Ants are strong and intelligent creatures than other animals, but their tiny bodies get affected due to abrupt environmental fluctuations, as they are not resistant to extreme changes.
Why Are My Ants Dying in My Ant Farm? Ants can die in an ant farm due to excessive heat, lack of moisture in the formicarium, absence of food, and poor ventilation. Furthermore, it can also happen due to external stresses, addition of new ants in the colony, and old age.
Any undesirable changes in the habitats of ants can make them die, so you have to take care of the ideal temperature, humidity, oxygen level, food, and water.
Extreme changes in temperature
Ants cannot tolerate extreme temperature changes, as their bodies are not resistant to changes and need mild temperatures to perform functions.
An ideal temperature for these tiny creatures is 73 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit, at which they can go out of their nests for foraging, navigation, and mating.
These tiny creatures can freeze to death at extremely low temperatures when it reaches below 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during cold weather.
In the same way, their bodies get deficient in moisture in the hot days of summer, leading to the drying of the exoskeleton and death ultimately.
So, you have to maintain a suitable temperature or warm conditions inside the farm to help them grow and multiply.
It is better to put a heating rod or other device to maintain a constant temperature. In addition, you can put a thermometer to keep a strict check on the conditions of the formicarium for better control.
Lack of moisture
Ants can never imagine their life without water, as their bodies need moisture more than food. Most of their species can survive for almost 4 to 6 days without exposure to water.
It is essential for the survival of adult and young insects or larvae that need moisture to grow and develop.
Moreover, the absence of moisture can lead to the generation of physically disabled or crippled insects, affecting the colony’s functionality.
In addition, dry conditions inside an ant farm make their food and habitat dry. Accordingly, it becomes difficult to consume food when it has lost moisture.
It is essential to keep sand moist by dripping water after one or two days to maintain humidity. You can also add a water-dripping device, sprinkler, or a bowl of clean water to keep them alive.
Oxygen is essential for ants’ survival, as their body cells need oxygen to perform metabolism. Their tiny bodies need less oxygen, as their metabolic processes are slower.
It does not get out of breath for almost 20 to 24 hours, but it becomes challenging to manage cellular functions after one day when there is no oxygen.
These insects will begin to die after 20 hours, depending on their resistance to stress. So you can find them dying on an ant farm when there is less or no oxygen for many hours.
Moreover, you can maintain oxygen levels inside the formicarium by opening the test tubes for a short duration of 20 to 24 hours, which will be sufficient for these tiny insects.
Many people keep air holes locked as these holes can make them escape out of the jar, but you can open them for a while in a day to allow the entry of oxygen.
So, your ants can die due to poor ventilation when you are not allowing air to enter the jars because air or oxygen is essential to keep them alive.
Every ant species has a different lifespan depending on genetics and external factors. Queens usually live longer than workers and keep the continuity of the population in the farm.
However, workers can live only for a few weeks to months, as they have a shorter lifespan. In addition, they spend their lives in challenging routines, making them die earlier.
Ants can die due to old age when their life cycle gets complete. Therefore, a formicarium consisting of workers only will reach an end quickly, as one of them will die each day due to aging.
Furthermore, their bodies cannot perform well due to slower metabolism when cells reach a death phase.
It is a natural process because no external factor is involved in altering the cell’s function. It means you can do nothing to keep them alive, as they have to die sooner or later.
So, adding a queen to the formicarium is better to ensure continuity of life and maintain an ant farm.
Stress of noise and light
External environmental conditions directly affect the growth and survival rate of ants. For example, these insects cannot tolerate loud noise that affects their health due to irritation and loss of comfort.
A high-frequency sound or music creates vibrations on the ground, and their tiny bodies are sensitive to vibrations.
They prefer to move out of the area with loud noise as it gives a sense of threat and makes them uncomfortable.
A smooth and calming sound positively affects their growth, so do not listen to loud music close to the formicarium.
In addition, they prefer to live in both dark and bright light, but long-term exposure to bright light can make them die.
Therefore, you have to avoid continuous exposure of these insects to bright light, mainly blue LED lights, to improve their lifespan.
Addition of new ants
It is not considered ideal for putting new ants in a formicarium if these insects belong to a different species because it can lead to a fight.
They are of territorial nature and cannot tolerate foreign insects’ interference in their nests. In addition, their bodies secrete chemical secretions that can help identify their fellows and foes.
The old nest members will smell the bodies of foreign insects and begin to fight if they do not belong to their colony.
This fight can lead to death because they fight aggressively, intending to kill each other and protect their territory and resources.
Absence of food
Every living creature on the planet needs food to survive as it provides energy for internal and external functions of the body, like digestion and movement.
Ants can die without food because their bodies need the energy to perform the functions of the nest, like reproduction and defense.
Moreover, your ants cannot resist death when deprived of nutrition or food for a long time. Most probably, they will die after 15 to 20 days at maximum due to starvation.
You have to pay attention to humidity and food to keep them alive, as the absence of moisture causes food to dry and makes it difficult to chew and digest.
In addition, these tiny insects cannot go out to forage for food from the formicarium and are dependent on the food provided by an ant keeper, so you have to take care of them.
So, replace the rotten fruit and add a source of fats and carbohydrates, like honey or sugar syrup drops, to ensure their survival.