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Hydroponic peas and pea aphids as enrichment and nutrition? Anyone tried this?

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#1 Offline futurebird - Posted July 10 2022 - 6:45 PM


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Pea plants are pretty easy to grow, and it's possible to grow them without soil (important because we don't want to make some kind of alternate nest site in the outworld and we all know how messy ants can be)

Reptile owners have been growing pea plants and raising pea aphids for their beasts, so why can't we supply live, clean, pea plants to our ants from time to time complete with a batch of aphids for them to enjoy farming?

I love to encourage natural wild behaviors in my ants, ant this would be fun to watch for a few days (the plant might not last long without sun... and designing an outworld with a sunny section could be tricky... perhaps a separate "pea world" attached by a tube that could sit in direct sun on the window sill as the normal outworld and nest stay safe in the shade? Direct sun obviously is not good for formicarium and turns them into ovens. But this extra "pea world" could have pea plants with their rootlet wrapped in wet paper towel, then a layer of plastic sealed with tiny rubber bands. avoid pools of liquid for ant safety. The main attraction are the aphids and the joy playing on real leaves. Replace plants in rotation. The direct sun would make "pea world" not so appealing for nesting and keep few enough ants in the area that it could be detached or blocked off when you don't have the energy to care for the plants... hmmm... at minimum I might just put a plant in the sand of their normal outworld and let them enjoy it for just a few days then replace it. )






This is a video on how this kind of culture works. It sounds like "pea aphids" are for sale online or in your garden!

Has anyone tried anything like this?

Can we collectively brain storm about how to keep a plant's roots damp, leaves and steam available to ants, but not the roots as much and also give the plant some sun? Maybe something where the roots go in little slots on a wall, and put fluon on the wall so it's too annoying to for the girls to bother?


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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 m99 - Posted July 10 2022 - 7:03 PM


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I was having a similar thought while watching videos about how rural families in China use malt as an ingredient by germinating the actual grass in steamer baskets with some cheesecloth, leaving a thick disk of nothing but sprouts at the end (that they mash up to use as malt ingredients in cooking). Also because I've been growing my cat some wheatgrass this summer and it behaves similarly.


I was thinking, when my colonies get big enough for larger outworlds, I might try germinating a small disc of some grass or another and then cut chunks of it to put in outworlds. Substantial enough to be self-supporting, but once they die there's no dirt left behind, just plant matter that should hopefully be easy to remove.


It would be awesome to be able to build up a self-sustaining aphid population in a terrarium though

Edited by m99, July 10 2022 - 7:04 PM.

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#3 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted July 12 2022 - 4:26 PM


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I quite like this idea for a smaller colony that you don't want to create an entire dirt filled setup for. I may try this in the future.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

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