ANT FARM CARE TIPS and DO's and Dont's

 QUICK GUIDE

Caring for your new Colony

 

Thank you for shopping with Ant Shop Australia, your One Stop Ant Shop. Please read on, for some tips, to help look after your new Formicidae (Fancy Pants talk for Ants).

- Let them move themselves…. No one wants to be evicted, and ants are stubborn buggers. Don’t shake them out of the test tube. If you fit their tube to an adaptor, or place it in the outworld, they’ll move when they’re ready. You can certainly encourage them by placing the tube at a slight downwards angle.

- Keep the sponge in the main nest area moist! Water means you’ll have humidity, and humidity is what they need. All of our nests have hydration holes, so remember to keep the sponges wet, to capacity. (As wet as they can be without flooding the nest area, Pupae don’t like being wet)

- Keep the gates in the nest, until your colony requires more room…. If you give them too much room at once, they’ll just be slobs, and start piling up rubbish!

- Ant sand….. you only need a thin layer of this, because if you want to watch them, you don’t want them digging in! So no need for any more than a few millimetres deep. Don’t wet it either….it will clump and they’ll want to dig.

- Keep a water source available to them, such as a water tower.

- What about tucker? We need to eat too! Well, most of the ants we sell, and you find in Australia, have a sweet tooth…. Sweet mandible? So give them access to a sweet food source. We sell quantities of sweet energy sources for them, labelled “Ant Tucker” and a variety of other brands. We don’t recommend honey mixed with water, as it can trap our little mates and lead to a sad afternoon.

 

DO's and Don'ts

IMPORTANT:  IF YOUR TEST TUBE HAS A HOLE DRILLED IN THE WATER END, DO NOT REMOVE THE BLUE TAC OFF THE HOLE AS THIS WILL CAUSE THE SEEPAGE OF WATER INTO THE NEST AREA FLOODING THE ANTS. WE DO DRAIN THE WATER OUT OF TEST TUBES PRIOR TO TRANSPORT, THIS PREVENTS FLOODING AND DROWNING OF THE COLONY. (the water in the tube can be refilled or a little added by removing the Blue Tac, putting water in and replacing the Blue Tac.

DO NOT FORCE THE COLONY OUT OF THE TEST TUBE AS THIS CAN BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE COLONIES HEALTH, THEY WILL COME OUT IN THERE OWN TIME WHEN THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE.  

DO NOT PUT THE TEST TUBE ON A HEAT MAT OR CABLE THEIS WILL OVERHEAT THE ANTS AND DESTROY THE COLONY.

DO NOT REMOVE THE PLASTIC TABS THAT SEPARATE THE NEST AREAS AS THESE SHOULD ONLY BE REMOVED AS THE COLONY GROWS IN SIZE.

Some Ants have been in these test tubes for over 12 months, in that time a dark mould can appear on the wool, this is NOT harmful to the Colony and is quite natural in a test tube setup. Also it should be noted that we do colour the water in our tubes with food Dye to allow easy identification and sorting.

(TIP: if you remove a tab and cut a hole in it with a hole punch you can fit it back in for a perfect invader proof seal)

You have purchased an amazing product designed for Australian Ants with different size tunnels to suit different sizes of Ants.

As your colony grows you may need to purchase one of our larger models so that your colony does not become overcrowded. (most larger Acrylic models have expansion sleeves/gates that enable your Ant Farm to get bigger as your colony grows (see TIP above), as Ants like a more confined space to begin with and will only make rubbish piles if provided with too much space.)

Only put enough Ant Sand in the Outworld to just cover the bottom of the Outworld as you don't want the Ants to Tunnel into the sand.

When you first put your colony in the outworld, DO NOT empty the ants out of the test tube.  Just sit the Test Tube in the Ant Farm near the nest entrance they will move when ready some difficult ones have taken a couple of weeks, patience is the key to succesfull ant keeping. TIP: if you have a small outworld that will not take the test tube horizontally, simply put it in on an angle with coconut oil applied to the open end first half of the test tube. This oil can also be used around the top of the outworld to prevent escapes and also trap unwanted scout invaders.

