Ant Farm Extravaganza

Why is this sleep deprived mother corralling ants after midnight? Well it all began like this….

As a homeschooling mom I naturally look for educational opportunities for my children. So when I found a brand new ant farm at the thrift store my enthusiastic optimism took hold. Maybe part of the excitement stems from my love of such things as a child. But let’s forgo the psychoanalysis for now.

I eagerly sent the provided order form to some ant farm in California for some special ants. Inwardly, I fought the temptation to harvest my own ant colony from my kitchen window sill but “No, this must be done the proper way!” I told myself.

Just today we received the delivery of ants. All of us glowed with anticipation. I literally ran across the house to get the ant farm. Good thing my husband slowed me down with the instructions of how to care for the ants. They come in a opaque, plastic tube with a stopper at one end. My husband told me that this tube should be put in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes before attempting to put them into the farm.

I thought that these precautions to avoid being bit sounded extreme. In my excitement I only put them in to cool down for twelve minutes, figuring their jet lag from the long trip, by mail, would have them somewhat drowsy. The humbling moment came when I attempted to put the insects into their new home and realized that they were large red ants and still had enough energy to fight the transfer.

What was my husband thinking as I had ants overflowing onto our counter and proceeded to yell for assistance? He must have known in his heart that I had the matter under control for he did not run to my aide. Then again he might be a tad desensitized to my daily catastrophies. You be the judge.

Much to my relief my children and I managed to contain the AWOL ants. This time I put them back in the fridge for the entire 15 minutes. At this point I decided it looked easier just to attach the tube directly to a side hole of the farm instead of risking more six legged escapes. I beat myself up for not having such a brilliant plan the first time.

The plan seemed beautiful until the majority of the ants decided to migrate back to their original home and I had to start from scratch. This process required putting them back in the fridge several times and using a stick that came with the farm to prod them down into the farm.

That brings us up to the present where at 12:30 AM I have just managed to coerce the last ant into it’s new home .

Next time my children desire some first hand observation experiences I might just take them to the zoo .


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