Soooooooooooooooooooooooo... I'm back!
I acquired another colony of these ants, I'm really happy as to how they arrived. They arrived in good condition, this time I received around 15 queens for insurance purposes if they colony loses a few queens (like last time).. So after a few years I'm pretty sure that I've got the mite problem solved, which is a relief. I've had mites attack all of my colonies and through trial and error I've figured out almost a foolproof way to beat them back. I posted a comment on AntsCanada's YouTube page concerning mites which I've copy and pasted below:
- Sliced lemons are a great external deterrent to the parasitic mites, but to win this war you'll have to attack them on an internal level as well. You'll have to put concentrated lemon juice into their honey-water, as well as a touch of maple syrup. When the ants feed on this formula, their hemolymph gets an acidic spike to it as well as a immunity boost defense system with the maple syrup. The formula will literally have your parasitic mites dwindle daily as the mites cannot handle the spikes to the hemolymph. The formula is also beneficial for the ants as it gives them an extra kick of vitamins, minerals and acids otherwise unavailable to them. The ants will refuse the formula themselves if it's not a sweet-dominated mixture.
- With raisins, you'll want to cut them in half. The ants will love the sweet taste of the sugars in the raisins. As they feed on the raisins, mites will actually get pulled off from the stickiness of the inside portion of the raisins. I've used this raisins trick for about 3 years and you will literally see mites drowning in the raisins.
3) Clean, but do not purge.
- No matter how much you will clean your outworld, you will see mites. In some form or another, they can and will arrive. I believe in a Buddhist's approach to this problem --- the discovery of predatory mites of your parasitic mites. There is a guaranteed presence of predatory mites in your outworld, and maybe even in your ants' nest. Nature always has a way of balancing the tables, and I notice that with a lot of cleaning, one reduces the chance for predatory mites to take hold. Predatory mites will annhilate the parasitic prey mites. It's kind of like a mini war down there! Make sure to maintain the raisins and lemon solutions, but also give the other mites yet undiscovered a chance to predate the parasitic mites.
4) BOIL Your ant food!
- Literally for everything, you must boil the water before adding the ingredients to your ant food. Foreign mites, funghi and other substances have easy access into the nest if you don't boil beforehand. When the water is boiling, add your honey, maple syrup, sugars, lemon concentrate and food coloring (to record data).
- I put drop feeder roaches and mealworms into a cup of boiling water before I serve them to my ants. It may sound cruel, but it offers them a quick death and also cleans them of any parasites, viral or not. Remove after about 15-30 seconds and everything will be cleaned.
With this info, you should eradicate your mite problem. I've defeated every mite invasion that's ever attacked my ants!
so back to the new colony:
It consists of about 10-12 queens (after the usual post-shipping die-off). A few queens died, loads of workers died but there's still several thousand roaming the tank. I will have photos soon of the colony, they've settled in already (it's been about a week now) and they're eating everything I give to them. The queens, majors and workers at first moved into the plaster nest but then moved out of it and underground. I will be sure to make a change to this later, but for now I just want them to settle. The tank is quite damp as well, so with carefully managing water levels I'm able to keep humidity up high.
Will post in some time with updates.