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.