This is it!
Time to witness predation in its purest form.
What you’re looking at here is the Phoenix Empire, my 9 week old fire ant colony that
has grown so big now and has become so voraciously hungry, that I felt it was time for the biggest
step of their development, the most crucial event of their entire lives as fire ants:
it was time for them to experience what it is like to kill live, moving prey for the
very first time!
Ladies and gentlemen, today the Phoenix Empire will finally learn what it truly means to
be fire ants, here on the AntsCanada ant channel!
Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the BELL icon.
Welcome to the AC Family!
These fire ants of ours don’t know it yet, but they’re in for something pretty crazy!
You’ll get to see how eager and happy these fire ants are to kill their first living,
What happens at the end, though, will surprise you, as it did me, so do stay tuned for that!
But before some of you long time watchers start freaking out saying “Hey, I thought
live feedings are against your ethics!”
I must make a correction: I personally choose not to feed live prey, if I don’t need to,
but there are certain circumstances where live feedings are necessary, for instance,
when feeding arachnids, which require live moving prey in order to trigger their feeding
Also, when the prey can breed and live freely on their own in a setup shared by the predators
that simply hunt them as they would in the wild, as is seen in my weaver ants’ enclosure,
I also allow live feeding.
Or in this case, when we feed our fire ants here today, I’ve found a neat way to allow
my fire ants to satisfy their natural hunting instincts and put their innate predatory faculties
to work, while also being as ethical and responsible as I can possibly be.
You’ll see what I mean soon, guys.
But before we proceed to witness our fire ant colony’s first killing, let’s quickly
check in on the Phoenix Empire and see how they’ve been doing since we last saw them
two weeks ago.
This will surprise you, guys!
Looking into their birth test tube, I was shocked to see that they’d finally completely
evacuated the premises.
The water portion had run dry and as expected, they moved next door into the larger, much
more full water test tube.
I love that they did this, as this test tube offers much more space for the colony to grow,
and we can now replace their old test tube with something else.
So AC Family, I need your help again.
I was wondering: what should we connect to this new port to replace this empty test tube?
Another water test tube?
A new sugar test tube with honey perhaps?
Their very first true formicarium?
Or perhaps a larger outworld?
Please take a moment to VOTE here for their next extension to the City of Ashes.
Thank you AC Council for your input!
You guys are like the architects of their ever-expanding city!
The Phoenix Empire’s brood pile is so huge now!
The queen, our Ember Empress is nowhere to be found, as she took a nose dive as soon
as the cameras were rolling, into the mountain of brood to hide from us.
Sorry about that, AC Family, but with the colony growing bigger now, we can expect to
see her less frequently.
Let’s hope to catch her again soon.
The workers have been diligent at feeding and caring for all the brood and each other.
They are now a well-oiled fire ant producing factory.
All of these workers you see here are of the strong, hardy generation, and all workers
coming up will only be stronger and more powerfully built due to more enriched nourishment, especially
from the fresh living meat we’re going to give them today!
As per the old, first gens, known as the nanitics, the colony’s first worker ants ever, they’ve
all but died off now.
But check out where they’ve placed all the dead bodies!
Peeking into their AC Test Tube portal this week, I was surprised to see no ant cadavres
in their graveyard.
Hmmm… where have they been stashing the bodies?
Well, the colony has decided to relocate their official graveyard here, into their outworld,
at the furthest corner of the Fire Forest.
This for sure was a strategic move for the health and cleanliness of the colony.
The AC Test Tube portal is now just a bathroom site, note the ant poop that looks like flecks
We can expect to see more of such logistic changes as the colony continues to grow in
size and complexity.
Alright and now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
In nature, fire ants grow into absolutely massive colonies very fast, which means they
are designed to eat a lot!
They are top scavengers in the ecosystems they are part of, and up until now they’ve
been fulfilling that natural role by opportunistically eating the dead insects I’ve placed into
their outworld, as well as sucking up the sugars of their sugar test tube, but nature
has also designed fire ants to be top predators.
This role is so important, that nature has equipped them with a powerful stinger which
can inject a potent neurotoxin called Solenopsin.
It elicits a painful burning sting in humans, earning these ants the name “fire ants”,
but Solenopsin’s alternate purpose other than defense, is to immobilize prey.
We’ll be seeing this at work shortly.
Now before, when the colony was composed of mostly nanitics, the ants were exclusively
scavengers not predators, and as we saw in past videos, they would run in fear from any
living, moving prey I tried offering.
It’s a survival technique, because back then, losing workers could have spelled certain
death to the colony at their critical beginning stage.
But now that the colony is this big, with this many workers, all stronger and more capable
than the nanitics, I knew the colony was much more different now, and more like the fire
ants we all know in our minds.
Now I hate feeding live animals especially to fire ants because the prey will always
lose and I hate watching the prolonged struggle to the moment of death.
But on the other hand, I also knew these ants might benefit from actually learning to kill
something, and might be an important experience for them.
So after further contemplation an idea came to me.
Growing up, I remember it being said that if you cut an earthworm in half, the two pieces
Well, after researching this up, apparently this is partially true.
If you cut off the tail end, then the earthworm can survive and grow a new tail.
The tail can’t grow a new body, but the great thing is, the tail is technically still
alive and moving, which would be great at allowing the Phoenix Empire to engage in their
first predatory response, as the worm will definitely be fighting back and react to the
ants’ every move.
