How to set up an ant farm

Hello, fellow myrmecologists! Are you ready to study ants?

Ants are fascinating to observe, but there’s only so much of an ant’s life you can see on the ground. To take you to the underground life of an ant, try an ant farm.

We tried out the Giant Ant Farm. It’s so large, making it perfect for more than one child to observe ants, whether at home or in a classroom.

This is what came in the box:

The farm, an ant order form, ant food for a year, a water dropper, a straw, and sand.

Step 1: Fill the farm

There are cotton puffs blocking the holes so the sand won’t fall into the top area.

Pouring in sand

Next, add water to the farm:

pouring in water

The farm is nearly ready! The harvester ants, feeling air coming through the sponge, are futilely trying to escape.

Finally, push down the cotton puffs to allow access to the sand and to give the ants some tunnel starters.

Step 2: Bring the ants home

Before opening your package of ants, put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. (NOT the freezer!) This slows them down so you don’t have a stampede.

To put the ants in the farm, nudge one gently with the straw. It will grab onto the straw.

grabbing an ant

And put it into the farm. You may need to encourage it to grab onto the plastic shapes in the farm.

When the ants are in, close up the lid and let loose your mini myrmecologists.

Other ant farms and formicariums to try:

Classic Ant Farm

Illuminated Gel Ant Farm

Ant Hill

Ant series

For more on ants, see the rest of our articles in this series or follow us on Twitter and Pinterest.

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