Ant farms can be associated with the reality of the lives of mankind in their industry. Specifically, they all have a job to do and strive to make it work. This reflects their perseverance and determination each day like they look for food, build shelter, and take care of their queen.
The curiosity with the process leads to the showcasing of ant farms as it shows how their lives are and how they live as a community.
Since it shows the hidden lives of ants within their colony, it can be a fascinating sight for some. Not only does it promote patience and responsibility but it also educates even kids, young as they may be.
In order to be a startup entomology enthusiast, the text will provide some of the things that you should consider in sustaining an ant farm.
Ant Farm Starter Kit: How Can You Obtain It?
When wanting to create an ant farm for your entertainment or to simply entertain the young minds in your family, you first need to know how to have the required structure as their home.
To be honest, you can make it from scratch using the materials that are suitable for the chosen type, or buy one for it to be less hassle. Either way, it gives you storage for the colony that you long to have!
In terms of buying, you can buy at your local pet store or even at the available pet stores online. It offers a variety of kinds, so do not be overwhelmed and know which functions would come in handy before you buy one. Keep in mind that not all kinds fit for every species available!
Accordingly, know your extent in terms of maintenance skills. Then pick a kind that requires a lot of work if you please, or the least work if you do not seem entitled with it in the long run. The possibility is endless either way.
Meanwhile, you can also make an ant farm using your own materials however you like. It is preferred if you want a classic type of farm without any additional functions.
Likewise, it also tends to exert effort, which is why most settle for buying, but hey, if you are feeling energetic and want to build one, there is no one stopping you!
Different Types of Ant Farm
Before wanting to have a colony of ants, you first need to decide what kind of farm you want them to be in. Of course, what you need is the one which will make the species of your liking at ease.
In that sense, look for their preference and pick the one which you think suits them the most. With these, here are the types that you can choose from:
1. Wood Ant Farm
Based on its nomenclature, it is made up of different types of word. Specifically, it has tunnels and chambers built in the wood that is covered with glass or plastic. Although the type is not suitable for all species, it can only be used by dendrobiont ants that mostly live on dead woods.
2. Plaster Ant Farm
This type is created by pouring plaster in a negative template. Then, when it is dry, it is enclosed with glass for cover.
It is known to be a perfect type for observation purposes. It is also easy to modify in a preferred shape and size though its disadvantage lies beneath the ants not having a room for modification once the owner built it.
In addition, one of its characteristics includes being easily moisturized, which is both a pro and a con depending on preference. The ant farm is said to be the hardest one to make among all of the types.
3. Classic Ant Farm
It is the most popular type of all. The construction looks like a thin box with two glass sheets on each side. This is the most preferred type when dealing with the common variety of ants since it is mimic their natural habitat. In spite of that, it tends to have moisturizing difficulties, which should be closely monitored.
4. Mixed Ant Farm
With this type, the ants are in control. Since it is the mixture of different kinds, the modification depends typically on the type of species. However, some do not prefer to use it since it tends to be expensive than expected and is somehow complicated to maintain as well.
Two Different Types of Ant Kits
The kits typically come with two types, the sand-filled or the gel-filled ant farms. Since it is already set, all you need to know is which one suits your preference the best.
The gel provided in the kits contains nutrients that the ants need to survive within their lifetime. It also provides moisture, which is an add-on to its capability. With this type of kit, you would not need to provide food or water in their colony.
Instead, it introduces a much like hands-free maintenance. All you need to do is clean up the kit every once in a while, and then you are good to go!
The translucent capability also helps in seeing the structure of the tunnels better. Besides, it creates a larger dimension in the makings of the chambers. With this, its quality allows the increase in the amount of tunnels that are not close to the glass than those that are against the main glass.
However, the gel does not last forever. It can last for about two generations of ants depending on its quality overall. Typically, it lasts for about a year or can support the colony within its lifetime.
There is no available gel replacement for the ant farm as of the moment. Moreover, it encourages you to buy a whole new kit.
The sand-filled kits are recommended for those who prefer more hands-on maintenance for their colony. It requires for you to provide food and clean water with cleaning their farm to remove the debris.
This is the closest type to their natural habitat, which makes them adapt faster. In it, they can make the tunnels faster with ease. In addition, it promotes the viewing of the tunnel more against the glass than the gel types.
