HELP! My Ants Are Being Eaten Alive By Mites! | A New Year’s Special

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Happy new year 2017, AC Family! Sadly, we're off to a rough start with the Golden Empire (Yellow Crazy Ants) who are being eaten alive by mites. I don't know what to do! This is a severe mite crisis and in this video we explore what steps we took to deal with an ant mite infestation. Do you have any suggestions on treatment? Visit us at
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Photos of ant mites courtesy of Andrew Smith
List of Ant Equipment Used in this video:
"The Dark Knights" Paratrechina longicornis 3 queen polygynous colony:
•AC Pogonomyrmex Hybrid Nest Gear Pack
•AC Tetramorium Hybrid Nest
•AC Field & Forest Biome Kit
"The Golden Empire" Anoplolepis gracilipes 3 queen polygynous colony:
•AC Camponotus Hybrid Nest Gear Pack
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Tags:  antfarm  ants  antscanada  antstore  antworks  exotic  formicarium  insects  mites  myrmecology  pets  science  help!  my  ants  are  being  eaten  alive  by  mites!  |  a  new  year's  special 

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Category: Pets
Caption: Hey wait a second here. guys do you see something funny . those workers look kinda strange. see those bumps on their body . what is that . i hope that isn't what i think it is. oh my god, guys. i can't believe what i'm seeing!. mites!. how did the golden empire contract mites !. please subscribe to my channel, and hit the. bell icon. welcome to the ac family. this is a story of the golden empire. in ant keeping, as the caregiver of your pet. ant colony, you can try your best to control. every aspect of your colony's life. you control their living space or what they. live in, the temperature and humidity conditions. in which they live, you control their diet,. you can even keep their world as aesthetically. beautiful and pristine as you possibly can. but sometimes, there may be things that might. be out of your control, things that quite. literally slip through the cracks. like when something alien from the outside,. enters into your colony's universe and infiltrates. the ant matrix. when this happens, everything you and the. ants have built together becomes exposed and. vulnerable to these unexpected visitors. in many cases the unexpected vistors could. be friendly or indifferent, but in other cases,. they can be malevolent and unwelcome agents. like infectious diseases, viruses, fungi,. or parasites. i first came to notice these unexpected vistors. as i watched my yellow crazy ant colony, which. you guys named the golden empire, seem to. rather be undewhelmed by their cockroach and. jam meals that i gave to them as christmas. gifts. something was off. i didn't know if they just weren't feeling. my gift offerings, or if there was something. wrong, so i took a closer look at the colony. looking into the nest, the colony seemed normal. there were lots of workers and indeed the. brood appeared healthy. the golden empire's 3 queens were still in. tact and alive. but then i looked into their water test tubes,. and that's when i saw our unwelcome aliens. mites, and a lot of them. see them on the ants' bodies . for ant keepers, spotting mites is similar. to discovering a strange mark or growth on. your body. it's alarming and you know it shouldn't be. there, and you try to assess what it means. some mites can be good and beneficial, like. those that simply eat the ants' garbage. i see them in the dark knights' nests congregating. in their garbage rooms where they feed on. the colony's refuse. in this case, it is a mutualistic symbiosis,. but then as mentioned there are times when. the relationship isn't so co-operative. it is well-known in ant keeping, that parasitic. mites can wipe out an entire ant colony very. fast. remember this newly acquired camponotus colony. from several videos back . we spotted some parasitic mites on them. well, here's an update: they were all completely. dead the following week. the queen never laid eggs, and the workers. died one by one, as the mites feasted on their. blood through soft tissues in their leg joints,. necks, and gasters. judging from the ants in these water test. tubes, the mite infestation was severe. every single member of the golden empire had. dozens of mites of different sizes stuck to. their bodies. the mites also lived in their tubes, inside. the nest, likely their outworld, and i could. even see them being able to squeeze out of. the formicarium and wander the outside of. the golden empire's setup. so gross!. obviously, from a scientific standopoint,. they didn't come out of nowhere. the mites must have entered this colony from. somewhere. let's look at the possibilities. first, they could have come in through a trojan. horse of some sort. my guess was a mite or mites may have latched. on to the body of one of the golden empire's. prey insects, placed into the outworld at. some point, thereby giving the mite access. to the colony and the nest. second, they could have come in through the. ants themselves. i was looking through some older footage of. the golden empire when they first moved into. their setup and i did notice something strange. on the gaster of one of the queens. see that strange bump . at the time, i considered that maybe that. was a mite, but brushed it off as possibly. debris because in some shots the thing disappeared. iso if if it was a mite, it could have went. on to become the ancestor to all of these. mites that now affect the entire colony. third, the mite could simply have