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Mold outbreak killed my Camponotus in less than 24 hours

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#21 Offline Leo - Posted August 24 2019 - 12:34 AM


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Many times people jump to conclusions about mold killing their ants. The ants do a really good job at keeping mold under control, and when they die, many times they are covered in mold the next day, leading people to believe that the mold killed their ants. I'm sure it happens, but probably less often than people think. I think if it does kill the ants, it's probably the CO2 the mold produces.


Aspergillus flavus, a pathogenic species characterized by a yellow, hairy growth on organic material, such as dead insects in the ant nest, does actually produce a number of potent mycotoxins that may be deadly to ants in the proximity of the mold outbreak.


Here is a small outbreak currently ongoing with one of my colonies.  I'm keeping an eye on things to see if the ants can manage it, or if it needs my intervention.  For now, I'm just discontinuing watering and limiting feeding so there's not an excess or moisture or uneaten food in the nest, both things that the mold needs to grow further.



I hate that stuff. Always on dead things.

#22 Offline AntLad - Posted August 24 2019 - 7:47 AM



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I have had nearly the same experience. My Crematogaster thrived in a test tubes + outworld setup, up to around 50-60 workers at their peak, but then, in the span of 24-48 hours a rapid decline in population occurred. It was within the first 6 hours when I noticed this that I took swift action to switch setups. Moved them from their current setup into another, and then another. but it didn't stop the mass-death.

The one step I made which I think was critical was I, and this may sound funny, quite literally "quarantined" the workers taking the dead out of the nest, the workers closest to the "infected." Most workers died from the unknown disease, the quarantined, also died. The Queen now has 6 workers and the disease is long gone. 

#23 Offline Aliallaie - Posted August 24 2019 - 4:00 PM


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In most cases mold is harmless, especially the black one you often see build up at the cotton in test tubes.

Dangerous is the mold with very fine threads you almost can't see. I lost a colony of Solenopsis fugax to this type of mold. It grew very quickly, basically over night almost all ants were dead:


The black mold while looking a lot more concerning on the right wasn't the problem and had been present for several days, but the one on the left started spreading very quickly. I picked up some of it and it almost looks like a cotton ball:


Since a lot of the stuff dropped out before I took the first picture it might look more harmless than it was...

Of course I don't know what exactly killed the ants (co2 or other gases, or some kind of poison the mold produced) but if I see mold with fine threads again in a test tube or nest I will move the colony out immediately.

Yeah that black mold was what my colony got and it killed them. Right after I refrigerated them for 30 minutes. But as I mentioned there was no ventilation. I think every formacerium should have ventilation. They’re fine now it’s been almost a week

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