Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Ants Come Marching Two by Two

Shortly after I posted my last ant update, I did indeed purchase the blue gel ant farm. I also decided to go ahead and order ants from an online source instead of waiting to get the farm and send in the form. That took many weeks last time and I was too impatient to wait.

When I returned home from our roadtrip, the box with the live ants was waiting in my mailbox. Oops. Guess I didn't plan that very well, did I? I wasn't expecting them to ship so fast! I'm not sure how long they sat in my mailbox, but let's just say quite a few didn't survive the trip.

Thankfully, the ant farm was also waiting in my box. To be honest, the last thing I felt like doing when we arrived home from a 10 hour drive was to deal with putting my new guests into their home. But, I didn't have any choice. I quickly got everything set up, placed the tube of ants in the refrigerator, and made the holes in the gel as instructed. It was while I read the directions for this task that I realized Sully had made the holes in our other farm too big. That might have contributed to the ants not really doing any tunneling.

This time around, the cold of the refrigerator really sedated the ants. I also had a paper funnel to help transfer them to the farm. The whole process went much more smoothly this time and I wasn't nearly as stressed (okay - scared) as the time before.

I left the ants to do their thing and didn't pay them much attention until the next morning. Imagine our surprise when we saw that these ants had already started tunneling! These girls are hard workers, let me tell you! And they immediately put all of their dead ant friends over to the side. I felt brave enough to try and remove a few here and there, but then the ants decided to start burying the dead with the gel balls they'd removed from the tunnels. This is what our other ants were supposed to do! No carrying around the dead ants back and forth in an endless death march.

A picture of the two farms side by side. The funny thing is, it appears as if the first batch of ants has been trying to do some tunneling. Sully thinks it's because they see the other ants and now know what to do. ;-)

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