Arizona, United States
Posted Nov 14, 2012
When my sister and I were younger, we got one of neatest crazes at the time: an Ant Farm! We had the basic green plastic one and I remember being impatient upon learning that we had to order our ants separately. It took a few weeks for them to arrive, but once they did; into the "farm" they went. :) We waited and watched as our ants began digging their tiny tunnels, sometimes getting a magnifying glass to see them better.Carpenter ants are sent for the farms because of their red body and their larger size, so that seeing them is easier than other ants. I honestly don't remember what we fed them, but upon doing a little research, they can be fed just about anything...think about when you are having a picnic and magically, ants appear! LOL
It is suggested that Carpenter Ants, which are the ones that come in the still sold and even updated Farms, be fed small seeds, bits of honey, jelly, etc.. They can also eat fruit flies, which are small and abundant in most parts of the Country.
I recommended these ants as "pets," for children aged 8 and up because without a Queen, these worker ants (workers are all female) have varied life spans. An eight year old and older will be able to understand the explanation of the possibility of their ants dying rather quickly, but that they can also last up to two to three months. A younger child may not be able to handle the farm itself and you'll have loose ants.
FAST FACT: when you see Carpenter Ants on the surface of an anthill or out foraging, they are near the end of their life cycle. These may be collected and put into the ant farm, but you need to be aware that their lives will be short.
Our first Ant Farm worked splendidly, allowing my sister and I to see multiple tunnels and to watch the busy little things, "working." A few years later, I obtained another of the same. This time, things went just a little wrong:
About a week after adding our ants to this farm, my sister (of course it was HER fault) bumped the dresser we had it on and it fell over. This resulted in, "the escape of the ants," and a rather perturbed mother! LOL
Now, all different types of farms can be purchased. These range from the standard plastic green ones to ones filled with gel and even led colored ones! There's even one that allows you to see your ants on your ceiling-it's a tube and I know I personally wouldn't like that one because the ants can't really spread out.
If you purchase one of the large farms now available and want to have a queen, thereby extending the life of the ants, you can catch one without destroying an established colony during the "Nuptial Flight" and catching a fertile "Princess." You can also get a queen if you destroy the established colony, although this is pretty difficult to do.
Oh, don't forget to give your ants water, as they can't live without it. If you purchase the gel type farm, you don't have to water them as they will get adequate moisture from the gel.
"Uncle Milton," Levine is the official Creator of the Ant Farm, which he first made in 1956.