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At last science answers our burning question: why do ants make a big mess at their water feeder?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Offline futurebird - Posted August 27 2021 - 11:00 AM


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We've all seen this before. Why did they muck up the feeder with dirt and sand? Well this study breaks it down. Liquids are dangerous to ants, they are sticky and surface tension can be a powerful force. By stacking sand ants create a natural siphon so they can safely drink liquid and reduce drowning risk. 


Read more here: https://blog.myrmeco...foraging-risks/

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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<

#2 Offline smares - Posted August 27 2021 - 7:58 PM


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Interesting! I'm actually surprised at how many drowned before they started making the sand piles.

#3 Offline rptraut - Posted November 24 2021 - 10:30 PM



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I have lost very small ants from drowning, so now I use a shallow feeder (like a plastic cap with the top half cut off) fill it with cotton and then saturate it with water or sugar/water. The ants can walk on it without getting stuck and still can suck the liquid from the cotton. Also very easy to refill ( top up) with an eye dropper. This has worked very well for Brachymermex, Tetramorium and Temnothorax - especially founding colonies with nanitics that can't figure out a byFormica feeder.
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#4 Offline Zeiss - Posted November 25 2021 - 12:40 AM


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Yes, if your ants are constantly piling stuff on their liquids, it's time to take it out for a little bit or you can move it further away from their nest entrance.  

#5 Offline PaigeX - Posted November 25 2021 - 2:03 AM


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I've found that my Polyrhachis vermiculosa are the only ones that do this so far. I went to pure honey instead of sugar water because of it. They do it less with honey. I need to make/buy better feeding stuff.

Favourite Ant Genus: Polyrhachis 


Here's the list of ants I have so far:
Golden Bull Ant - Myrmecia Chrysogaster - Queen in test tube and small outworld. No eggs yet.
Golden Tailed Spiny Ant - Polyrhachis Ammon - Or might be Polyrhachis Brisbanensis. - Colony.
Also a few Queens in test tubes with small outworlds.
Golden Tailed Spiny Ant - Polyrhachis Vermiculosa - Colony.
Golden Tail Sugar Ant - Camponotus Aeneopilosus - A few queens in test tubes.
Household Sugar Ant - Camponotus Humilior - A few queens in test tubes.
White-Legged Sugar Ant - Camponotus Elegans - Colony.
Brachyponera lutea - Queen in test tube - has eggs, larvae and cocoons.
Black Pavement Ant - Iridomyrmex Bicknelli - Queen in test tube. Has first workers.
Black Ant - Ochetellus glaber - Colony. 
One mini small orange Ant queen of 3mm in size. (0.11 inch) Has some eggs already.
One unidentified Golden Spiny Ant queen in test tube with eggs. Larger in size than Polyrhachis Vermiculosa by 1mm.
One unidentified Golden Spiny Ant colony. Smaller than Polyrhachis Vermiculosa by 1-2 mm.

May God Bless you. 


#6 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted November 25 2021 - 3:04 AM


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You all may benefit from reading this:   https://onlinelibrar....1002/ece3.6968

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#7 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted November 26 2021 - 3:02 AM


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I exclusively use test tubes for offering liquids. They last a very long time, don't spill and noone drowns in there.
Either test tubes or fruits is what I go for

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