Studying Ant Colony Behavior

Ant History

Ants are insects that developed from wasp-like creatures over 100 million years ago. Today there are over 12,000 species of ants that have been classified.

Ants form colonies that range in population from a few dozen living in small natural cavities to millions that live in larger structures they build in the ground. The colonies consist of three types of ants. Sterile, wingless females, fertile males, and fertile females referred to as queens. The sterile female ants serve as soldiers or workers in the colony.

Ants work together in colonies to build their habitat and recreate. The process can be fascinating to watch for children and adults alike. Due to the fact that most ant colony behavior takes place beneath the ground, humans must use ant habitats or ant farms to observe ant colony behavior.

Ant Farming

The ant farm is designed to study ant and ant colony behavior by offering a great observation tool for the classroom or just for fun. Myrmecologists study ant behavior, and with an ant farm you can take a look into the world of myrmecology (the study of ants).

Close up of an AntTunneling Ants

Ant Farm Types

The Ant FarmAnt Farm by Uncle Milton is a classic ant farm that has a green farm scene with a clear viewing pane surrounded by a green frame. The farm is usually filled with sand, dirt, or other media. These ant farms have a low price point making them accessible to classrooms and families of all budgets. In order to properly care for your ants, you will need to open the ant farm and make sure the ants have food and water. The down side is that this increases the chances of the ants getting out of the farm and into places you do not want them.

In recent years the Ant Farm has been modernized with improvements to visibility. A modern alternative ant farm is the AntWorks Illuminated Habitat

AntWorks Illuminated Habitat

Illuminated Ant FarmThe AntWorks ant farm is completely see through thanks to a gel that NASA developed when studying ants tunneling at zero gravity. The gel holds nutrition and water so that you do not have to provide the ants with nourishment. The AntWorks Illuminated Habitat is available with either red, green, or blue gel. The setup also includes LED lighting in the base so that you can view the ants at night. All of this is housed in a tightly sealed 6.5L x 6.0W x 1.25D clear acrylic habitat to minimize ants escaping into your house, lab, or classroom.

Set Up

Set up of the green AntWorks Illuminated ant farm was easy using the provided instruction manual. After assembling it and testing the LED lights the next step was to go out and find some ants. There are two options for getting your ants, you can either send in the coupon provided with the kit or find your own ants. After finding the ants, they were put into the ant farm which was covered with a towel for 3 days to allow the ants to get used to their new home. After adjusting to life on the ant farm the ants have created a spectacular tunnel system that looks even better in the dark with the LED lights on. They are fascinating creatures to watch and learn from.

For more information, Wikipedia has in depth information about insects including ants . You can always call Heath Scientific as well.