Welcome To Your Ecosystem Ant Habitat Kit Directions
Your kit includes :
- Ant habitat with clear gel
- Clear stick for making starter holes
- Magnifier for close-up viewing of ants, tunnels and roots
- 2 Palm trees to decorate with
- Bag of colorful rocks to decorate with
- Bag of seeds to grow
Setting Up Your Habitat
- If your habitat came with ants, put them in the refrigerator while you read these directions.
- Remove the ant habitat lid. Sprinkle the seeds evenly around the top of the gel.
- Use the clear stick we provided to poke around 8 -1 inch deep holes in the gel. Use the stick to push a seed or so into the hole. The hole will help the ants to begin their tunnels, and you can also observe what happens to seeds that are below the surface.
- Add your colorful rocks. You can move them around with your stick to make the ant’s new house look inviting. It is ok that the seeds are under the rocks.
- Add you palm trees. Make sure to push them far enough into the gel that they are below the lid so the lid still closes tightly.
- Add your ants: If you ordered ants with the habitat, add them per the directions with the ants. Or catch ants from your yard. Larger ants all from the same colony are best. Or order them online at www.NatureGifts.com. Use caution as ants can sting. Be careful not to touch them. Close the lid immediately to keep them from getting out.
Note: Ants can take time to adjust to the habitat and may not start tunneling for up to 48 hours.
Caring for you Ants and Plants
Your ants and plants only need the gel already in the Habitat in order to thrive. You do not need to feed or water them. Keep your ant Habitat at room temperature (65˚to 78˚F) and out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight may cause condensation in the Habitat, which is not healthy for the ants. Also, keep the lid on the Habitat at all times to prevent introducing bacteria into it or risking ant escape. Only open the lid of your Habitat once a week for just a moment to allow in fresh air. Do not place other insects or objects into the Habitat as this can damage or contaminate the gel and harm the ants. If the plants reach the lid of the container and look like they may push up the lid to allow ant escape, put the whole habitat into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to put the ants to sleep for a minute. Then quickly trim the plants and replace the lid.
Cool Things to Observe:
- Did your ants move around the rocks or the seeds? They like to decorate their house their own way.
- Is there a difference in how fast the surface seeds sprout than the seeds you pushed into the gel?
- Do the ants cut the grass or move it after it has sprouted?
- Ants will create a ‘graveyard’ at the surface for passed away ants. Ants do this to help prevent disease within the colony.
- Ants ‘talk’ to each other using scent, sound, touch and sight. See if you observe your ants ‘talk’ to each other by touching antennae.
- Watch for ant teamwork being used in such things as connecting two tunnels. Tunnels are used to connect chambers/rooms ants use for nurseries, food storage, and mating.
- Watch ant activity –do they work 24 hours? While some ants are sleeping, others are hard at work.
- Do ants take baths? Watch closely and you will see them rub their faces with their legs. Hairs on their legs act like brushes so they can groom themselves.
- Where’s the queen ant? Sorry, there is NO queen here. Ant habitats are not designed to contain a large queen and the thousands of young she produces every day.
Ready for More Ants?
When your ant colony expires, you can re-use the ant Habitat and gel several times! Your gel is good for several colonies worth of digging ants. Just rinse out the Habitat of dead ants and gel debris from the tunnels. Drain the excess water. New ants will use existing tunnels plus dig additional ones. We also sell replacement gel at www.NatureGifts.com if you ever need more. The best time to order ants is when it is between 40˚ and 85˚F in your area.