14 POPULAR SCIENCE
PHOTOGRAPH BY RALPH SMITH
/ STAN HORACZEK (2)
KEEPINGANTSALIVEISN’TEASY.ATYPICAL COLONY REQUIRES REGULAR
fruit infusions, lots of water, and protein sources such as mealworms, crickets,
and fruit flies. Because these pets can’t freely roam your home (that’s called
an infestation), you’ll need to set up a formicarium—the technical name for an
ant farm. Forget that chunk of plastic nasty you got for your ninth birthday.
These formicaria are serious scientific instruments. Plus they look cool.
Casita from Tar Heel Ants
Australia’s own Big-headed Ant is a perfect irst subspecies—and this is their ideal starter home. The
aerated concrete material holds in moisture, which provides your insects the humid conditions they
need to thrive. And a port drilled into the back of the unit allows for a quick waterinjection via syringe.
Gypsum Farm from
Established your ant-tending
skills? It’s time to start a colony.
Capture a local queen (but just be
aware that generally, the bigger
the ant, the bigger the sting),
and install her and a few workers
in this formicarium. String the
plaster modules together with
tubing as the population grows.
Omni Nest from
Australia’s common bulldog
ant (Myrmecia pyriformis) has
actually killed people. So these
critters need to be locked down.
This spacious insect domicile is
a series of 17 individual acrylic
chambers held together with steel
screws for maximum security—
and high visibility.
Art by ELEANOR CUMMINS
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