Friday, June 20, 2008

Taking the Ants on a Field Trip

My son has taken an interest in ants. When I say an "interest" this is a nice way of saying that he annoys asks me every 5 minutes if I will help him collect ants to keep in the bucket in the garage. We have been keeping ants in our garage since Monday (I think). So I finally decided maybe we should get an ant farm and make a summer project out of this.

I searched online and found ways to make an ant farm yourself. Basically you need a large clear container. If it's big like a fish tank you can place a smaller plastic bottle inside which will force the ants to make their tunnels closer to the outside of the tank. Then cover it with some kind of small net or cloth. Since I don't have a fish tank or an ant farm, I decided to check freecycle first. I LOVE freecycle! And guess what, I found a lady who had an ant farm still in the box that she wanted to get rid of. I picked it up yesterday and this morning we went out searching for ants.

According to what I read online, we need to dig up an anthill and find the queen ant. Then place her and a bunch of worker ants along with some dirt into the ant farm. In about 24 hours you're supposed to start to see some tunnels. This didn't sound too difficult.

We took the bucket of ants in the car for a field trip so we could find other ants for them to play with. Luckily the ant bucket did not tip in the car. My son wanted to hold it (I think goes against mommy rule #537, children can not hold bugs while in the car), but I found a way to balance it pretty securely between the radio and the cup holder in the front seat. Who knew cup holders also work for ant buckets?!

OK, so we get the ants to the anthill. I brought two shovels since I have 2 kids. Immediately the handle broke off of one shovel (Isn't that part of the say, "no good deed goes unpuished"?). So then I could either let the kids fight over the one shovel or dig for ants myself. I dug ants for over an hour and never found a queen ant! We left with the original ants in the bucket and 37 new ants in the ant farm.

My son is very excited. I'm wondering if Orkin has started selling these ant farms. I'm not too excited about having 37 ants in my house. Still, I think this ant farm (with a lid!) is a lot better than a bucket of ants in the garage.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Wow, you're a brave mommy, Cookie! There's no way ants are coming into my house, securely contained or not, alive or dead. I HATE ants. And there will be no ant farms in my wee ones' futures. Fortunately, Mister Man shares my loathing and prefers to smush them on sight. Phew!