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live feeding opinions?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 Offline antgallery - Posted July 16 2021 - 7:38 PM

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Okay, so I've seen a lot of this on YT, with most people saying they don't like to feed live prey because 1. It can hurt your ants and even the nest they are living in and 2. It's cruel for the insect you are feeding to them because it can take a long time for the ant's to kill it (depending on it's size).

And then there are the people that feed live prey. The only reason I have found that they would do this is to see how the ant's react to live prey.

 

I personally don't feed live prey because I find it cruel to the insect that is being killed.

Also, I didn't make this to cause a fight or anything I just want to hear your opinion's on this.


Edited by antgallery, July 18 2021 - 11:54 AM.

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#2 Offline drawpositive - Posted July 16 2021 - 8:51 PM

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I'm a very new ant-keeper (about 1 year in, now) so my opinion isn't worth much. 

 

I opt to always freeze, then boil the insect prey I feed my ants.

The freezing is a relatively painless way to euthanize an insect and the boiling that follows is suitable for killing any mites and/or internal nematode parasites that may be present in the insect.

 

My belief is that ants attempting to kill a live insect is part of the natural order.  However, in a captive setting where that insect is not given a "fair chance" to potentially flee or ward off its attackers, you are taking the "sport" out of the situation and stacking the odds unfairly in the ants' favor.


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#3 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted July 16 2021 - 9:34 PM

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I'm a very new ant-keeper (about 1 year in, now) so my opinion isn't worth much.

I opt to always freeze, then boil the insect prey I feed my ants.
The freezing is a relatively painless way to euthanize an insect and the boiling that follows is suitable for killing any mites and/or internal nematode parasites that may be present in the insect.

My belief is that ants attempting to kill a live insect is part of the natural order. However, in a captive setting where that insect is not given a "fair chance" to potentially flee or ward off its attackers, you are taking the "sport" out of the situation and stacking the odds unfairly in the ants' favor.

I agree a lot with this. Its like with fishermen like myself that use ultralight gear to give the fish a fair chance (if he breaks the hook off it will rust out in less than a month). It's also a lot more fun, in my opinion. It's and art and not everyone gets it right. I'm getting a little off track here, but here's my opinion on the matter:

I don't feed live prey to most of my ants. Its generally not worth it unless you have a genus (Camponotus for example) that has been observed to produce more majors with something to defend against. I don't have a strong opinion on this subject, I just feed prekilled insects (crushed with forceps) for the convenience of not having them jump out everywhere or run all over the place. The ants can also have a hard time killing said insect if it isn't already injured unless you have a fairly large colony.

Edited by TennesseeAnts, July 16 2021 - 9:36 PM.

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#4 Offline TestSubjectOne - Posted July 16 2021 - 11:05 PM

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I generally feed my ants by breaking their prey in half and dropping it in. This opens them up so my smaller ants can easily get at their flesh and kills them with little effort. They do take a while to die when fed this way, but I've found that crushing their head doesn't kill them any faster. Now that I have roaches small enough to feed live to some of my colonies I've been trying them out, but only as a novelty to observe my ants' hunting behavior. I don't feel that there is a need to go through the effort of boiling insects unless you find them outside. I've bought dubia roaches, mealworms, fruitflies and crickets from pet stores and online shops for a year and the only mite I've had came with a Novomessor cockerelli queen from her natural habitat. I've had grain/dust mites establish themselves in my colonies, then vanish and now some of my nests are host to booklice. Neither does anything other than clean and in any case most likely came from my house themselves.


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TestSubjectOne's Experiences in Antkeeping General Journal

 

Currently Keeping:

- Veromessor pergandei (1 queen, 600 workers)

- Novomessor cockerelli (1 queen, 200 workers)

- Myrmecocystus mexicanus (1 queen, 100 workers)

- Brachymyrmex patagonicus (3 queens?, 2,000 workers? & alates)

- Crematogaster sp. (1 queen, 600 workers)

- Liometopum occidentale (1 queen, 800 workers)

- Camponotus absqualator (1 queen, 130 workers)


#5 Offline ReignofRage - Posted July 17 2021 - 12:13 AM

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I'm a very new ant-keeper (about 1 year in, now) so my opinion isn't worth much.

I opt to always freeze, then boil the insect prey I feed my ants.
The freezing is a relatively painless way to euthanize an insect and the boiling that follows is suitable for killing any mites and/or internal nematode parasites that may be present in the insect.

My belief is that ants attempting to kill a live insect is part of the natural order. However, in a captive setting where that insect is not given a "fair chance" to potentially flee or ward off its attackers, you are taking the "sport" out of the situation and stacking the odds unfairly in the ants' favor.

I agree a lot with this. Its like with fishermen like myself that use ultralight gear to give the fish a fair chance (if he breaks the hook off it will rust out in less than a month). It's also a lot more fun, in my opinion. It's and art and not everyone gets it right. I'm getting a little off track here, but here's my opinion on the matter:

I don't feed live prey to most of my ants. Its generally not worth it unless you have a genus (Camponotus for example) that has been observed to produce more majors with something to defend against. I don't have a strong opinion on this subject, I just feed prekilled insects (crushed with forceps) for the convenience of not having them jump out everywhere or run all over the place. The ants can also have a hard time killing said insect if it isn't already injured unless you have a fairly large colony.

 

Hooks don't rust out in a month or less; it can take many many months and most fish end up dying due to complications, this is a very common misconception. Using ultralight gear is usually just to have a longer, more fun fight or to catch line-shy fish.

