You'll never believe what actually goes on in the soil.
We humans, as giants, completely miss all the events, the plot twists, the drama, the
miracles, the battles, triumphs, and defeats that occur every day, deep within the the
very earth, that sustains us and is teaming with life.
Take this micro-village of springtails for instance, which you guys have named the Spring
Cleaners, the cleanup crew of the microworld, busy eating up all the organic bits left behind
by other lifeforms of the land, or this baby millipede which eats up decaying vegetable
matter, but don't get too close; he uses cyanide as a weapon, and that baby earthworm, feeding
on vegetation above ground, a solo detritivorous mite perhaps searching a mate.
For a moment, try to forget your big size and throw all scale out the window, and imagine
this terrestrial world, as a giant forest.
It's called the Hacienda Del Dorado, home to countless communities of creatures and
Those gnats you see there, they're the vultures of the land perusing the tree tops.
But AC Family, something terrible has happened to the original rulers of this gorgeous territory.
You're about to see what in a moment.
I was admiring this lush kingdom one day, when my eyes caught focus of this.
An ant, of the supercolony, we know on this channel, as the Golden Empire.
She's alone, and oddly she carries a message for us.
It appears she's struggling to grapple with something that is locked onto one of her legs,
something red, and clearly causing her much discomfort.
She tries desperately to remove it from her appendage, to no avail.
Guys, turns out, this ant, is one of a few remaining survivors of what I discovered was
a mass holocaust.
It's every ant keeper's nightmare.
This week to my utter horror, I learned that out of nowhere, an apocalypse has come for
our cherished Golden Empire, and worse, there was nothing I could do to stop it.
But, it may surprise you, that there was one unlikely hero in this entire story, who possibly
AC Family, you will not believe how a humble rhino beetle rose to the occasion this week,
to become the possible saviour of an entire Ant Empire, during this ant apocalypse.
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Welcome to the AC Family!
AC Family, I was legit crying this week, when I saw this.
Imagine an ant colony who you watched grow over the years, an OG supercolony on this
channel, within our world of Ant Kingdoms in the Antiverse, suddenly amidst a mass extinction
If you've been following this channel for awhile, you have followed the epicness that
the Golden Empire, our multi-queen supercolony of yellow crazy ants, has experienced.
From surviving a mite plague, to outsmarting carnivorous pitcher plants, to keeping an
array of pet beast, to even being elected as the lucky colony to inhabit a Youtube Gold
Play Button, these ants were definitely a triumphant empire and favourite in the Antiverse.
But I'm afraid to announce, that the Golden Empire is officially seeing their end of days.
I'll explain everything, but we need to start from the beginning.
A member of the Golden Empire is wandering the premise, assumingly in search of some
She waves her antennae around smelling her surroundings and the air for the scent of
any new roaches that may have dropped from the skies.
There are in fact, several roach carcasses around her, but for some reason, they're unfit
for her tastes.
I watched as she inspected each roach piece and moved on.
In fact, I've been placing roaches into the lands as I always have for years, but I noticed
more and more, the ants weren't eating them.
Of course, the Spring Cleaners were loving this abundance of food, and so were the earthworms
which were coming up to the surface to have a nibble!
It was great that the creatures of the soil were benefiting from all this extra food,
but while this abundance in food was great news for the soil creatures, it pointed out
to me that something was indeed very wrong in this biological food chain.
Little did I know something from the soils were killing the most important creatures
of this entire biological kingdom, and it was killing them, one ant at a time.
When I began to notice the ants weren't eating as much, and less and less ants were seen
foraging above ground, I started to get very suspicious that something was up.
Now, if you saw our last video on this ant colony, you'll know they disappeared on us
once before, but after watering their lands, we discovered that they were all just esthivating
underground keeping moist during a dry spell.
But this seemed different now.
The soils were moist, and usually the lands would be covered in foraging ants at this
hour in the night.
I only could see one ant now up in the leaves.
