Friday, March 27, 2009

We have bugs in our house!

They are well-enclosed, and we brought them inside intentionally. Caroline has an ant farm. :)

Her Uncle Stephen gave it to her for Christmas. We'd been waiting to order the ants because they are cheaper during the months of March-September, and well, they aren't actually guaranteed to arrive alive in the colder months unless you pay extra for better shipping. So, the ants arrived in the mail yesterday, and we started the farm by poking four starter holes and then dumping the ants in - all 30 of them, although some were dead. We'll pick those out after the living ants are mostly down in the tunnels they will dig.The ant farm contains this cool blue gel that sustains the ants as well as provides them with something to create their tunnels. It lights up when plugged in - very high-tech! The box says for ages 8 and up, but as Stephen said, "Well, she's smart for her age, right?"

The ants just ran around on the surface at first, looking confused. The directions said they might not tunnel for 24 to 48 hours since the gel is a new substance to them.

Apparently these ants are pretty advanced, because the next morning, they'd begun tunneling in three of the four starter holes (the fourth hole is blocked by a dead ant, I think - oops). These photos were taken almost 24 hours after we dumped the ants in. Pretty cool-looking, huh?

A close-up of some of the ants in their tunnel... the farm (ahem, excuse me, "habitat," as the box says) came with some magnifying glasses so you can observe the ants up close and personal, count the hairs on their legs and fun stuff like that.

Several ants want to extend this tunnel, it seems...

After her initial worry about the ants getting out, and whether or not they were "stinging" ants (they *are* red, actually), Caroline thought the ant farm was really neat! It is on the bookshelf in her bedroom where she can observe it. A really cool thing is that once all these ants die, we can get a new batch (colony?) and they will change the tunnels to whatever suits them. I guess we can keep re-using it until the gel is mostly gone.

And here is a view looking down from above - you can see the lights shining through it here.

I will post updates on the ant farm periodically, so check back to see their progress! Chris was kicking the idea around of a "Caroline's Ant Farm Webcam," actually...

1 comment:

mel said...

Very cool!

Hey, I meant to ask in the last post, how do you like the Joseph and Chico book?