Observing the habits of ants can be a fascinating experience, as these insects have complex lives that feature a captivating social hierarchy. Witnessing all of the components of an ant colony in its natural setting is not possible since ants create subterranean colonies. Luckily, ant farms allow people to watch the daily functions of an ant colony from the comfort of their homes.
Those that wish to own an ant colony will first have to obtain a formicarium-a term essentially synonymous with an ant farm. There are plenty of different formicarium models, and people can certainly create their own ant farm enclosure if they do not wish to buy one. However, for those that are willing to spend a little bit on a formicarium, purchasing a starter set provides an owner with an easy-to-use model that offers a fantastic view of the ant colony. An additional benefit of starter sets is that they come complete with a substrate (also known as a medium), watering features, and an assortment of components that are key to starting a successful ant colony. Click here (insert your link to ant formicarium starter sets: Talis Us (talis-us.com)) to see some of the top formicarium options available today.
Establishing A Colony
After obtaining a formicarium for ants to live in, look it over to make sure all of the ventilation holes are clear so that air can access the ant colony. You will then need to ensure that your formicarium will be in a hospitable location for ants to survive. Therefore, do not position your formicarium in an area that receives direct sunlight, as too much exposure to the sun will dehydrate your ants. Moreover, avoid placing your formicarium near areas of your house that are particularly hot or cold, as frequent swings in temperatures are detrimental to the health of your ants. A location that has a consistent temperature that is no higher than 82°F and no lower than 65°F will be optimal for an ant colony. Once you have chosen a location for your formicarium, place the enclosure there, and do not move it around after your ants have taken up residence. Moving a formicarium after ants have moved in can pose a danger to your tiny tenants.
After you have moved your formicarium to a satisfactory area of your house, you can prepare to find your ants. Ants can be collected from an outdoor environment, or they can be purchased from a variety of online businesses. If you are not sure which option is best for you, click here (insert this recent article you published: Talis Us (talis-us.com)) to learn more about the pros and cons of buying ants online compared to finding them yourself.
Prospective ant farm owners will also have to decide if they would like a queen to be part of their colony. Including a queen ant in the colony means that your ants will be able to reproduce so long as males are present. This would create a continuous supply of ants so long as a queen survives. Ant farms without a queen ant will perform all of the same functions as an ant farm with a queen except for producing offspring. Collecting a few dozen ants and starting a colony without a queen would be a good way to see if you enjoy having an ant farm, as this option does not involve successive generations of ants and therefore less commitment compared to a colony with a queen. For those that are confident that they are interested in committing to an ant farm, they will certainly want their ant colony to include a queen.
Once you have made these important decisions and taken the necessary steps to prepare your formicarium, you are ready to introduce your tenants!
Maintaining An Ant Farm
Following your introduction of ants to their formicarium, they will soon create an elaborate tunnel system for their colony. In their natural environments, ants go to great lengths to collect food and water for their colony. As the owner of a captive ant farm, it is your responsibility to provide your ants with all of the food and water that they need to maintain optimal colony health-a task that can be surprisingly intricate. Simply giving your ants the same amount of food and water every day will likely not be ideal for the health of their colony.
Too much food will be prone to spoiling as it remains uneaten by the ants, and this could introduce harmful fungi or bacteria into the colony. Owners must therefore carefully monitor how much food their ants are consuming and remove food that is not eaten before it spoils. Ant farm owners should also keep an eye out for dead ants in their colony, as the bodies of these ants also have the potential to spoil and introduce dangers to the colony. The cleaner that an ant farm is kept, the longer the medium can last without needing to be replaced. A standard medium such as sand is capable of easily lasting for several months before requiring replacement, but if food or expired ants begin to spoil in your ant farm, the medium may need to be replaced sooner.
Feeding And Watering Your Ants
Consistently providing your ants with food and water is paramount to the prosperity of the colony. Ants probably will not require daily feedings, but food every two or three days will be necessary. Many formicarium starter kits include food that you can feed your ants, but if you do not purchase a formicarium or you wish to provide your ants with a different treat, there are plenty of options to give them. Ants will eat nearly every food that humans eat, but this does not mean that you should feed your ants anything. Foods that are too sticky, soft, or sweet can pose a danger to your ants as they attempt to feed on them. Moreover, such foods tend to spoil faster than other food sources. Some sites may say that feeding ants honey is a good way to provide them with a sugary treat, but this is generally not advisable since honey is a very sticky food. Feeding your ants sugar water is a much better option.
If your ant colony has a queen, then you will have small, young ants that live in your colony. Protein should be supplied to colonies with young ants since consuming it will allow young ants to grow quickly. Possible protein sources include insects that can be purchased from a store like small crickets, fruit flies, or mealworms. Additionally, small scraps of cooked meat or eggs that have been cooked are good sources of protein for ants.
Generally, young ants should have a protein-packed diet while older ants should transition to a diet featuring sugary foods with occasional protein. In addition to sugar water, tiny fruit pieces can be given to ants, but keep in mind that they should not be too soft, sweet, or sticky.
Supplying ants with water is a very simple responsibility. Again, many formicarium starter sets come with a watering kit, but for those that do not have access to this, a simple bottle cap filled with water and placed on the surface of your enclosure will be more than sufficient.
Maintaining Moisture And Humidity
Ensuring that your ant farm is humid and moist will help prevent ants from becoming dehydrated, create an environment similar to their natural setting, and aid in the maintenance of temperature. Though providing a water source helps ants to stay hydrated, such a water source is not sufficient for creating a moist and humid environment for ants. Luckily, a few sprays of water per day from a spray bottle on the sides of the formicarium will do the job. It is important that owners spray the sides of the enclosure rather than the medium or the ants.
Owning a colony of ants can be a fascinating and rewarding experience, as the lives of these insects are incredibly impressive considering their minute size. In addition to being a captivating experience, owning an ant farm is exceptionally easy. After establishing an ant colony, owners simply need to give their ants food and water every few days while monitoring for spoiling food or expired ants. Add a daily spray or two of water to the walls of the enclosure to maintain moisture and humidity and your ants will live happy and healthy lives in their formicarium.
Though the startup costs of establishing an ant farm may be a few hundred dollars if you purchase a formicarium starter set, the recurring expenses are extremely minimal compared to other pets. Overall, owning an ant farm is an affordable and entertaining experience for those interested in low-maintenance pets!