Nevertheless, when obtaining this type, be careful not to move it as the tunnels are more narrow, which makes it fragile in the process.
Top 4 Store-Bought Ant Farms
If you are looking for an ant farm that is already set up, buying directly from the store would suit you! Many offer different functions and add-ons within their farms, and it is best to evaluate it in order to know which suits your ant type best. Here are some of the readymade products for you:
1. Evviva Science’s LED Ant Habitat Extraordinaire
This kind has an LED light feature which showcases the colony more, and will extremely wow your science teachers or ant enthusiasts! It makes the tunnels accentuate its purpose as well as provide an aesthetic vibe overall. It is not battery operated but instead, uses an outlet with an adapter.
In the kit, it provides a little stick that encourages the ants to dig more and a detailed instruction unto how the farm is set placed. It is made up of nutrient gel, which means that it does not require elaborated maintenance. It can store 25 to 40 ants with the frame.
2. Uncle Milton Ant Farm
The product is known to be escape-proof, and the materials are structured in a way that prevents it from being easily broken. The stand is also tip-proof, which promotes its sturdiness over time. It is a sand type of ant farm, which is beneficial if you prefer to make your ant feel more at ease.
It also has four ant ports which make the area applicable for expansion since it gives room for connection to the other ant farms. As the instruction suggests, it can last for up to a year, but the sand can be replaced. The amount of sand can be around 2 cups in measurement.
3. GeoSafari Ant Factory
The product is suitable for kids and kids at heart! It is recommended for bug lovers, kids, and even teachers as it can showcase the ants in the most simpler way possible. The kit is directed for those who are curious about entomology, how it works, and those who want to enhance the nurturing skills of their child.
The kit is advertised to be escape proof. It also includes a guide, a dropper, canal tool, and certification that it is suitable with any basic types of ants. The setup and maintenance is introduced to be easy since it addresses the young audience. In addition, it is made up of sand material in order to promote the needed sustainability.
4. New Advanced Ant Nursery Farm Maze
The item is a learning curve, but with an added pressure relief since it is made up of gel-nutrient material. The life expectancy of the ants is 2-6 months in it, depending on maintenance. It also has a feeding system, which makes it sustain-friendly since it is expected that those who attempt to do so are children.
In the package, it includes a gel, pipette, cotton pad, nipper, and a manual for construction and basic information. If you are looking for a child-friendly ant farm but does not require much maintenance, the product is perfect for your liking!
A Guide: Building Your Own Ant Farm
Not only can you buy an ant farm but you can also make one on the go! It is best for those who want to have it instantly, or even those who prefer to build their own. All it takes are just simple materials in your household, and then you are good to go.
1. Prepare the Materials
In attempting to make one, you should keep in mind the things that will be needed in the process. Specifically, these are as follows:
Jars with Lids
You need to have two in quantity. Its should be a large storage, and a smaller one that fits in it. Moreover, it should be plain and do not have any print or etches as design.
If you prefer a square frame, you can also use an aquarium but with the same purpose. To be more specific, you can use one larger and one smaller than the frame.
Soil and Sand
In terms of materials that will go in the jar, you would need loose dirt that will allow it to stay moist and at the same time allow them to create tunnels. You can either make a soil and sand mixture or use the dirt that is used in their colony before you catch them.
The mixture is at most 1 part sand and 2 parts dirt depending on its ability to be moist and to be shaped.
Apply the soil in the middle of the two storage preventing them from using the insides of the smaller jar. This allows you to see the tunnels and their colony more clearly. Observe that the soil is not too wet nor too dry since this is where the ant will mainly rely on their survival.
2. Collect the Ants
You can either catch them on your own or buy a specific type depending on your choice. When attempting to catch them, use a hand shovel and a separate jar to store them in the meantime. At the same time, if you are trying to catch a queen ant, it is best to do so in summertime after a summer rain.
3. Creating the Ant Farm
Basically, all you need to do is to put the smaller jar into the bigger one and put the soil outside the smaller jar. Then, place the ants in the jar making sure that they are placed into the soil part and not in the middle of the small jar.
