Do It Yourself: Making An Ant Farm

Use these easy instructions to create your very own ant farm. Included are complete directions for making the ant farm and caring for the ants.

When most people think of ants, they think of pests that are very simple and doltish. Ants are actually very intelligent creatures that live in an amazing world made up of colonies and tunnels. They are fun to watch, and designing an ant farm will enable you to observe their everyday antics and activities. You'll be able to watch the ants move their food, create tunnels, and interact with one another.

For this easy project you will need a large clear glass jar with a lid, a small plastic jar with a lid, a bucket, a smaller clear glass jar, equal parts of sand and soil, an eyedropper, sugar, a small bowl, a spoon, water, and lots of ants. Optional supplies are small plants, pebbles, sticks, or any other decorative additions of your choice.

Begin by placing the smaller glass jar upside down in the center of the larger glass jar. You will then need to blend equal parts of sand and soil. Mix enough sand and soil to reach the top of the smaller glass jar that's turned over inside the larger one. Pour the mixture carefully around the smaller glass jar, and level the surface with your hand. The small jar will serve as a looking glass where you'll be able to see the many tunnels and chambers formed by the ants.

Now it's time to find some ants. Mix enough sand and soil to make the plastic jar a third of the way full. Make a solution of sugar and water, and mix it into the sand and soil. Set the jar outside where ants are likely to find it. Before long you should have visitors looking for a sweet treat. After several ants enter the jar, close the lid and transfer them to the ant farm using a spoon. Be sure to close the ant farm lid immediately after each addition. Ants are very fast!

The ants will require food at least once each week. Add cookie crumbs, cracker crumbs, bits of bread, or any other scraps of dry food. Drops of sugar water should be added as well.

Turn your ant farm into a terrarium by adding a few small plants. The plants will thrive inside the jar, and the ant farm will become a tiny ecosystem. Beads of moisture will form on the sides of the jar. The plants will help provide necessary moisture as well as shelter and a natural environment in which to live. Lightly water the plants after the beads of moisture evaporate. Be careful not to add too much water and drown the ants. Use an eyedropper to water the plants near their base.

It's not necessary to make holes in the lid of the jar. The amount of oxygen required is miniscule, and it will be replenished when the lid is opened to feed the ants and water the foliage.

You can also add a few small polished stones, sticks, or any other interesting objects. Use your imagination to create a unique but functional ant farm. You'll be amazed at the complexity of the tunnels and chambers the ants create. They will provide hours of entertainment, and they'll soon become the most interesting and unique conversation piece in your home.

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