Sunburst contains the optimal formulation of ingredients for ants that are well-hydrated and in good health. If ants are more receptive to a sugar solution other than Sunburst, it may be necessary to investigate possible explanations having to do with the health of the ants, as opposed to the quality of the product.
Let’s start with a basic understanding of ant physiology: most ants understand their world by interacting with chemical signals in the objects they touch with their antennae. This is considered a form of smell, which we can also observe when the ants wave their antennae in the air while foraging. Further, not all ants are equally equipped; some ants species are better than others at finding food and other resources (notably, pest species).
We hypothesize that ants kept in captivity frequently do not drink enough plain, unsweetened water and that such ants will seek the water they need from more diluted, watered-down sugar solutions, including fresh fruit.
Water treated for human consumption is much purer than water found in natural sources, and so it produces a weaker signal when encountered by the ants, making it more difficult to detect by smell. Adding a few drops of Sunburst to your unsweetened water may amplify the chemical signals in the water, making it easier for the ants to find.
It is best practice to offer multiple, redundant sources of unsweetened water in addition to a more concentrated sugar source like Sunburst. This way, the ants can more easily regulate the amount they drink from each and more closely mimic what they would encounter in their natural environment. The larger the space available to the ants, the greater the number of water sources are essential for the ants to discover them more easily.
Ants are also simple machines that operate in a predictable way to a given stimulus. While an individual ant is unintelligent, the ant colony can act intelligently by applying a few simple rules collectively and on a large scale. Because colonies containing fewer than a few hundred workers eat very little and behave inconsistently, it is difficult to measure and interpret the response of small colonies to several similar food sources.
Low receptivity to Sunburst is rarely a result of the quality of the product itself or incompatibility with a species of ant. For additional help with Sunburst, please contact us and let us know: 1) the species of ant, 2) the number of workers in the colony, 3) other foods provided within one week of offering Sunburst, including what foods received the best response, and 4) a photo of the habitat, if possible.