Oh boy! AC Family, today’s episode is a special one! Ants happen to be one of the worlds top predators
and scavengers in the ecosystems they are part of, and in our Ant Room we have watched
ants devour and dismantle a lizard, a turtle, bird-eater tarantula, roaches, mice, and even
my arm! But today, we have a closer look at why ants
are so meat-hungry, and follow the journey of a fateful cricket that will be fed to our
aggressive and ruthless weaver ant colony, we here on the channel call the Emerald Empire. You will not be able to look away from this
feeding video, and will surely find yourself thankful that you are not an insect and that
ants are not human-sized! Also, a special treat this week, as we welcome
to the channel a special guest to help me talk about ant diet and insect prey, so keep
on watching until the end. Gather round, nature-lovers as we enter the
Canopy of Vortexia, the jungle kingdom of the Emerald Empire, who awaits anxiously to
be fed their cricket meat, here on the AntsCanada Ant Channel. Please SUBSCRIBE to the channel, and hit the
BELL icon, welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! A female field cricket awaits eagerly in the
darkened stillness of her keep for me to make a return bearing gifts from the heavens. Male field crickets also pace about, with
their ornately venated wings which they usually use to create their famous chirping sounds
for attracting females for mating, but tonight, romance isn’t so much on their minds. They’re also waiting for me to deliver their
sacred gifts. You’ll see in a sec what exactly I have for
them! These black field crickets are known scientifically
as Gryllus bimaculatus, and are each sacred creatures in our Ant Room. I see them as holy vessels of life, set to
be distributed to all the kingdoms of our Antiverse. Now, the technical name for a group of crickets
is an orchestra, fittingly, and this orchestra is finally about to receive my long-awaited
gifts now. Behold, a piece of apple, broccoli, and carrot. They’ve waited for these delectable nuggets
all day, so let’s give them to the orchestra shall we? Placing in the apple… and the broccoli…
and the carrot. As soon as the crickets’ long antennae touch
the morsels, they instantly begin to feast. Look at them go! Crickets happen to be eating machines, and
believe it or not, these tasty morsels will be done in just a few hours. Feast, my beloved vessels of life, for you
shall soon fulfill your destiny bringing life to all corners of the Antiverse. The apple slice, broccoli piece, and carrot
coin each contain a variety of valuable nutrients, which will be filling the crickets’ guts. In fact, what I’m doing here is called ‘gut-loading’. In a weird sadistic way, I love watching my
crickets chowing down on the food items I give them, because I know, all the food they
eat now, will end up in the bellies of the creatures that will be eating them soon. In case, you haven’t figured out by now, these
crickets will be sacrificed as prey items for my various pet ant colonies and beasts,
and, as a rule, your pets are what their food eats, so before feeding the crickets, I make
sure they are fattened and jam-packed with nutritious goodness. Aside from being super easy to keep and breed,
one of the reasons crickets make super ideal food items for insectivorous pets, is because
they eat so voraciously and accept a variety of food items. Look at these crickets just pigging out! In just a few moments, one of these sacred
vessels of life will be chosen to provide nourishment to one of our most beloved ant
kingdoms of the Antiverse, the Emerald Empire. The canopy of Vortexia, home to my pet Weaver
Ant Colony, called the Emerald Empire. AC Family, they’re hungry for some flesh tonight,
and they wait every three days for this meat-feeding. Tonight, they’re going to feast on a fattened
cricket for the very first time. I’m actually also eager to watch how they’ll
deal with a new prey item they’ve never before had. They usually eat mealworms, but something
tells me, they’ll love the taste of dark cricket meat! The Emerald Empire here are a special species
of ant that specialize in living in trees and shrubs. They construct grand basket nests using plant
leaves that are glued together via silk produced by their larvae. Last week, we saw them constructing these
two new leaf nests, and because the larvae had to produce so much silk in order to make
these leaf nests, the larvae and the colony as a whole, are actually starving for some
protein! And so AC Family, let’s give them their fattened
calf now! This here is the feeding pad onto which I
always place their food. As standard practice, I pre-crush prey insects
before feeding them to the ants, which is what I did to this cricket. The ants wait eager below for me to lower
tonight’s interesting meal. Let’s do this, AC Family! 1 – 2 – 3! As soon as the cricket hits the floor the
ants quickly mobilize, and what I love about weaver ants is their seizing technique. Weaver ants seize their prey by grabbing them
by their appendages and stretching them out so they cannot get away. It isn’t long before the ants release the
“We Got Food, Sisters!” pheromone, which draws more ants to the scene to help out. Typically, if this cricket were alive, there
would be more of a fight, and the ants would be spraying formic acid to help kill the cricket,
but I personally don’t believe in live feeding if it isn’t necessary, and the ants don’t
benefit in any way from having to go into battle with their prey. In many cases, some ants can get hurt, and
there have been many cases in the past where the prey actually gets away and starts to
proliferate in the tank which can be annoying. So as soon as the ants feel the cricket is
absolutely dead and will not put up a fight, they then begin to coordinate an orchestrated,
cooperative transport of the carcass home to one of their leaf nests. Now this, AC Family, is where the amazing
process begins! Now you must remember that to these weaver
ants, this huge cricket would be like us having to transport a horse. And on top of that, imagine having to do that
way up high in a tree the size of a sky scraper! Not an easy task, but something these ants
specialize in! They pull and they tug, hauling the cricket
over the edge of the platform. This process of carrying the prey home is
super vital for the colony because at any time, a bird or other animal could come along
and steal this cricket from them, so there are always ants that drone around acting as
security, ready to bite any foreign creature coming close. The Emerald Empire feels most comfortable
