This all started because I ran out of red syrup. My lasius neoniger colony loves it and it makes their gasters red which is adorable (and also lets me know they are eating it) so I considered giving them some flat watermelon redbull instead. But then I remembered the caffeine. "doesn't that kill ants?" I thought. But I also remembered how I've seen pavement ants feasting on spilled cola in the hot summer sun. But just because wild ants eat something doesn't mean it's good for them. Maybe those ants all died.
That's how I ended up searching for the effects of caffeine on ants. I quickly found a study with a tantalizing abstract:
"Caffeine increased the ants’ linear speed, decreased their precision of reaction and their food consumption, did not affect their response to pheromones, nor their audacity, largely increased their conditioning ability and their memory"
Physiological and Ethological Effects of Caffeine, Theophylline, Cocaine and Atropine; Study Using the Ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) as A Biological Model.
I'm intrigued that there is a way to test an ant's "audacity"... I wonder which ants are the most audacious?
It seems "audacity" is related to the number of ants hanging out on the water tower... which makes sense to me. It's a more bold thing to do.
OMG they also gave the ants cocaine!
I don't think I'll give my ants the red bull too many other things in it that might not be good and who knows what the long term impact will be... In humans caffeine can decrease fertility. Since it seems to impact ants in a way similar to humans I think it's not worth it.
Still I was not expecting for it to be so similar!
Edited by futurebird, July 18 2021 - 5:15 AM.