So I've beaten 4.1 and 4.2 on insane. Thought I would post some feedback

First off, I found one probable bug and one "issue" that I thought I would mention.

On 5.1, if an ant dies, or you kill it, while it is carrying an aphid, sometimes the aphid disappears. I think it occurs most often when you are raided and then you or a critter kills the ant carrying the aphid. It got to the point where so many aphids disappeared that I had to alter my strategy to beat it on insane. Out of the 50 on the map, on one playthrough I was down to 38, and I swear I wasn't trying to lose them!

On 5.2, when you fight the dragonfly, and it flies off, sometimes it bugs out completely. One time I was killing it too quickly and it GTFO so fast it landed for a microsecond and ran away. I was a bit preoccupied at the time so I couldn't really observe what was happening. Another time my run was killed because when it landed after being injured, my ants kind of clogged up on the ramp up to it and wouldn't board it, causing it just to fly off. I got around this I think by setting the waypoint for the ants much further in to the plateu, but it's a bit janky and you don't have a lot of time.

As for the levels themselves, I wanted to only beat them on insane (no cheating and scoping them out on easy!). What can I say, they're awesome. It took me a day to beat the first one for the first time, and 2 for the second. I've beaten them both several times now. It takes a significant amount of micro and strategy to pull off correctly. I'm incredibly impressed by the level of thought that's gone in to them. On the second level, it really is a race against time to collect everything, but you CAN collect all the food, the aphids, and the food from the hostile colony. There's seconds in it, but it is possible. I don't know if that was intentional, but it's really satisfying.

I do have 2 only really minor negatives that I would like to point out. Plus some feedback. The first is about the vigorous and pervasive traits. I'm sure it's possible to beat both levels using pervasive, but I haven't and haven't even tried. The speed boost you get, particularly on the second level, is so powerful for making sure you beat the water that I'm not sure how you would do it without it. I'm also pretty sure there is a speed cap in place, as I don't believe my level 1 ants are any slower when getting the speed boost than the level 3's, which is a shame. It's also possible level 3 fire ants don't get a speed boost. I think this makes sense, but it would be nice to see as it would add another element to your choices.I chose the pervasive trait when I levelled up my formicarium, and I'm not sure it was the right choice. Even though I've upgraded the speed by 27 points using jelly, they're barely faster than my lvl 3 workers who only have 6 points in speed. I think it would have made more sense to get vigorous and put that jelly into damage, as the ants die so quickly it barely ever gets used anyway. I would like to suggest one change. By the end of level 3 you need like 40 workers to make sure that even at level 3 upgrades you have enough workers to replace brood. I feel like it would be nice for fire ants to get a speed bonus at level 3 when travelling over brood tiles. Especially considering the nests are getting invaded and you lose workers so often. It would make the levels a bit easier I guess, but I'm sure it's possible to negate that.

Also, a problem I've noticed for a while is that when you get say, over 100 ants on a single pheremone trail, they react to the commands a LOT slower. I think there's some kind of limit on how fast it ticks up, as once you reach a certain point the number of ants following the trail goes up at a steady pace. This means it compounds the more ants you have. I first noticed this one Excavators when I was playing about with 600 workers. It took them well over a minute before all of them were gathered up on the right pheremone marker. This rears its head very often when playing fire ants because there's so many of them. It not only feels sluggish, but it severely hampers the ability to correctly micro towards the endgame. It's killed my runs several times, even anticipating the problem. This could well be intentional, the reason I'm mentioning it is I dont like it! It adds a level of complete randomness beyond the player's control. The biggest thing though is that the rest of the game is so slick and well polished it feels wrong to have something, even if intentional, that slows down micro and adds a complete lack of control.

The last thing, and only a minor point, is how much food the large creatures give when you kill them. The amount of food you get from the bullfrog is pathetic, and the dragonfly isn't much better. I haven't beaten the formicarium challenge yet because I want to beat it on insane, and I'm having to farm enough food to do it because the amount you get from the hermit scorpion and other hybrids is really poor. I think at the very least they should give 600 food. Otherwise you're forcing me to replay levels on easy just to do it. I've played this game for over 1000 hours. I had a LOT of royal jelly. It feels to me like giving them more food would at the very least let me play the game rather than farm it.

I'm having a blast with the new levels, I only wish there was more of it. I wanted to beat the formicarium challenge on insane before I commented, but as I said that's taking a while because I'm having to farm food. That's not something catastrophic obviously, I just wanted to thank you for your work on such an enjoyable game and provide my feedback a bit earlier. I might post a followup if I have any more feedback.

I have some advice about the levels themselves for people wanting to beat them, if it's wanted. I can post another thread about that too. These levels aren't nearly as hard as 3.1 though, and I'm hoping they add a challenge to them to make them even harder!
over 100 ants on a single pheremone trail, they react to the commands a LOT slower.
You can get past this by splitting your groups up through pheromones; with this solution, you won't have to focus more on strategy, just make sure you assign all pheromones to the same place. And if you do want to strategize, this helps a lot because you can easily detach one pheromone to somewhere else to fight underground enemies or whatever.

the amount of food you get from the bullfrog is pathetic,
I have a farming strategy for your formicarium with credit to Solstitium for formulating the entire thing. If your interested, I can post his fill guide, or a youtube video showcasing a playthrough of the strategy.
Yeah you can get past it, but it just feels janky to me. There are some missions where you need all your groups too, to make sure you're collecting all the food on time or defending everything properly.

I actually beat the challenge last night. I'd be interested in seeing the strategy though. I more mentioned it because I felt the large creatures don't give enough food compared to their size.