon.com.  It appears that byFormica products are eligible to ship to Canada from Amazon.



#115 Offline drtrmiller - Posted June 20 2019 - 4:42 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

Hey guys. I have possibly made an important discovery.

 

A very small number of people over the past 6 months have written to tell me that certain colonies of their ants showed a preference toward a sugar solution other than Sunburst when offered several options.  After receiving a couple of these reports, I believe I have determined a possible pattern to the behavior.

 

In some captive ant setups, I believe the ants aren't getting enough water.  Even if multiple, redundant water sources are available, the ants may have a difficult time regulating the sugar needs of the colony if offered only Sunburst and plain water.  If ants are seeking water more than they are seeking sugar, then they will naturally gravitate towards more diluted sugar solutions.

 

Because Sunburst is a relatively concentrated sugar source, it may be necessary to dilute it up to 3 parts water to 1 part Sunburst for these "water-seeking" ants.

 

Normally, this is not necessary.  However, if you find that your ants aren't as receptive to Sunburst as you expect, or are displaying a preference towards another sugar source, try filling a liquid feeder with 3 parts water to 1 part Sunburst to see if this resolves the issue.
 

I'm still studying the issue, but I believe this may be a very good solution for ants that are having a difficult time staying hydrated in the warm, summer months.  It is possible that water/sugar requirements may vary based on time of year, having some relationship with the colony development cycle.  More research is needed in this area.


Edited by drtrmiller, June 20 2019 - 5:12 PM.

  • Serafine and Scherme like this


#116 Offline drtrmiller - Posted July 4 2019 - 8:54 PM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

(Photo: Experimental Test Samples)

 

For the past 3 or so months, I have been researching and working on an update to Sunburst Ant Nectar.  After a number of experiments resulting in around 30+ gallons (115+ liters) of discarded product, I have finally arrived at a satisfactory update that is in the final stage of production and is ready to start shipping as planned on Monday, July 8.

 

Change Notes:

  • Increased resistance to crystallization (to aid in unscrewing liquid feeders)
  • General compositional changes to better account for ion concentration
  • Increased number of testing parameters for quality control purposes
  • Switched to annatto color, a natural, plant-based pigment
  • 5% increased life in byFormica liquid feeders
  • Added sugar types, d-glucose and fructose
  • Added calcium (possible nutritive benefit)

Going through the changes, the most profound change is a compositional change to the types of sugar, so that Sunburst is now less likely to crystalize in byFormica liquid feeders.  In the past, sugar crystals were likely to form in the threads of the liquid feeder vial, making it difficult to unscrew if the feeder had been left alone for a long time (weeks).  Now, the Sunburst should stay syrupy instead of crystallizing, in most cases.

 

Adding new types of sugar was the most difficult change to implement, because ants do not prefer these simple sugars, so a very minimal amount is needed, but enough to inhibit crystallization of sucrose.  Further complicating matters, making the sugars through enzymatic hydrolysis of sucrose produced unintended interactions with the water molecules, forcing me to use commercially prepared, refined crystalline forms of the sugars.  And even then, the monosaccharides glucose and fructose are less stable in alkaline solution compared to sucrose—they will more easily group together to form more complex, larger molecular polymers (like caramelins) if the pH is too high.

 

Next up, with the switch to annatto color, Sunburst is now a 100% natural, plant-based formula.  There are no added preservatives or synthetic dyes in Sunburst Ant Nectar.

 

Finally, based on user feedback and our own research, the composition has changed very slightly.  This change essentially reduces the degrees Brix of the solution by about 4%, while maintaining about the same level of electrolytes.  With this change, Sunburst should offer slightly improved compatibility with water-seeking ant behavior, and last about 5% longer in byFormica liquid feeders, as it will take slightly longer to form a concentrated syrup, which the ants do not enjoy.

 

Through small, incremental improvements, I believe this batch is shaping up to be the best yet at making feeding sweets to ants easier, more reliable, and more convenient than ever before!  Look for bottles with an expiration date of 06/30/2021 worldwide and enjoy the benefits of our ongoing research!


Edited by drtrmiller, July 5 2019 - 10:00 AM.

  • Barristan, Serafine, Scherme and 1 other like this


#117 Offline Scherme - Posted July 5 2019 - 8:50 AM

Scherme

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 46 posts
  • LocationWestfield, MA

Nice job switching to natural way to add coloring.

 

I will actually have to give this product a try out when my colonies have some numbers. 

 

I am guessing there are still batches for sale that contain the synthetic dyes? or has current stock been completely switched?


Lasius NeonigerJournal

 


#118 Offline drtrmiller - Posted July 5 2019 - 8:52 AM

drtrmiller

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,562 posts
  • LocationGeorgia, USA

Nice job switching to natural way to add coloring.

 

I will actually have to give this product a try out when my colonies have some numbers. 

 

I am guessing there are still batches for sale that contain the synthetic dyes? or has current stock been completely switched?

 

AntKeepingDepot has a very small amount of stock left, but it's sold out in Europe and backordered in the US until Monday.

 

There's nothing wrong with the old product.  It's just that the updated version is incrementally improved.  Glad that particular change is appealing to you!



#119 Offline FSTP - Posted July 5 2019 - 10:45 AM

FSTP

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 564 posts
  • Location36.7378° N, 119.7871° W

This is a Sunburst Ant Nectar thread.


There are videos of my ants here: https://www.youtube....bN5yYK2KWXA0vQ?





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users