I'm so super excited to share this project with you. ANT FARMS are fun to make and fascinating to observe with your little ones! L and I have been staring at our jar all day, reading kids books on insects, watching some National Geographic clips on ants, and we've found some fun facts along the way. Within the first 24 hrs of placing your ants inside your DIY ANT FARM, they will dig tunnels and make chambers right before your eyes!
The ants you collect will most likely be "worker ants" and all worker ants are female...pretty amazing! Most ant colonies contain one queen ant who lays all the eggs, male ants whose only job is to make babies with the queen, and worker ants who gather food, dig tunnels, and protect the colony. When collecting ants you want to be sure to only collect ants from one colony, otherwise the ants will fight to their death inside your jar.
-large jar (pickle jar)
-small jar (jam jar or spice jar)
-loose, sandy soil (Cactus/Citrus Soil works great!)
-small jar or cup
-jam or sugar water
To make your ant farm, place the small jar upside down, inside the larger jar.
Next, carefully spoon the soil into the jar. L would place a spoonful on the top of the little jar and then brush the soil down along the sides. It does not have to be packed tightly, just filled to the top.
To collect ants, put about one tsp. of sugar water or jam into a separate jar or cup and place it outside on its side. This is your ant trap. You may want to set a few ant traps around your garden and be patient. It can take a few days for the ants to discover your bait, but once they do many will follow!
After your ant farm is made and the ants have been caught, quickly and carefully dump your ants inside your ant farm and screw on the cap. You'll want about 10-20 ants. I think we have about 5 ants in our jar...it takes a couple minutes to find them, but works just fine! They are busy digging all those tunnels and chambers all by themselves!
Once a week, open the lid to your jar and place a few drops of sugar water and/or a couple pieces of bird seed. You don't want to feed them too much, once a week is plenty! When you open your jar to feed the ants, plenty of fresh oxygen will enter the jar as well...no need for holes! Keep your ant farm indoors, not too hot and not too cold, away from direct sunlight.
For more info on ants, check out some books at your local library and click here to see some fascinating photos and videos from National Geographic! Enjoy!!!