I keep meaning to ask how keepers with huge colonies go about adding the leaves for their colonies. Do they just keep piling branches on top until the area is full or do they take old stuff away each day or when its finished? Even with my meagre amount it takes a good 15 minutes just to separate the ants from the forage each morning. Do they even bother to separate the ants and chuck ants and waste away together?I would imagine there to be all kinds of nasties in the litter and a complete and thorough clean being the only way to insure against mites, thing is plenty of mites are probably useful anyway so providing you haven't noticed any attached to the ants all is well. Parasitic Mites are an ant keepers nightmare that i think can only be controlled by predatory mites which are easily obtained fortunately. Not that i have any experience with them though.
BTW i just bought the + version of your Lascar logger on ebay for £40 brand new..
Good price for the logger Andy.
I do basically what Andrew said, although the forage is mostly gone after 24 hours, just lots of sticks left! I move any old stuff out, or into the very bottom glass container which is surrounded by water. They seem to like climbing around in the old stuff. I remove this though on a regular basis. Once I've removed the old forage, I wipe the forage platforms with plain water and dry them. It can sometimes be a bit sticky, depending on what they've had (apple does this). I then place fresh forage on the platforms and then arrange their branches of privet and rose, they really love climbing up there! Also, flaked almonds go down extremely well.
When I hoover out the dump tank, I spend time removing all the live ones (most are still alive) from the hoover.