I decided to prod around and try to agitate the vegetation and create vibrations in hopes
to set the Gold Empire into defense protocol, so they would come pouring out of their nest
entrances to fight me with their formic acid sprays.
I finally decided to dig into the soil a little, and finally got a small squadron of ants to
come out, but AC Family, check out how few of them there were that emerged.
Something very strange was happening, and I did not expect, what I was about to soon
The next morning, I placed food into the territories as I usually do, but as has been the case
these past few weeks, no ants came to feed.
Only soil creatures.
I tried watering the lands again, to try to get the Golden Empire to surface like they
did before, but again, only the soil creatures came to surface rejoicing in the moisture.
OK, it was time to pull out the checklist of possibilities as to what in "Thanos: Infinity
War" was going on here.
AC Family, are you ready for this?
I had to see if the ants had possibly escaped?
Now as you may or may not know, the Hacienda Del Droado, like many of my ant farms, is
an open top terrarium, which means it lacks a cover.
Ant keepers do this to ensure the ant territories get proper ventilation, to decrease mold-growth,
and access the ant farm easily.
A baby powder barrier is applied vertically and horizontally upside down, to keep the
This design in particular was made to create the illusion of a barrier-less ant setup,
with its landmarks rising up out of the top of the tank, but though it looks like there
is lots of places the ants could escape and crawl out, they actually technically can't
as nothing is touching a point of access to the outside and the ants can't jump very far.
The only place, the ants might be able to escape was through this chord which powers
the water pump and filter, but even that is covered in baby powder and secured with a
baby-powdered stopper keeping the ants from proceeding up the chord.
Ants making it that far fall onto this powdered platform which is also secured with powdered
walls to keep them from climbing further.
Ants on this platform end up jumping back into the Hacienda Del Dorado below.
But could they have possibly found a breech in the barrier that was keeping them in and
moved out of my window one night while I was sleeping?
With their sheer numbers and nomadic tendencies, this was definitely a possibility!
But then I noticed some movement below.
It seems the rains had caused some ants to emerge to feed from my roach.
There clearly wasn't as much ants as there used to be, but it was nice to see at least
some ants coming out to eat.
And AC Family, that's when I saw it.
This ant carried a something on its leg and it was impeding its movement.
Back when this colony had mites before, it never affected their movement and general
The mites they dealt with before were likely phoretic mites, harmless hitchhikers wanting
delivery to greener pastures.
In fact, the reason this whole Hacienda Del Dorado terrarium was created was to help those
phoretic mites fall off, and it worked in the end.
But this time, things were different.
And if you look carefully, although the ants are hanging around this roach, it doesn't
seem like they have that same healthy appetite to dive in and feast like they usually do.
These mites were definitely affecting our ants in a very negative way.
AC Family, I'm afraid to announce that the Golden Empire has been struck for the very
first time, with every ant-keeper's fear - parasitic, blood-sucking mites.
Some of the ants appeared mite-free, but many of them carried the mite killers.
Now, this is bad because every ant keeper knows that once you find these blood-sucking
mites on your ants, it is a death sentence, and the killings happen quick.
My heart sank, when the reality of situation began to sink in.
We found our answer and there was nothing we could do to stop it.
What we were witnessing here, AC Family, was the extermination and final days of the Golden
As weird as it sounds, I began to cry for the ants.
It was time to say goodbye to the supercolony we grew to love, over the years.
My house keeper and I began to take apart the Hacienda Del Dorado, starting with the
Golden Springs, which ironically were installed as a population regulator.
As I began to clean up the lands, again, with little to no ants in sight, I started to wonder
what I was going to do with the Hacienda Del Dorado.
Was I going to just throw the entire terrarium away?
Based on 98,000 of you who voted in a community tab poll, most of you felt the Jawbreakers,
our booming colony of trap-jaw ants, deserved to inherit the Hacienda Del Dorado seeing
as they were doing so well in their little kingdom, and were ready to expand.