hunting at night in the cover of darkness, when many of their predators, competitors,
and enemies are asleep, but there is still a danger of nocturnal thieves lurking about,
so they don’t take this food transport operation lightly. They need to bring home the cricket bacon
ASAP! Now AC Family, while we watch the Emerald
Empire maneuvering this cricket carcass home, as mentioned earlier in the video, we are
lucky to have a special guest to share some interesting info on ant diets and feeding. AC Family, I’m pleased to welcome to the channel,
my good friend Danielle from the Youtube channel, Animalogic! Danielle, take it away! Hi Mikey, Weaver ants are one of my favourite
ants not only because of their amazing colonies, but also because of the way they use them
to feed themselves. These guys are famously territorial and will
attack and eat anything that gets in their personal space. They’re known to take down animals as large
as small birds and rodents. So, this cricket didn’t stand a chance. But the cool thing is that even though they
kill relatively large animals to get protein and minerals, their favourite foods are vegetarian. In the wild, a large portion of their calories
come from natural sugars like nectar and tree sap. In an amazing feat for an ant colony, they
have also developed a form of agriculture. They take in scale insects such as mealybugs
and bring them into their colonies, protecting them from predators. Then they “milk” these tiny insects for
a sugary secretion called honeydew, which is incredibly delicious and nutritious to
ants. But don’t worry, this is not the same kind
of honeydew that ice cream is made of, though now that I think about it, it would probably
be delicious. Thanks for welcoming me into the Ants Canada
family! When you’re done watching Mikey’s video,
head on over to my channel, Animalogic, and watch our episode, which is a deep dive into
weaver ant biology. Please like, subscribe and hit that bell! Thank you so much, Danielle! That was awesome! In just a few minutes, the cricket is so close
to the leaf nest now. Can you believe their strength and coordination? I could sit and watch these ants do this for
hours! The ants choose one of the various openings
into their nest, and carefully move the cricket in. Once inside, the weaver ants will park the
carcass in an ideal chamber within the nest and begin to feed on the soft innards of the
cricket. With it, the ants will be consuming the special
gifts we gave the crickets at the start of this video, which fills the crickets’ guts. All of this valuable nourishment and protein
will go towards nourishing the growing larvae, which will produce more silk for future nest
building and grow to become adult weaver ants. And this, AC Family, is how life continues
on as it passes from one creature to the next. When I first started feeding insects to pets,
as a kid, sure it was sad and disturbing at first, but I remember being more fascinated
with the entire process of predation. It was amazing to me how death gives way to
new life, how one living cricket can bring nourishment and life to thousands of living
individuals consuming it. Being able to witness and observe predation
has always been one of the most interesting aspects of keeping ants, and AC Family, I’m
grateful to have watched the process today with you. You know, it also makes me more conscious
about the meats and even plants, I eat day in and day out. Have you ever wondered what your food eats? What your chicken, your pork, your beef or
fish feed on? Ever wonder what your veggies and fruits grow
in, what regions of the world they come from? In this age of growing awareness in the realm
of food, I’m often reminded of these relevant questions. To the point in fact, that I’ve gone so far
as purchasing my own farm, on which I intend to grow my own vegetables, fruits, and raise
my own meats and fish. If you’re interested, do check out my vlog
on my daily vlogging channel for my plans on that, by clicking on this icard here. As I said earlier, we are what we eat, and
I figure, if we could at least know where our food comes from and intrinsically manage
the journey of our food from its origin to our bellies, perhaps it can mean a healthier
existence, and even a holistic one, where we consciously understand our place in the
global food web, and like the Emerald Empire become masters of our piece of the biological
orchestra. AC Family, did you enjoy today’s episode? Special thanks to Danielle from Animalogic
for guesting in today’s video and sharing some valuable ant knowledge. Be sure to check out the Animalogic channel
here on youtube, as it’s one of my favourites. They’ve got a lot of great and informational
videos, on so many animals. Providing amazing facts that will blow your
mind. Their episode this week is also an interesting
deep dive into the biology of weaver ants, and I share a few tidbits of info there, too
so go check it out after this video! If you enjoyed this week’s enlightening ant
episode, it’s not over! We upload a mind-blowing ant and/or animal
video every single week, so smash that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON for notifications now,
to join our growing AC Family, so you don’t miss out on next week’s episode. And don’t forget to hit the LIKE button every
single time, including now! It would really help a lot! If you’re new to the channel, and want to
catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, feel free to binge watch this complete story line
playlist here, which traces the origins of all the ant colonies of the ant room, so you
can follow their stories and better appreciate how these ant kingdoms came to be, and why
we love them so much! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you’d like to see extended play footage of the weaver ants carrying the
cricket into their leaf nest. Do go and check out that hidden video! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: What evidence did we see in today’s video
that proves there indeed is a living queen in the Emerald Empire? Congratulations to Karen Wilkins who correctly
answered: There are larvae and eggs in the colony, and
without the queen, there wouldn’t be any larvae or
eggs. Congratulations, Karen, you just won a free
e-book handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What is gut-loading? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

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Dennis Veasley

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