This would be unlike anything the Phoenix Empire will have ever experienced or eaten
The fire ants will be able to use their natural weapons, i.e. stingers and mandibles, to subdue
the prey, and we’ll be able to see them actually swarming, and guys, I loved what
the fire ants did at the very end, when the worm was finally dead!
I know you’ll love it, too.
AC Family, are you ready?
Let’s do this!
Here’s the fresh worm tail!
And placing it in.
Now let’s watch!
It wasn’t long before a worker smelled the earthworm and came to check it out.
It then ran back to the nest to inform the colony of what it found.
Soon a couple more ants came to check out the worm, and the worm coiled back when it
felt the ants around it.
A third ant came along and immediately delivered the worm’s first sting.
Instantly, the worm coiled and rolled in pain.
This act of coiling and rolling only caused the surrounding ants to go into a greater
frenzy, as workers latched on and began to sting the worm even more.
Other workers began wafting the area with “I found living food!
Come help!” pheromone.
Back at the nest, workers were being informed now of the prey in the Fire Forest, and that
they needed backup.
As more ants began to surround the worm, the worm continued to coil and roll.
This is the biggest creature they’ve ever come across, and it was moving which is nothing
they’ve ever seen before in their previous food collections, but it was amazing to watch
sheer instinct kick in.
The ants seemed to proceed cautiously but eager to get in and kill this thing.
I watched wide-eyed the whole time as they moved in to kill the worm!
Eventually, it became evident that that worm was weakening now and beginning to die from
all the fire ant stings.
A few minutes later, the worm was completely motionless and the fire ants had come swarming
to begin the consumption process.
The Phoenix Empire had made their first kill, well sorta seeing as the tail was bound to
die eventually, but it still allowed the fire ants to initiate a kill response which is
what I wanted them to experience.
And guys, this completely surprised me when I saw it.
Check this out!
The moment the worm was killed and stopped struggling, the nest went completely berserk!
Workers were running around everywhere like crazy!
Was this what ants celebrating looked like?
I’d never seen anything like it.
While the worm was still alive, the nest did not look like this but the moment the worm
was dead, the ants were running all around and some out of the nest in excitement.
To say that this dead worm made these fire ants happy was an understatement.
How interesting, right?!
The fire ants began to dissect the worm and bring the pieces back to the nest for further
consumption, and look, it seems the news brought our Ember Empress, the queen out of hiding.
She’s going to feast tonight!
What surprised me about all of this was that the next day, the Fire Forest was completely
devoid of worm pieces.
I figured OK so they dragged the worm into the nest, but no, there was no earthworm in
sight, neither was it in the AC Test Tube Portal.
This to me amazingly meant that the Phoenix Empire had consumed the entire worm piece
in just 12 hours.
Now I knew that earthworms left no garbage behind, unlike insect prey with their inedible
exoskeletons which are usually found the next day, cast off in the colony’s garbage sites.
I think I’ll be feeding earthworms more often now.
Overall, I was super happy that the Phoenix Empire had undergone this natural process
I felt it was an important thing for them to experience and definitely something I’ll
make sure they’ll experience on a regular basis.
What other things would you like to watch the Phoenix Empire eat and react to?
Let me know in the comments section, and though I can’t promise I’ll feed it live, I’ll
definitely try feeding it to them and film the process as we’ve done in past videos
with my previous fire ant colony, RIP FIRE NATION.
I appreciate that a lot of you seem to be as invested in these fire ants as I am.
Thank you so much for supporting them, guys.
I do feel like we are caring for the Phoenix Empire together, and isn’t it funny how
satisfying it all is to watch them grow and give them everything they need to thrive and
flourish into the mighty fire ant colony we know they’re destined to become?
It’s an amazing journey of discovery for sure, and the very essence of ant keeping.
Thank you all for watching and loving the ants!
I’ll see you next week on another update from the Antiverse.
It’s ant love forever!
AC Family, look!
I can’t believe they’ve arrived!
AC Family, wasn’t that cool?
So much is in store ahead for the Phoenix Empire, so if you haven’t yet, SMASH that
SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now and hit ALL so you get notified at every upload, because
I believe notifications seem to be broken but the Youtube support team is on it.
Also don’t forget to hit the LIKE button every single time including now.
It would really mean a lot to me.
Thank you, guys!
AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie for you here, if you would like to watch extended
play footage of the epic battle between fire ants and the worm, as well as awesome scenes
of the colony within the nest.
Also, just a note: It’s anting season, and nuptial flights start in the Northern Hemisphere
Be sure to visit AntsCanada.com for all your ant keeping and collecting gear shipped to
you in a special package from our ant-loving facility in the USA, so you can get the most
out of your ant keeping experience.
We also offer full email support if you need our help!
Visit AntsCanada.com today.
And now it’s time for the AC Question of the Week.
Last week, we asked:
What do you love about scorpions?
Congratulations to Taj Boss King who answered:
I love their shape and powerful pincers!
Congratulations Taj, you just won a free Ultimate Ant Keeping handbook from our shop!
In this week’s AC Question of the Week we ask:
What is the name of the toxin fire ants inject when stinging?
Leave your answer in the comments section and you could also win a free e-book handbook
from our shop!
Hope you could 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!