Sunday, October 23, 2011

rainbow ant farms

We have been enjoying our 'space age' ant farm tremendously. It is fun to watch the ants create tunnels and see the rhythm of their days. I saw that you could buy rainbow ant farms and you could watch how ants move stuff through layers - I read reviews and decided I could make one cheaper and one that was more effective. I made three different styles.

Technically, this first one isn't a rainbow farm but I really wanted to try a pocket farm and see how it worked. This is made in a tic tac container.

This one is the hardest to see into but is very interesting to observe none-the-less. This one is made from a recycled vanity bulb (here are some good instructions for the procedure). It has a drink bottle lid which I drilled holes into using a 1/32 drill bit.

Here are some good instructions for a jar style at farm. I jazzed them up using a candle tube, a narrow jar, and a big plastic lid that I decorated for fun. :)

Here are some shots of them at work.

While the sand needs to be moist to help the tunnels maintain their structure and not collapse - please do not overdo it as I did in the tall ant jar. I know myself and I put coarse sand on the bottom - I am glad I did because my ants are now living above an underground lake...

On the other hand, I seem to be having regular tunnel collapses in the tic tac jar (there are three ants total in that jar and they have not died so do not be worried).

I have found that the easiest way to feed the ants and give them water (for the ants in the dryer colonies) is to cut a q-tip in two. I dip one end in honey and the other in water and the stick them stick side down in the dirt like poles. It makes it easier to give the ants fresh food and is a lot less messy. I also think it diminshes the chances of mold which are a big problem in ant colonies.

This is so much fun that I will probably make some other variations that I've been thinking about in the spring.

By the way, our cricket and grasshopper have both passed on after having lived busy and productive lives. One day, they simply stopped eating and moving. Given that we have had multiple frosts I imagine they were old and it was their time.

We put the jar that the grasshopper was living in in the garage. I removed her body and the dead plant material. We will see if baby grasshoppers emerge in the spring. I have wooly bear cocoons in the dog kennel outside - it will be a buggy spring if I remember and get my timing right.

1 comment:

Iulian Cozma said...

Excelent ideeas! Thank you for sharing.