Ant farms can be an expensive way to keep an ant habitat. They are generally sold with a rectangular habitat serving as the farm and often have a soil substitute for the ants to burrow in. It is possible, however, to make an ant farm for far less. A homemade ant farm is a more customisable habitat that can be made in any size or shape.
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Things you need
- Fish tank or bowl, or jar
Start with a glass or Plexiglas structure. It must be clear so that you can see the ant tunnels once they form. Fish tanks or smaller fish bowls work well as ant farms, but they will have to be modified slightly to make the tunnels visible.
Place an object in the centre of the structure that will keep the ants near the glass. This will ensure that you can see tunnels they dig. To shape the interior structure to fit the container, cut sturdy pieces of cardboard and glue them in place to hold the dirt near the glass. For a sturdier ant farm, cut pieces of glass or study plastic and glue them in place with rubber cement.
Construct a tightly fitting lid for the ant farm. This should be glass or a thick plastic that ants can’t chew through. Drill holes in the top for air and make an opening that will allow you to drop food into the farm. If you're using a jar, simply punch small holes in the lid.
Look for ants. Large black ants are the least likely to be aggressive. They will also build large enough tunnels to create an interesting effect in the ant farm. Get your ants from the same colony, or they may fight each other. Scoop them up into a jar and place some of the dirt surrounding their original home in another jar.
Place the ants in the refrigerator to slow their movement. The ants will go into a mini-hibernation that will allow you to put them into the ant farm more easily. While they are cooling off, put the dirt into your ant farm. Place a few drops of water in the dirt and add a few crumbs of food. Place the ants in and close the top. They will need to be fed several times a week. When feeding, replenish the moisture in the ant farm with a few drops of water.