 

As for the topic of live feeding, I usually crush then chop up insects.


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#6 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 17 2021 - 2:36 AM

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Two days ago, I dropped a live spider into my Pheidole’s outworld. Usually, though, I prekill everything by storing it in the freezer, then flash boiling it to kill mites. I haven’t had any trash mites yet this year, thank God.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#7 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:16 AM

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I'm a very new ant-keeper (about 1 year in, now) so my opinion isn't worth much.
I opt to always freeze, then boil the insect prey I feed my ants.
The freezing is a relatively painless way to euthanize an insect and the boiling that follows is suitable for killing any mites and/or internal nematode parasites that may be present in the insect.
My belief is that ants attempting to kill a live insect is part of the natural order. However, in a captive setting where that insect is not given a "fair chance" to potentially flee or ward off its attackers, you are taking the "sport" out of the situation and stacking the odds unfairly in the ants' favor.

I agree a lot with this. Its like with fishermen like myself that use ultralight gear to give the fish a fair chance (if he breaks the hook off it will rust out in less than a month). It's also a lot more fun, in my opinion. It's and art and not everyone gets it right. I'm getting a little off track here, but here's my opinion on the matter:
I don't feed live prey to most of my ants. Its generally not worth it unless you have a genus (Camponotus for example) that has been observed to produce more majors with something to defend against. I don't have a strong opinion on this subject, I just feed prekilled insects (crushed with forceps) for the convenience of not having them jump out everywhere or run all over the place. The ants can also have a hard time killing said insect if it isn't already injured unless you have a fairly large colony.
Hooks don't rust out in a month or less; it can take many many months and most fish end up dying due to complications, this is a very common misconception. Using ultralight gear is usually just to have a longer, more fun fight or to catch line-shy fish.

As for the topic of live feeding, I usually crush then chop up insects.
My bad, I meant that the hooks I use rust out in less than a month.

Edited by TennesseeAnts, July 17 2021 - 7:20 AM.

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#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:36 AM

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Sorry to be that guy, but the apostrophe in the title is killing me.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#9 Offline ReignofRage - Posted July 17 2021 - 9:44 AM

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Sorry to be that guy, but the apostrophe in the title is killing me.

It's killing more than just you.


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#10 Offline yaboiseth - Posted July 17 2021 - 10:45 AM

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I feed my colonies mainly fruitflies so they are always live, larger insects like roaches or mealworms, I usually always cut up. My only colony I feed live small roaches, crickets or small mealworms is my massive Solenopsis xyloni colony. Haven't noticed any problems yet.


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#11 Offline DaAnt - Posted July 17 2021 - 1:08 PM

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Is that your profile pic?


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#12 Offline antgallery - Posted July 17 2021 - 2:03 PM

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Sorry to be that guy, but the apostrophe in the title is killing me.

Haha yeah sorry I don't know how to fix it.


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#13 Offline NickAnter - Posted July 17 2021 - 2:08 PM

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I generally live feed soft bodied insects with larger colonies, but not with smaller colonies. Most wouldn't think small ants like Nylanderia can kill and take apart a large cricket, but they can. They can also take down flies that are fully capable of flying. Relatively hard bodied insects like mealworms, or june beetles, I feed cut up into pieces.


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Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#14 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 17 2021 - 2:41 PM

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Sorry to be that guy, but the apostrophe in the title is killing me.

Haha yeah sorry I don't know how to fix it.
You can edit titles by editing the first post and choosing Use Full Editor.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#15 Offline futurebird - Posted July 17 2021 - 4:17 PM

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If the colony is big enough and the feeders are small enough that they don't take forever to take it down I don't see the issue. 

 

There is a neat video that compares live vs. frozen and ants seem to use them differently. They will drink the juices more from frozen feeders and do not take it into the nest. The live insects are brought into the nest, presumably to be given directly to larva. So, it seems valid to use a mix of both. 

 

The larvae eat most of the exoskeleton from live feeders with my Pogonomyrmex, the larva are fed with frozen. They get protein either way. So I don't think always doing frozen is bad. Personally I sometimes feel like the Pogonomyrmex just ... need more things to do. They are always milling around looking for something to swarm. I can't give them more seeds for a bit either as they don't have space for more seeds.  


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Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#16 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted July 17 2021 - 4:40 PM

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Live feeding a caterpillar to my ants just killed my camponotus novaeboracensis colony because of toxins it released when dying. Don't do it!

Edited by Ants_Dakota, July 17 2021 - 4:41 PM.

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#17 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 18 2021 - 3:01 AM

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Live feeding a caterpillar to my ants just killed my camponotus novaeboracensis colony because of toxins it released when dying. Don't do it!

Ouch. Never offer anything that is slow moving and brightly colored. Those are tell-tale signs of chemical protection. I’d steer clear of caterpillars unless you’re very familiar with their host plant.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#18 Offline antgallery - Posted July 18 2021 - 11:55 AM

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Sorry to be that guy, but the apostrophe in the title is killing me.

Haha yeah sorry I don't know how to fix it.
You can edit titles by editing the first post and choosing Use Full Editor.

 

Ok thanks, I think I fixed it.


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#19 Offline antgallery - Posted July 18 2021 - 11:58 AM

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Also thank you for your input! I might try some of the things you guys are suggesting.



#20 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted July 19 2021 - 7:54 AM

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I don’t see an issue with feeding ants live fruit flies or springtails (or anything that small)), but I would probably never feed ants a live cricket or something that can easily defend itself (I also just hate crickets so…)
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