Workers: What Kinds of Ants Live in an Ant Nest? (page 2)

Author: Janice VanCleave

Show Time!

Prepare and observe your own ant colony. Place a small jar with a closed lid inside a larger jar. (The small jar will force the ants to stay near the sides of the larger jar, where you can see them.) Repeat the original experiment, but spoon the soil and ants into the larger jar. Fill the jar so that the soil is at least 2 inches (5 cm) below the mouth of the jar. Brush any ants off the outside of the jar with your gloved hand and cover the mouth of the jar with a knee-high stocking.

Set the jar in a large pan of water. (The water will help keep any ants that might eat through the stocking from leaving the jar.) Give the ants 1 day to get settled. Replace the stocking if it has holes. Place a small piece of moistened sponge on top of the soil. Scatter cracker or bread crumbs on the soil.

Put the ant colony in a place where it will not be disturbed. Be sure to keep it at room temperature and out of direct light. With a spoon, remove the old food and replace it with fresh food every other day. Keep the sponge moist with fresh water by removing it with a spoon and wetting it or by dropping water on it from an eyedropper. Observe the ants for a week or more, then return them to where you found them.


Check It Out!

Not all ants build nests in the ground. Spinner ants make their nests by connecting tree leaves together with silk woven by their larvae. The worker ants hold the larvae and move them back and forth across the connected leaves. Silk from larvae bonds the leaves together. Find out more about nest building by ants. Where do carpenter ants make their nests?

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