been a lone. wanderer having made its way into the golden. empire's setup from the outside somehow. however the mites got in, they needed to be. dealt with immediately. i spoke to my good ant keeper friend drew,. remember our gan farmer from california . well, he sent me photos of his ants from the. past that had mites. he informed me that his experience with parasitic. mites was like most ant keepers', and that. was that once he spotted one of his colonies. had parasitic mites it only took a few days. for the ant colony to die out. indeed, not what i wanted to hear at all. however, he also showed me a peculiar photo. he took under a microscope of an ant that. had some other mites that were not harming. or feeding off the ant nor causing any colony. harm. they were described as "phoretic" mites, meaning. the mites would hitch rides on the ants to. and from their food sources, but weren't actually. parasitic nor feeding from the ants' blood. hmmm. this made me think. could it be that these mites were phoretic. and beneficial mites to the golden empire. eating the ants' garbage and using the ants. for nothing more than transporting mounts . if that was the case, that would be pretty. darn cool!. afterall, it didn't seem the colony was dwindling. in numbers yet. if not and these were indeed deadly, parasitic. mites feeding from the golden empire's blood. or hemolymph (the technical term for insect. blood) then the golden empire, if consistent. with ant keeper testimonies, had just a few. days to live. i just had to wait a few days to see if they. would dwindle in numbers and die out. meanwhile, i couldn't just do nothing. i had to do everything i could to help the. golden empire. i had to do more research. it seems there isn't a whole lot of info about. parasitic ant mites, at least not readily. available through online articles. so, i tapped into the best info pool source. i knew, you guys, the ac family. i asked you on our facebook, twitter, and. instagram if any of you had experience with. getting rid of ant mites. by the way, guys, if you haven't yet, please. take the time to follow us and like us on. these three platforms so we can stay connected. i've put links in the description box. now, the response was amazing!. you guys gave some super helpful suggestions. thank you so much!. so, a lot of you guys suggested that adding. citrus fruits like lemon to their setup could. eradicate the mites. this to me seemed like a simple option, and. though i didn't understand the science of. it, i couldn't afford to wait, so i bought. some lemons and got straight to work. here was my plan. in the middle of this tube, i was going to. attach this ac test tube portal v2, and inside. it place a slice of lemon. i was also going to attach this test tube. setup full of lemon juice. i didn't know if it was the juice or the slice. of lemon that would cause the mites to be. deterred so i wanted to expose the ants to. both. here we go guys. let's deal with those pestering mites shall. we . ac family, the golden empire needs us. cutting the tube and attaching our ac test. tube portal here and yuck, just the thought. of the mites infesting this tube spilling. out onto my fingers makes me shiver in disgust. i made sure to use disinfecting wipes to clean. up all debris and escaped mites. i alsop proceeded to place a slice of lemon. in the outworld of the golden empire. ac family, let's watch what happens. the very first ant has discovered the lemon. and she's called her sisters over. word spreads fast that something strange is. just outside the nest. ants coming from the outworld also approached. the lemon, but strangely it seems the ants. don't want to come in contact with it at all. may god help the golden empire. the next day, it seemed as though the ants. got over their lemon-phobia. ants were inspecting the ac test tube portal. and crawling over the lemon slice. still no interest in the lemon juice test. tube setup, though, but it seems the ants. piled some garbage and dead bodies in that. tube overnight. hmmm. looking into the outworld, the same was true. it looked like ants were actually congregating. around our slice of lemon. i don't know if the ants enjoyed the added. moisture of the lemon slice or if there was. indeed something in the lemon that was relieving. the ants perhaps of the discomfort caused. by the mites. i could only speculate at this point. looking at the tubes now, i could still see. mites, but i did catch ants grooming themselves. and each other. this to me was a very promising sign. perhaps the lemon was somehow making it easier. for the ants to rid their bodies of the mites,. or causing the ants to want to groom more . again just speculation. the other tube connecting the nest and outworld. was our control study. i purposely did not attach any lemon to this. tube in order to help determine if the lemon. had any real effect on our mite problem, and. indeed, this control tube was still riddled. with mites. i planned on continuing to have this tube. be our control by keeping it un-lemoned. based on all this, i figured perhaps it was. too early to tell if the lemons were actually. working at getting rid of our mites. meanwhile, i had to do more. so, i made sure to change the hydration medium. in the colony's hybrid nest, and made sure. they continued to have fresh hydration medium. over the next few weeks. and i also decided to change their water test. tubes much more frequently. i also resolved to only let food lay around. in the outworld for 1 or 2 days max. everything need

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