Screw the lid, and punch holes that will allow oxygen to pass through, but not too big that they can escape. Thus, do not use a cloth as a substitute for the lid since your tiny ants can easily chew it.
4. Sustain the Jar as Intended
The basic needs require food and water. Apart from clean water, you can also give them sweet liquid every once in a while to keep them happy. You can give raw scraps of meat, but never give them cooked food as it may attract other pests.
Furthermore, provide water using droplets since they may drown if you give too much than needed.
In order to promote their tunnel-like construction, cover the jar. They mainly do it at night, which is why doing so mimic its surrounding. Failure to do so may cause stress, and will make them hide in the center as much as possible.
Likewise, you should not shake the jar. This part is obvious since it is much like promoting erosion with their tunnels that they have built with effort. This may cause plenty of casualties in the jar as it collapses before they even know it. With this said, it is best to handle them carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. With an Ant Queen, How Long will the Colony Last?
The lifespan of your colony solely depends on the queen itself and her ability to reproduce. Typically, they can live for more than 15 years. Keep in mind that there are certain species which allow the existence of more than one queen, while some are crucial to have only one.
Q. How Much Water Do Ants Need?
Even if they are small, they tend to drink a lot of water compared to their size. In average, they can consume for about seven microliters of clean water. Hence, be careful not to give them excess water as it may potentially drown them.
Q. Is it Possible to Overfeed Your Ants?
Ants are living creatures, and they can choose to eat or not however they like. You can offer them ant foods for those who have a strict diet, or met scraps for young ones. Even with this, it is still important not to overfeed them since the food may get spoilt and moldy, which allows the pathogens in the farm.
Q. What will Happen if the Queen Ant is Dead?
The colony which can only have one ant queen, the entire colony will reach its end with its queen’s death, but not immediately. Since each dead population cannot be replaced, this is the case.
Although some species trigger some ant worker to lay eggs, that only results to male. This is the final defense mechanism before they are wiped out.
However, for those who can have more than one queen which are called polygynous and oligogynous, their life stays the same since they can look for a new queen along the way.
Q. How Do Ants Identify the Dead Ant Workers?
When there is dead, living ants smell the ants secrete oleic acid. In these cases, they simply dump the dead away from their home to prevent the risk of infection for their colony. If you experiment and bath an ant with oleic acid, it is as good as dead for their mates.
Q. Why Do Ants Smell when They Die?
It is because they live with the usage of chemical signals. It is also a set ahead into knowing its type of species without looking at it carefully. To be specific, carpenter ants smell like vinegar since they release formic acid. Meanwhile, citronella ants smell somehow like lemon.
Q. Can Ants Play Dead when Needed?
It may seem underrated, but ants are smart. Some can indeed fake their death, especially in times of danger. For example, the fire ants, wherein their young insects attempt to appear dead to trick their attacker.
Q. Why are the Ants Acquired Do Not Create Tunnels?
If you have acquired it within the day, be patient, and give it time. They need to contemplate first where they are before they modify or settle in their ant farm. This usually takes at least 24 hours. If they do not tunnel after the given time, give a few drops of sweet sugar.
This triggers them to stay in one spot, and hopefully encourage them to dig. Blowing into the farm can also help as it serves as their wake up call.
Q. The Colony that I Once Have has Died, Should I Replace the Sand when Attempting to Reuse the Farm with New Ones?
It depends upon how moldy the farm is. If it is not that dirty, you can use it. If not, you need to replace the sand and make sure that it is moistened for the ants to create their tunnels.
Q. Can I Reuse My Gel Ant Habitat?
You can, but only with indicated times. Most do not offer refills unless you buy the overall farm from them. Nevertheless, do not worry! You can melt the gel to liquify it, then use it again depending on your liking.
Final Thoughts: Buy Your Preferred Ant Farm Now!
After knowing about the different types of kits and farms, there are plenty to choose from your wanted species, so choose wisely! You should remember that not all farms are applicable for all. Which is why you first need to find a type of ant according to your preference.
Consequently, buy the ant farm that suits them the most, and then buy or catch the ants. The maintenance may seem hard, but it is actually a fun adventure involving entomology and the lives of ant creatures!
Have you already found the ant farm that you needed for your ant enthusiast heart? Then what are you waiting for? Buy it now and create the ant farm of your dreams!