The Ants Go Marching

I’ve always thought ant farms were so cool. Honestly, who doesn’t? When I was younger I was given an ant farm for my birthday. After ordering the ants, I checked the mailbox in anticipation every day—for two months. Those are the days that I think of every time an Amazon package arrives in just a couple of days. Once the little tube of ants arrived, I chilled them in the fridge, as per the instructions, then dumped them in their new home.

I repeated this process about three times. The first time, all the ants died without digging much, and I’m not sure why. The second time, the ants all escaped from a hole in the top. Determined, the third time I made sure the ants were fed and watered properly and sealed all the holes. Well, all but a little hole at the bottom of the container. I thought the ants probably wouldn’t dig that far. I was so happy to see the ants alive and digging heartily right from the start. That is, until a couple of days later when I went into the garage to check on the ants. They had dug a tunnel in a perfect trajectory for the hole, and they were all gone. Sigh. At least my ants weren’t dumb.

I decided I wanted to try again this summer. With some wood, a Q-tips container, glass from a picture frame, and a lot of hot glue, I made my own ant farm designed to be hung on a wall. I filled it with sand dampened with sugar water, to provide sustenance and structural reinforcement.

I dug up a few shovelfulls of an ant hill in the garden to put in it. So far, the ant tunnels have been very visible and numerous. Unfortunately, the day after gluing it all together, the glue peeled up a bit off the glass. I had to reinforce after some escapes. Also, the cute backdrop turned out to be an ant trap, which is a little sad. I have also had a few escapes from the door in the top, which I’ve been taping down.

My motto for dealing with insects is “If there is a hole, it will escape.” I used to have a pet cricket when I was younger, and I wanted to make sure it had enough air. It escaped and popped up (literally) in the worst place possible—my bed.

I like my ant farm’s on-the-wall feature. It makes it easier to look at the ants without crumbling their delicate tunnels by touching it. However, I’ll need to keep working on a design that is escape-proof.



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