But after discovering the mites, I knew I couldn't do this, because that would be like
throwing humans into a zombie pit.
The parasitic mites would then go on to annihilate the Jawbreakers.
But as I was digging around, something pretty incredible happened.
Check this out!
I hit a vein!
A gold vein.
I must have hit some chamber where a lot of Golden Empire were hiding out.
It seems a lot of the ants were still brooding in hidden chambers within the soil.
It was nice to see this many ants congregating in a single place.
Though some of the ants had mites attached to them, it looked like many of the ants were
still quite mobile, energetic, and otherwise seemingly healthy.
I moved the soil around and scanned the premises.
I needed to see if I could locate any of the 8 queens.
Do you see any?
I continued to move more soil around and sure enough, a queen!
There she is sprinting away!
I continued looking, and to my delight, guys, look!
Another queen dashing away!
I stopped for a moment to take a look at this queen.
Thankfully, she was mite-free.
Amazing to think that her eggs helped fuel the Golden Empire, along with her other 7
fellow queens, for years.
Her workers each only lived for a couple months, but queens like her can live as long as a
few decades, and it was her steadfast role as egg-layer over time, that lead to the Golden
Empire being one of the most successful and glorious ant colonies I've ever owned in my
It was heart-warming to see one of her workers coming to her side to tend to her.
Soon another worker came to join the royal entourage.
And then a third.
The sight was so moving for me, and suddenly made me realize why I had fallen in love with
the world of ants in the first place.
These worker ants, who'd been through a lot, were comforting their queen amidst crisis
befalling their empire.
It looked like these worker ants were among the clean, mite-free group of the survivors,
but although their days were numbered, their home torn up, and hope for survival minimal,
they weren't going to give up.
They were the Golden Empire, conqueror of challenges.
Now it was recently discovered that an entire ant colony harbours collective memories that
its individual members can't possibly store in their individual brains.
I bet now, the colony was tapping into their history to find ways to survive this mite
These ants were determined to fight for life until the very end, like gladiators championing
their Empire's legacy...
And that, AC Family, is when it hit me.
About what I said earlier about there being nothing we could do to stop the death of the
Golden Empire at the hands of the mites... well, that isn't entirely true.
For those of you who are new to the channel, meet our rhino beetles.
Three males of a fleet of 7 rhino beetle gladiators, who are slated to compete in an Olympic tournament
called the Rhino Beetle Games.
Their names are Apollo, Dionysus, and Poseidon.
Now upon welcoming them to the world as fully formed adult beetles, we did notice they carried
on their bodies, small gangs of mites.
At first, I thought these were maybe bad mites, but turns out, one of you guys pointed out
that they are actually Hypoaspis mites, which are predatory mites which live in symbiosis
on the beetles, feeding on small soil creatures and more importantly, bad parasitic mites
that may want to feed on the beetles' blood!
In fact, Hypoaspis mites are often used by gardeners to eat undesirable pest insects.
So, AC Family, know where I'm going with this?
So call me crazy, but what if we could somehow collect a few of these Hypoaspis mites from
our rhino beetles, propagate them, and then release them into the Hacienda Del Dorado,
where the Golden Empire are congregating, to eat the parasitic mites that are feeding
from the blood of our Golden Empire!
The idea was insane, but by principle, it could work right?
AC Family, it was time for an important experiment.
First, I prepared a water test tube.
This test tube was a standard ant test tube setup with cotton creating a water reservoir
which would provide humidity.
This setup was going to house a few of our test subjects for a little while.
Now it was time to go into the Hacienda Del Dorado to collect our subjects.
With our test tube, I went in, and collected three ants.
Two of the ants were infected with parasitic mites and one was mite-free.
I'll explain why the third ant had to be mite-free in a second.
I also went in to collect three more ants placed in a second test tube setup, again
two infected ants and 1 non-infected ant, so that we had a control group.
Hello, Gr. 9 lesson on the scientific method!
