Field colonies of Allegheny mound ants, Formica exsectoides, were tested at monthly intervals throughout the summer to assess their preference for artificial honeydews containing varying compositions of sugars and amino acids. In choice tests, foragers significantly preferred high sugar honeydews early in the season, but shifted in mid-season to a strong preference for high amino acid honeydews. Late-season foragers slightly preferred sugars. When offered in equal concentrations, the honeydew sugar, melezitose, was consistently less attractive to foragers than sucrose. However both sugars were readily fed upon, and appeared to attract ants in an additive fashion. No single amino acid was significantly preferred; however the combination of asparagine, glutamine and serine was highly attractive during the mid-season sampling period. The seasonal switch in forager preference between sugars and amino acids coincides with an increase in the amount of actively growing brood.
Bristow, C. M. and Yanity, E.
"Seasonal Response of Workers of the Allegheny Mound Ant, Formica Exsectoides (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to Artificial Honeydews of Varying Nutritional Content,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist: Vol. 32
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol32/iss1/3