Since my “How to Build Your Own Formicarium” page is one of my most visited articles, I thought I’d share some pictures (and occasionally brief directions) that might provide some inspiration for other ways to rear your ants.
Essentially this page is “How to Build a Bunch of Different Formicaria” sans most of the building directions. (But I’m happy to field questions.)
Most of these pictures were taken from setups demonstrated at the Ants of the Southwest course, and the rest are my own. Please enjoy!
The go-to method for rearing ant queens which practice claustral founding is to place them in a nest tube like this. The base of the tube is filled with water and plugged with a cotton ball to create a humid environment.
Probably the simplest ant colony design–a tube nest in a petri dish. The tube is held in place with clay to keep it from rolling.
An Aphaenogaster ant colony in small fluon-lined tray with several tube-nests.
Monomorium ants with a tube nest. Cotton and a straw has been used to make a smaller entrance for these tiny ants.
Carpenter ants in a stacked colony design with tubes connecting the levels. One of the levels contains a plaster floor and is darkened with red tape.
Holes for tubes were melted with a soldering iron, and tubes were connected via microcentrifuge tubes hot glued into place with the ends cut off. Holes can be capped if tubes are rearranged.
Carpenter ants checking out air holes at the top of the stacked colony.
Rover ants in a flat plaster nest ant colony. Tupperware tub is lined with fluon. The petri dish covers set into the plaster and can be lifted out if needed.
Acrobat ants in a flat plaster nest.
Tunnel designs can be layed out with modeling clay or hot glue. (The hot glue might not come back off, though!)
Line a container with fluon, then pour plaster into the bottom. Press in your petri dish nest mold and a watering tube.
In a bigger container you can do more than one “nest” with many entrances.
Rover ants nesting in plaster nest. This is a small colony, so they’ve blocked off excess tunnels.
Rover ants and queen with brood in plaster nest.
Dr. Ana Dornhaus creates nests for acorn ants (Temnothorax) using a square border of cardboard taped between two glass slides.
A standing plaster ant nest.
Ant Farms: How to Build Your Own Formicarium