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Product Question: Will Small Colonies Eat Sunburst Ant Nectar & How Long Does The Product Stay Fresh?


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#1 Offline Martialis - Posted July 24 2017 - 6:39 PM

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Recently, I purchased some Sunburst nectar along with eight feeders.  I use this (somewhat unsuccessfully) to feed my colonies, all of which consist of less than 100 workers. None of my colonies (with the exception of some Tapinoma chilling around my room and some wild Tetramorium I've fed) have eaten the nectar. I am using the smallest feeder size. I have two questions regarding this product.

 

1. How common is it for small colonies to refuse this food? 

 

2. How long is it okay for it to sit in the feeder for my ants to eat it?


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#2 Offline drtrmiller - Posted July 24 2017 - 7:16 PM

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None of my colonies (with the exception of some Tapinoma chilling around my room and some wild Tetramorium I've fed) have eaten the nectar.

 

Your observation of wild colonies vigorously consuming the liquid is solid confirmation that the product itself is likely not defective, but rather the issue lies with your specific ants, the environmental conditions under which they are held captive (too cold), or other foods to which they have access.  Examine these variables and you may resolve this and other issues with your colonies.

 

Healthy colonies of any size, including lone queens, will readily consume Sunburst Ant Nectar. It is rare for users to experience problems with receptivity when the product is used as intended.
 
Possible reasons for refusal include, but are not limited to:

  • Species-specific preferences against sugary foods (such as leafcutter ants, some harvester ants, or other specialized ants);
  • colony has recently eaten or been offered another sugary food such as fruit, honey, syrups, or homemade sugar water;
  • dehydration or other environmental stresses such as suboptimal foraging temperature;
  • Sunburst has been exposed to air for too long outside the bottle and the sugar/water ratio has changed;
  • or contamination of the liquid in the bottle.

When used with byFormica liquid feeders, Sunburst will remain viable for several hours at maximum receptivity.  Receptivity will slowly decrease over time, as ants consume the product and/or water evaporates from the liquid, thereby making the ratio of sugar to water suboptimal.  If left exposed to air, Sunburst will still be safe to eat (it will not spoil), but it will be less attractive than when fresh from the bottle.

 

For colonies in test tubes without a foraging area, the smallest smudge or droplet in the test tube should be sufficient every 3 to 5 days.  For small colonies with foraging areas, I sometimes fill a single 1 ml byFormica liquid feeder with Sunburst and rotate it between multiple colonies so that no liquid is wasted and ants have intermittent access to the liquid.  Intermittent access is better than constant access if you wish to observe feeding activity, as most ant species will readily recruit the entire workforce to the feeder when they have not had access for 48 to 72 hours.  A small colony will rarely be observed feeding if they have constant access to the liquid.  That said, I do occasionally leave liquid feeders filled with Sunburst for days or weeks at a time, and the ants continue to be attracted to the fluid, although Sunburst fresh from the bottle will always be most attractive.


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#3 Offline Martialis - Posted July 24 2017 - 7:57 PM

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Thank you for the response. My ants are Tetramorium and Camponotus chromaiodes. I was thinking it fit in with my ants, but didn't consider heat. My room is kept at around 75 degrees, although my Camponotus are the only ones using a heating pad, since it is a rather small one.  My Tetramorium, on the other hand, are voracious carnivores. I will attempt the circulation that you have suggested instead of just leaving it for them 24-7.  Both of the colonies are less than fifty workers strong, with one having a mere six worker task force. 

 

Thanks again for you support.


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#4 Offline Serafine - Posted July 25 2017 - 12:25 AM

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Did you try shaking the bottle? Some of the stuff (probably the sugar) falls to the ground when the bottle is standing around for several weeks.
I have two feeders, one small I fill up every ~4 days and one larger (4ml) that hasn't been refilled since a month ago and the ants drink from both. Some seems to prefer the fresh liquid and some seem to prefer the older thickened liquid.
Also if you feed your ants lots of other sugars they may just be full and not need it (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, this stuff can be left in feeders for weeks).
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#5 Offline sgheaton - Posted July 25 2017 - 6:24 AM

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Bought some a year ago. Gave it to my Tetramoriums. They weren't too interested at that point. Would go to the container, hang out, that was about it. 

 

I was a little concerned. Hibernated. Out of hibernation, tried again and they kinda just... hung out. I'm comparing how they'd react to a cricket. They'd swarm that thing, go crazy, for the liquid.....ehhh. Tried another batch thinking something was up, more or less the same response.

 

It wasn't until the colony got fairly decent in size.. (<100 is still fairly decent to me guys!) that I've noticed more action on them. They tend to all huddle around a fresh container within a matter of minutes when I add it. That being said, I do leave them in longer than I should... they don't really second glance it after a few days. 


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#6 Offline Goldsystem - Posted July 25 2017 - 7:45 AM

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I have huge success with all my colonies when I feed them sunburst, the only ants that don't get much of a reaction are my pheidole. I know they are drinking it though because they all get full gasters, I'm assuming they just get some nectar a few at a time instead of a whole group swarming it. My tetramorium didn't consume much sugar until their second year started, so maybe that's what's going on with them. All of the small colonies I've observed and kept tend to be a bit finicky but once you find out what they like it gets easier :)
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