If this all works out, these six worker ants were going to be heroes in the history of
the Golden Empire.
Alright, so now that we had our test subjects, we now needed the help of one of our beetles,
and I knew just who I was going to choose to partake in this critical experiment.
If you look to the left, you'll see the living chamber of Apollo, who is buried somewhere
Of the three available beetles, I chose Apollo, because fittingly, he was named after the
Greek god of medicine and healing, and also of plagues, so it was only appropriate to
He was not going to be happy at me pulling him out, but the fate of our Golden Empire
relies on it!
I filled up a small dish of water and got two q-tips.
The plan was to go in, get Apollo out, and try to collect a few Hypoaspis mites from
I started to dig, and carefully moved the soil around until I heard his voice, well
There he was!
As expected, he was very upset at my intrusion.
Behold, our mighty gladiator Apollo, small horns beautiful colour.
And now, the possible saviour to deliver the Golden Empire from doom.
I carefully tried to look around Apollo's body for mites.
I didn't need a tonne of mites, just a couple for our experiment.
Turning him upside down, I saw them, and quickly ran the swab to collect.
I picked up one of the test tubes, and carefully introduced the Hypoaspis mite inside with
The mite instantly bolted into the test tube!
This entire process made my heart race a million miles a minute!
I went back to Apollo and swabbed again one last time, and placed the second mite into
the same test tube.
The test tube now had two Hypoaspis mites.
I placed two inside so that if they were male and female they could hopefully breed, but
we didn't really need to measure breeding.
We just needed to see if the Hypoaspis mites would feed from the blood-sucking parasitic
mites on the ants.
Also, the reason I included a mite-free ant in the mix was to see if the two Hypoaspis
mites would feed on the parasitic mites enough to keep the parasitic mites from breeding
and infecting other ants.
If the group with the Hypoaspis mites suddenly end up with the parasitic mites all gone,
we know that the Hypoaspis mites would be an effective biological agent to eradicate
the parasitic blood-sucking mites killing the Golden Empire.
I then marked the test tube that contained the Hypoaspis mites with black tape, and left
our control group tapeless.
By the end of this experiment having the two test tubes to compare, will make it easier
for us to understand the results.
I took both test tubes, inserted a drop of honey onto the cotton in each, and placed
them into a dark drawer, to simulate the soil conditions underground.
And all there was left to do now was pray to God, that the results of this experiment
Apollo, completely upset and shaken up, dove straight into his soils to get away from us.
Thank you Apollo, you've been a greater help than you'll ever understand.
Guys, as giants, perhaps we may not see everything that happens in the soil, but this time, we
were going to try to learn enough, to at least bring salvation to an entire Empire of gold,
fighting for the continuation of their throne, as rulers of the ever-evolving Hacienda Del
I was going to wait with baited breath for the results.
Alright, AC Family, it's do or die now!
It's been a crazy week, but I'll be sure to let you know the results of our experiment
to save the Golden Empire.
Let's hope the Hypoaspis mites prove effective at eating the parasitic mites on our ants.
At this point, it's our only hope.
So guys, be sure to smash that subscribe button and bell icon now, so you get notified at
every single upload and follow this continuing story, and hit the like button every single
time, including now.
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 would like to explore
the new Hacienda Del Dorado!
I've had to remodel, completely removing the Golden Springs seeing as we no longer need
a population limiter anymore, so go check out what the Hacienda Del Dorado looks like
And now it's time for the AC Question of the Week!
Last week we asked:
Why are the Hypoaspis mites we see on the beetles a good thing?
Congratulations to GAMER X who correctly answered:
The mites are beneficial because they eat small insects such as parasitic mites
that suck blood from the beetles.
Congratulations, GAMER X, you just won a free e-book handbook from our shop!
In this week's AC Question of the Week, we ask:
Why did I choose Apollo to participate in our experiment?
Leave your answer in the comments section and you could also win a free e-book handbook
from our shop!
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