UPDATE 3: Innovative liquid insect extract from byFormica
UPDATE 3: byFormica are getting very close to a commercial release of their liquid insect extract which has been dubbed "Blue".
The following is taken from their company page on formiculture.com;
The main ingredients are whole, live insects — Waxworm moth larvae, mixed soldier fly larvae and pupae, mixed surinam cockroach nymphs and adults, silkworm moth larvae, and subterranean termites make up the largest proportion of ingredients, by far. Additional ingredients are added only to naturally preserve the product, and to make the food easily visible when ingested or stored.
We separate the meat from the bones — A raw, no heat process separates the indigestible skins and exoskeletons from the liquid and meat contained in the insect. At no stage are the insects cooked, heated, dried, or substantially altered. We then recycle the skins and exoskeletons by feeding them back to other insects capable of consuming them, before processing those insects in a later stage. We achieve a precise 70% moisture content for the final product, with the other 30% being pure proteins and lipids. The result is a food that your ants can consume fully, with virtually no waste or garbage.
Enhanced nutrition compared to commercial feeders — Commercially bred insects are notoriously deficient in phytonutrients compared to their wild counterparts. For this reason, we add some carefully selected wild insects to byFormica Blue, and also feed some of our stock an enriched diet that balances and restores the final nutritional profile of our food to that which is similar to wild insects, and beyond that of which commercially raised feeders alone are capable. Use as a supplement, or as a replacement, to highly perishable feeder insects.
Goodness concentrated in each bottle — Due to our novel manufacturing process and bug selection, each 15 ml bottle contains the nutritional equivalent of about 130 insects, with an average weight of over 150 mg per insect before processing.
Precisely control colony growth — Each bottle contains about 500 drops of liquid, which are easily served on provided plastic serving trays, up to 6 drops per tray. The growth of a large colony may be easily adjusted by feeding more or fewer drops, or with greater or lesser frequency. Along with an ad libitumamount of Sunburst Ant Nectar, a single 15 ml bottle of byFormica Blue provides enough food to rear hundreds of larger ants, or thousands of smaller ants.
Served liquid stays fresher, longer — When used as directed, the liquid product stays fresh on the feeding tray for weeks after drying, with minimal loss in quality. A drop of water may be added to dried product, to increase its attractiveness. Compare that to commercial feeders, which may turn black and rot if not eaten quickly.
UPDATE 2: byFormica have completed their preliminary testing for their liquid insect extract and have had a positive response from the ant keepers testing their product.
They have posted a graph that details their results shown below.
It's apparent that 95% of larger colonies, consisting of ants with more than 50 workers and 20 larvae, were feeding the extract to their brood.
Smaller colonies were not as receptive with only 67% accepting the food. byFormica do note however that their data set was somewhat limited and further testing on species from other regions is necessary.
They've published the following recommendations;
Best when used with:
- Larger colonies with 20 or more hungry larvae (receptivity was found to increase with the number of larvae)
- Healthy, normal, active colonies
- Colonies fully producing, not about to enter or exit diapause (30 days from/to hibernation)
Not recommended for:
- Small colonies with fewer than 20 larvae
- Weakened, neglected, or unhealthy colonies
- Colonies about to enter or exit diapause (30 days from/to hibernation)
- Fully liquid product must never be dispensed in poorly ventilated areas such as test tubes or containers with fitted lids
- New or inexperienced antkeepers
We are very excited by the findings shown above and can't wait to try it with some of our colonies, in particular out Myrmecia queens. We'll be sure to keep you updated with all the latest information but in the mean time be sure to head over to Formiculture.com where you can read all about their findings.
UPDATE: It looks like the formula will now be blue. We love the colour and the visual confirmation that the larvae are fed. Check it out below;
They're at it again.
byFormica are working on an innovative insect extract. Essentially it consists of whole insects that have been made into a liquid form that has the consistency of mustard or ketchup.
Terry, the owner of byFormica has detailed the product over on Formiculture.com. Head over here to check it out.
They have also posted a video showing some of their own ants enjoying the product. You can watch it above.