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What is good food for ants in my Ant Farm

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 2 months ago

2001.01.21 What is good food for ants in my Ant Farm?


It depends on the species of ants you've chosen since different species like different things. Most ants will eat some kind of sugar mixed with water (e.g., honey, sugar, maple syrup, etc.). It is a good idea to add a little bit of powdered multivitamin or mineral tablets to this mixture. Also, most (not all) ants appreciate pieces of insects etc.


Species of leaf-cutter ants actually consume the fungi they grow on the leaves they bring into the nest. They don't eat the leaves, but they do need fresh leaves to grow the fungi on!


Harvester ants require seeds.


When it comes to feeding, I find the key element is not to add the food to the terrarium but to have a foraging zone for the ants. This will allow you to be able to clean the foraging zone if mold occurs etc.


From page 219 of the Book, "Journey to the Ants" by Hölldobler & Wilson, the following is reported:

"To feed ants in the laboratory, we employ the Bhatkar diet

(named after it's inventor, Awinash Bhatkar), which is prepared

as follows:


1 egg

62 ml honey

1 gm vitamins

1 gm minerals and salts

5 gm agar

500 ml water


Dissolve the agar in 250 ml boiling water. Let it cool. With an

egg beater mix 250 ml water, honey, vitamins, minerals, and the

egg until smooth. Add to this mixture, stirring constantly,

the agar solution. Pour into petri dishes (0.5-1 cm deep) to

set. Store in the refrigerator. The recipe fills four 15-cm

diameter petri dishes, and is jellylike in consistency.


Most insectivorous ant species thrive on this diet when fed it

three times, weekly along with fragments of freshly killed

insects, such as mealworms (Tenebrio), cockroaches (Nauphoeta),

and crickets, offered in small quantities. If the ants are also

predators, they do especially well when allowed access to bottles

containing fruit flies, preferably flightless mutants.

Alternatively, fruit-fly adults can be frozen and sprinkled onto

the foraging arenas for the ants to discover." --Holldobler and






Feeding: A varied diet is very important for the ants. A monotonous diet will result in failure. It is also necessary to feed the ants with very fresh food (every day). For hunting ant species, mealworms, flies, and larvae and pupae of other ant species. Even raw meat may be used as food.


It is recommended to keep one's own insect breedings to feed the ants. You could, for example, put a piece of cheese rind into a container filled with coffee grounds to lure flies. Once they have laid their eggs on the rind, you can put it into a closed insect box out of which flies and larvae for feeding can be taken continuously. Mealworms (Tenebrio) are bred by putting mealworms bought in a pet shop onto a mixture of bran and flour. On top of it, you should put a piece of dry bread. The larvae gather in the moist and crumpled cloth everything is covered with. Pupae should be put into a separate breeding container (lest they are eaten by the larvae) as well as the hatched beetles.


A nourishing diet can be mixed out of egg yolk, yeast, trypsin, pepton, ovomaltine and pollen. Diet mixture for ants:


125 g cane sugar

31 g pure natural honey

42 g soya flour

42 g dry egg-white

42 g baking yeast

10 g pepton

5 g ovomaltine

5 g trypsin

vitamins A + B 1,2,6,12

hen's egg yolk



--Mr Ant

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