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08/14/2014 11:16 AM
08/15/2014 7:53 AM
08/15/2014 8:14 AM
08/17/2014 8:47 AM
08/17/2014 10:14 AM
08/17/2014 11:31 AM
Do you think it would make a difference to break the food into a carbohydrate-only version, and an all-in-one like the original you sampled? I think any food where you can control the nutrients your colony is receiving has an advantage over any all-in-one. Also, did you not also just say you observed lack of interest in many of your colonies?
Beginners sometimes have problems feeding honey or sweetened foods to young colonies, and a sugar/agar/vitamins/dye only version would be less susceptible to mold than one containing milk and egg. Not sure how to respond to this statement.
Also, I've been clear in mentioning that it is critical that larger chunks of uneaten food always be removed after no more than 24 hours, especially in warm, most environments. Larger chunks should never be given to a colony that has been shown to bring them in inaccessible parts of their nest which create a situation that will mold. None of the gel was left in the nests for longer than 12 hours nor were any of the chunks proportionally large for the size of the colony being fed. I have been keeping ants for about 20 years. I am more than aware of the dangers of food product left in the nest for any length of time. Additionally, the very nature of the gel and the ants ability to break it into crumbs and carry it away prevents the keeper from removing it from most nests. I have a wide variety of nests ranging from test tubes, homemade formicaria and professionally built ones housing over 30 colonies (ages from months to 2+ years). Most of the nests make cleaning out these crumbs impossible without relocating the colony temporarily. Camponotus were content with leaving the crumbs in their outworlds.
I also want to note that my Pheidole dentata will clear a 1 CC cube in hours, carrying every last bit in their nest. I haven't observed what happens after that, and their larvae don't turn any color, but they have been increasing exponentially in number since I captured the small colony in late May of this year, from 20 to over 500 ants and tons of brood, with no sign of mold. The mold scenarios only seemed to exist in the test tubes. All other formicaria did not display mold.
Anyways, I'll take this into consideration for the second sample. It sounds like you'll be better off preparing the liquid version. I had intended to run tests on the liquid variant as well, but you saw what happened there.
08/17/2014 11:51 AM
08/17/2014 12:00 PM
08/17/2014 12:05 PM
08/17/2014 12:17 PM
08/19/2014 8:04 PM
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08/20/2014 11:33 AM
08/21/2014 11:45 PM
I wanted to give a quick update on the whole "will it mold" question.
48 hours ago, I introduced divided samples of food with four different concentrations of methylparaben, the preservative compound, to two different setups.
In Setup A, I used an inoculating loop to introduce two species of Aspergillus spp. spores to samples of prepared "Formula," each containing a different concentration of methylparaben. The samples were placed in a plastic box on a piece of paper that was wet with tap water, so the samples would remain moist. A lid was placed on the box.
Sample 1: 0.012g (0.04% of 30g sample)
Sample 2: 0.024g (0.08% of 30g sample)
Sample 3: 0.036g (0.12% of 30g sample)
Sample 4: 0.048g (0.16% of 30g sample)
In Setup B, I placed the four samples, also used and described above in Setup A, into a plastic container of bread completely covered with Aspergillus sp. The samples did not contact the bread or mold, but were placed on polypropylene plastic sheets that were laid on top of the moldy bread. The lid was fitted on the container.
Results after 48 hours
Note the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration for methylparaben for fungi is 0.1%, and 0.2% for bacteria.
After 24 hours at an average of 26C, there was no mold in either Setup A or Setup B on any of the samples. There was no visible change to any of the samples.
After 48 hours, fuzzy Aspergillus sp. mold covered Sample 1 (0.04% concentration) in Setup A. Bacteria or enzyme action appears to have begun to break down samples 2 and 3, with a pallid, muculent appearance on the top layer, with sample 4 (0.16% concentration) remaining the most physically unchanged.
In Setup B, however, where the samples had not been seeded with the spores directly, all samples remained physically unchanged, with mold only appearing on the slice of bread.
The samples that were shipped to a few users for testing had a concentration of methylparaben of 0.193%, greater than any of the samples tested, above.
For pictures of testing and ants eating the prepared samples, click here.
08/28 Edit: Added pictures of samples after 200+ hours, for comparison.
08/24/2014 10:31 AM
08/24/2014 11:52 AM
Forum Overlord,and Basic English Cop/Enforcer/Police.
formattednote wrote:I signed up for a free sample, but never got the conformation email.
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