Ants are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? These creatures often make us wonder a lot and to an extent, people might get inclined to buy one for home.
However, the problem with buying an ant farm is that it is expensive and sometimes not worth the money. Moreover, it doesn’t give you the same pleasure that you can get working from home.
Imagine your kid is getting interested in ants and you go out and find that ant farms are not affordable. What to do? Here, we will solve your problems through a simple solution. Do it yourself! Yes, you can easily build an ant farm at home with simple tools and at a cheaper cost.
How to Start?
So I am considering you as a noob and I think that you’ve never done a DIY project ever in your life. You’re probably concerned about what to look for before starting to build an ant farm.
What you must do at the beginning is to have a vision. You should think about the size your ant farm should be and the budget you’re willing to spend in building this farm. Then you should consider whether or not your budget agrees with the farm size.
To get a good idea, you can look at the size of the ants. This will give you an idea about how big the farm should be. You should create a plan with finer details like determining the gap between the sheets and all the details. Create a design in your notebook to implement the ideas properly.
What Do You Need?
You will need some materials to get going. We can build an ant farm in many ways, but here we will look at the easiest way to build one with equipment that can be found at all the homes.
What we need is to ensure that the equipment is not broken or not contaminated in any way. You should have all this equipment at home, but if not, they will not cost you much anyway. Here we will take a look at the equipment.
- Clear Plastic CD Cases
- Sieve (Needed for soil)
- Dry Soil: 3 cups before sifting (Should be taken from the place the ants were collected from)
- A container: ½ cup after sifting (For Sifted Soil)
- Sharp Knife
- Dark Construction Paper (2 pcs.)
You will have to go through certain steps to ensure you have built the perfect ant farm. If you follow the steps mentioned below, you will be good to go.
Step 1: Emptying the CD Cases
At first, you will need to remove the interior portion of both of the CD cases; then you will have to separate them. Here one plastic piece of the case will work as the base of the ant farm, but the other one is not needed fully.
Just a portion of it will be required to ensure that you have got the top of your farm sealed and secured.
Step 2: Cutting Holes
Next, you will need to cut holes between the passages of the empty CD cases. For that, you will need to put the CD case that will seal the upper part of your farm flatly on top and perpendicular to the one that will construct the lower portion.
Here, one interesting thing that just might help you is putting the front side of the top one facing the ceiling; thus, you will be able to open it easily.
The two empty cases must have two openings each, and one of the slits of the upper portion of the lower CD case which will hold the dirt can be used to make an exit/entry point.
This process is pretty easy to do and basic work. You will need to enlarge the slit at first and extend to the point that you will be able to break the plastic. Create a hole which is square shaped. The width of the hole should be the same as the edge of the case.
You will need to repeat this procedure with a knife for the lower portion of the lower CD case. What you must do during this procedure is not to apply much pressure; otherwise, the plastic will crack.
Step 3: Making a Cover
Ants will survive comfortably if they are put in a dark location. To ensure that you’re putting them in an artificial dark area, you will need to get an aluminum foil to create a cover and cover the CD cases. The height of the cover will be the same as one of the CD cases.
The length should be enough to cover both of the cases, and it can overlap one of the cases by a few inches.
Step 4: Sealing Holes and Putting Soil
For ants to grow properly, you will need soil. To ensure that the soil doesn’t get away from the lower CD case, you will need to seal the holes that you had made earlier.
How can you seal the holes now? You can use a tape to seal them. At the same time, you will need to put a half inch gap along the case’s spine open so that the soil can be put there.
You will only need a temporary tape for the lower CD case’s upper portion to seal off the entry/exit gate.
Now coming to the question of putting soils, you will first need to sift your dried soil, and it will ensure that the clumps and debris are removed. You will need only ½ a cup of sifted soil.
Using a spoon or something of that sort, you will be able to add the already sifted soil to the gap you’ve made in your CD cases. Tap the CD case and try to smoothen the soil in the gaps so that the soil can get settled. Using as much soil as possible is recommended.
After that, clean the dust that fell off to the side of the CD cases and then close the exits of the holes of the CD cases properly.
Step 5: Accumulating the Farm
This is the most important and one of the final steps of building an ant farm. In this step, you will have to attach your CD case which is filled with soil to the base of the ant farm first. To do that you will need to find the plastic piece which you put aside in step 1 and adjoin it with the bottom edge of the case with tape.
It will attach the CD case to the base point of the farm properly, and you will need to ensure that the taping is done correctly. Likewise, the entry/exit side of the top edge is facing upwards, and the soil base CD case should be laid flatly.
After that, you will need to attach the second strip along the lines of the second edge of the CD case which was connected to the base. If the taping is done accurately, the CD case filled with soil will be able to stand on its own.
Then you will need your upper CD case which had a temporary piece of tape covering the entry, and you will need to remove it. You will connect the upper CD case with the lower one by applying tape along the length of the lower one. You will do that leaving out half the top which will be sticking out on the above one.
Now comes an exciting part. You will need to reposition your upper CD case by folding down the tape. Do it in such a way that the upper CD case’s holes are lined up in accordance with the lower ones.
Then take another strip of tape and adjust it to the other side of the CD cases by tilting the upper CD case. Tape it appropriately so that the upper CD case can be adjusted without any support.
Step 6: Seal Out All the Holes
Now you will need to ensure that you seal out all the holes of your upper CD case. For that, you will need to go back to step 1 where you put aside two plastic pieces.You must bring one of them to fray now. This plastic piece will seal the half inch hole that you made along the spine on the top part of the farm.
You will cut the plastic into two pieces to cover the spines and cut it following the hole so that you will be able to seal the edge of the cases. Then you will need to tape the plastic with a lot of strips of tape to cover all the small holes.
Final Step: Water and Ants
This is the ultimate and obviously the most important step because now we will get to the real action of building an ant farm. Ant farms aren’t complete without ants, and here we go now to add ants to the fray.
Find your entry hole first and then put two tablespoons of water through the farm. This water will soak down throughout the farm, and your soil surface will be moisture enough for your ants to go down next.
Then you will need to put your ants to the top CD case and close out the lid. You must ensure that you don’t crush the ants or put pressure to them. They will find out the entry hole eventually on their own.
After that, you will be able to see them making their way through the soil surface. While feeding them, you will need to open the top CD case’s entry point to put the food to the surface carefully. If at a point you think they might try escaping, you should put the farm in a fridge for 5 minutes so that the ants get weakened.
The ant farm should be put in a place where you can moderate the sunlight but shouldn’t be put in an area which has direct sunlight. When you’re not viewing what they’re doing, it is recommended to use the aluminum foil to cover up the farm.
An ant farm is always an interesting thing for kids and also for someone wanting to learn about the nature in a proper way. These are the procedures you can easily follow at your home to make an ant farm at a cheap cost. If you follow these steps properly, you will soon have an ant farm of your own.