Ant farm

The classic ant farm is thin and stands upright. It is constructed to simulate life beneath the surface and give the ant keeper a good view of the nest.

You need: 2 pieces of glass, 4 pieces of wood (or similar), glue, something to create holes in the lid with, some sort of foot, dirt/sand

ant farm formicarium build setup done
ant farm formicarium build needed

1. Preparations

Let’s create a classic ant farm! Start by making sure you have all the things you’ll need for the project. First of all, you need two pieces of glass of the same size. Second, you need something that will work as the sides of the formicarium. This guide will be using wood as an example, but you can use any other material, like glass, that have the same properties. The size of the sides is up to you – the thinner the sides are the less space the ants will have. It all depends on the species, but roughly between 1,5 and 3 centimetres (0,6-1,2 inches) is recommended.

To make sure the formicarium will keep together we need something to fixate it with. This is easily solved by using silicone made for aquariums, fee of toxins. We don’t want the ants to be poisoned as they step into their new home. And don’t forget to let it dry!

The classic ant farm needs dirt or sand (or rather, a mixture of the two).

Lastly, we need something to pop holes through the lid. For example, hammer and nails or a screwdriver.

ant farm formicarium build side wood

2. Get the right measurements

If you have your two pieces of glass ready it is time to make sure the wooden sides fits. Make them as wide as you want your formicarium to be, and adapt their length to the length of the glass.

When you are done you’ll have two side walls, a bottom and a lid. The lid can be cut into two pieces if desired. It may provide easier access without the ants escaping when you’re opening it up. Use a thin nail or a screwdriver to make tiny holes. The ants need to breath – but we don’t want them escaping.

It might also be a good idea to prepare the short sides for the future. You might want to expand the nest in the future, or maybe you just want to move your ants to a bigger place. Make holes the size of a connecting tube, around 1,5 cm (0,6 inches) wide. One on each side.

ant farm formicarium build framewrork silicone
ant farm formicarium build framwork

3. Fixate the framework

When all parts are cut and adjusted to fit with each other it is time to put it all together. Start with the framework. Use your silicone to glue the sides together. Make sure the shape fits the glass so the construction isn’t skewed.

Please note! Do not fixate the lid. But use it to make sure the framework fits.

An alternative tot his method is to glue the sides directly to the glass.

ant farm formicarium build glass sides

4. Fixate the glass

When the framework is done and dry, put new silicone on the outer parts of the glass pieces. Then put the wooden framework on top of it and gently press them together, making sure that there are no holes for the ants to escape. After this, simply put the another string of silicone on the framework and fixate the other piece of glass on top of it. Push it done gently.

ant farm formicarium build glued

5. Does the lid fit?

We’re almost done! When the formicarium has dried up it is time to make sure the lid fits. If it doesn’t, make a new one or adapt the current one to the measurements of the construction. For example you can use sandpaper to make sure every millimetre of it is escape proof.

ant farm formicarium build foot footer

6. A leg to stand on

Since the classic ant farm is a tall one, it easily tips over. If you want to be a safe antkeeper (we recommend it!), make a nice piece of support as seen in the image. It can either be a really nice looking one or simply a flat piece of wood or glass. As long as it keeps the ant farm steady!

ant farm formicarium build setup done

7. We’re done!

And that’s about as hard as it gets. For more information on what to feed your ants and how to care for them, see Nutrition and Care.


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