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Keeping "velvet ants"

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by nepenthes, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. nepenthes

    nepenthes Arachnobaron

    Dasymutilla spp.

    any information on how to keep them, they look awfully cuddly, not that i would ever handle them or plan on really ever holding them, but I would like to know how to keep them to say the least.

    thank you.
  2. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I kept my females alive for 8 months on shallow sand with a piece of coconut for hiding, and half grapes every other day for food/moisture. Make sure to keep the container dry dry dry.
  3. nepenthes

    nepenthes Arachnobaron

    Grapes aren't good for ants i know, (I know they aren't ants, but solitary wasp's) but i think ants wouldn't be good for almost any insect. But Thanks.
  4. LeilaNami

    LeilaNami Arachnoking Old Timer

    i feed cricket colonies carrots. would that be good food for them? Provides moisture and food as well.
  5. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Why aren't grapes good for insects? A lot of insects feed on grapes....and I've kept a pair of Mutilids exclusively on grapes for months. I definitley question your reasoning.

    As for carrots, I don't think it has the same sugar content that velvent ants can utilize well.
  6. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer

    i fed mine honey and she lasted 5-6 months

    as far as grapes, here is the reasoning i found when i heard pregnant ladies are not supposed to eat them. first off, they have relatively high surface to volume ratio, which means they can have more pesticides per pound applied to them. second, they have very thin skin which the pesticides can make it through. i don't feed any leaf or high surface area to volume ratio unless it is pesticide free organic. now, being as how i found the "don't feed preggos grapes" thing substantiated on reputable sites (medical even, iirc) i felt that there was enough merit here to act on it.

    oh, one thing... i made my decision not to feed my feeders grapes, as even minute quantities of pesticides could accumulate to like, effective levels in a 20+ year lifespan for some spiders. something that is a year liver might not be able to accumulate enough to manifest effects.
  7. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I guess if you are worried about pesticides it might make sense, but I'd like to see an actual study. There are just so many insect pests of grapes, including ants....and like I said....8 months and counting for a pair of females.
  8. Tleilaxu

    Tleilaxu Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Besides these things cannot take solid foods? Depending on the "ant" you get they need ground wasp larva to breed. For basic care honey and sugar water, and plain drinking water should be enough.
  9. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer

    well, i'm sure i don't have to tell you about bioaccumulation... i bet a tarantula in it's lifetime could get maybe 1000x the amount of one bug eating them for 8 months.

    i could easily believe that with r-selecteds they just can't accumulate enough toxin fast enough to matter
  10. mackids

    mackids Arachnosquire Old Timer

    we have a few velvet ants at my job. I feed them a mix of honey and water and they seem to love that. I do about 6 parts water to one part honey and using a dropper fill two lids to sling viles.

    Its kinda funny watching them go for the mixture. kinda like how a dog knows when its getting fed so do the velvet ants; they go right to their dishes.

    I hope this info helps
  11. Wade

    Wade Arachnoking Old Timer

    When I first read this I though you meant wasp larvae that had been ground up! I was thinking "wow, that's a novel approach!" and then realized you were talking about ground nesting wasps and bees, which makes a lot more sense.

    It's primarily the pupal stage that females look for, not larvae. Also, some species lay their eggs on grasshoppers eggs (I was told that Dasymutilla occidentalis is this way). From what I've read, they're not super picky and will use many insects (in an inactive stage) if it's presented in the right way. I tried to substitute a Zophobas pupa once, no luck.

    As others have indicated, sweet liquids are the preferred diet. They'll take anything from maple syrup to sugar water, but they do seem to like honey the best. Grapes also work well, sliced in half. Pesticides are a concern when using non-organic grapes, but because the wasp primarily feeds on the juice of the sliced grape, they likely avoid much of the pesticides concentrated in the skin.

    I love the stridulation, they sound like little wind up toys when they're agitated. They also have a habit of curling up under objects in a way that reminds me of little dogs. I'm not generally one who gets all mushy over bugs, but I have to admit I find the things very cute.

  12. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer

    they are very amusing to observe... i love your dog comparison, that is very like, apt. i keep being tempted to freehandle mine... but those oversize mouthparts and sting keep becoming visible in time to save me from myself
  13. loxoscelesfear

    loxoscelesfear Arachnoprince Old Timer

    cow killers

    grapes and diluted honey. awesome. i never had any luck trying to keep cow killers alive.:wall: now maybe i have a chance keeping one cool advice guys :clap:
  14. nepenthes

    nepenthes Arachnobaron

    The Males fly right? And the Females are the ones you would see on the ground? Well thats what I remember reading. Thanks for all the information!
  15. DITB

    DITB Arachnoknight Old Timer

    i always thought carrots contained a natural insecticide :?
  16. Tleilaxu

    Tleilaxu Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Perhaps but even if they did not the velvet ant would not be able to eat it.
  17. Wade

    Wade Arachnoking Old Timer

    Yes, the males are winged and can fly. Also, the don't have stingers (as is the case with all bees and wasps). The males of some species actually pick up the females and they mate in the air.