Ants do drink water so always have a water tower available for them to drink from, these are available in the Essentials section of our shop. Combine the postage and SAVE. (all the feeders come in the Package deal sets)

Most Ants eat sweet foods, we feed all ours our own ANT TUCKER readily available in our store. NOTE: our Ants are all raised on ANT TUCKER using a less favourable food may affect colony growth). TIP: Ants will often get stuck in honey we do not recommend it.

Outworlds (sold separately but included in the Package deals) on some models are always a good idea to attach to your Antfarm, as this gives the Ants a foraging area away from the Nest and they will also use this area to dispose of their rubbish. Insects and drinking feeders can be placed in the outworld.

The Hebel Block Ant Farm is easily hydrated by simply watering the unit where the base joins with the stand or through one of the injection ports that leads to a sponge hydration chamber. (some species require little hydration, but all will require access to water in small quantities.) Too much water will destroy the young that spin a cocoon or pupae as the silk spoils.

Acrylic Ant Farms assembly:

Our Australian made Formicariums (Ant Farms) are already assembled ready to post, outworlds can also be attached by us to suit the size of the Ants and Farm.

Our Australian made Ant Farms are sent out with the Outworld as DIY assembly, as these can be damaged in the post, they are simple to assemble and full instructions are provided, the out world flat pack also assists with overseas postage requirements.

Remove the protective coating off the Acrylic best way is to get a small pin or blade in the corner of each piece and lift and peel it off from there.

Acrylic Ant Farms come with automatic Hydration that needs to be watered regulary to keep up the humidity in the nest area. Some models have test tubes that have water and cotton areas that provide the humidity and moisture. But remember the biggest enemy to a Pupae (spun cocoon is water flooding it).

Our models with the soaker sponge can stay hydrated for 1 to 2 weeks at a time where as common kitchen sponge with only hydrate for a few days and deteriorated more rapidly from introduced bacteria.

Different Ants have different food requirments eg: Camponotus will drink sugar/water 50/50 mix (this should be kept in the refrigerator) or you can purchase our ANT TUCKER and other related products and they all love our food varieties.

Mymercia Adults will drink the honey or sugar  water, but the Larvae require protein on a regular basis. Also when they are pupating they will need sand or dirt to assist in the spinning the cocoon or pupae.

Myrmecia (Bullant) from egg to  larvae to Pupae to worker. (up to 9 months full cycle)

Myrmecia in the Pupae stage will will take between 5 and 8 weeks to become  a worker. In the larger Myrmecia it takes longer, the smaller ones such as Pilosula 3 to 5 weeks. In the wild the Ants bring the Pupae to the surface to get warmth to assist in the transformation. Having a heat cable or mat in an area of the Formicarium can quicken the process and ensure that they don't die in there from lack of temperature gradient. Pupae that don't hatch in the summer months are unlikely to hatch with out heat assistance if kept in cold areas where no access to heat is available, we sell a range of heat cable mats and rocks in our store for the colder months or to speed up the process. Care should always be taken that the Queen has the ability to move the Pupae away from the heat as they do in the wild where at night they are moved to the depths of the colony. Information from www.antshopaus.com.au

Our products are Made in Australia  with the Australian Ants in mind. They have all been tested and found to be the best available for specific species. Some products sold in Australia from large chain stores are unsuitable for our Ants and a purchase can cause disappointment.

Gel Antfarms are not suitable at all for any of our Ants, we have tested them and they are only good to observe a few workers digging tunnels, they will not survive in there.

Important Tips: Never expose the Antfarm to direct sunlight. Use a heat cable in the colder months to promote activity. (sold separately), use our formulated ANT TUCKER for strong colony growth.

TIPS for Releasing Ants:

Tip: release the Ants by placing the test tube with the lid off in the outworld.  They will come out when ready sometimes it can take a week or two.  To encourage exit from the test tube, put a towel or similar over the nest area to make that area darker.

For easy access to the Outworld area we recommend long tweezers for maintenance and removing and filling Feeding towers. (long 20cm tweezers available in the essentials section of the shop)

Do not remove the extension gates until the colony has stated to multiply and always keep the bottom sponge hydrated, this can be done by using a blunt tip syringe to wet the sponges.  (the long tweezers and blunt syringes are available in the Ant Shop in the essentials section.)

Where the lid goes on put some coconut oil on your finger and run it around the inside of the rim, this will prevent ants coming out when you take the lid of for any maintenance.

I can be contacted at phailes@bigpond.net.au for and specific issues.