Many people prefer using a jar to build an ant farm as it is an inexpensive and quick method than creating a large formicarium.
How to Make an Ant Farm in a Jar? You can make an ant farm in a jar by using two jars of different sizes and putting the smaller one upside down in a bigger one after closing the lid and wrapping black paper around it. Add a soil mixture into the bigger jar to fill around 60 to 70% space and transfer ants inside it. Then, place a moist cotton ball as a water source or add a piece of food. Cover the jar with a cloth, and close the lid to protect the ants.
A jar and soda bottle are good alternatives to a large setup when you are interested in building a small ant farm, as you can use household items without buying costly items.
In addition, you cannot put a large colony inside the jar due to the small space. Therefore, it is better to carefully choose an ant type and avoid fire ants, as these can give you a tough time.
How do you make an ant farm in a jar?
It is easy to build an ant farm, mainly when you create it inside a mason jar with a wide mouth with an airtight internal space.
You have to collect all the required items before starting the procedures, including two different sizes of jars, black paper, soil mixture, ants, cotton, cloth, and some plantations if you want.
Select suitable jars
You have to get two jars of different sizes so that the smaller one easily fits inside the larger one, as it provides a suitable platform.
Their material can be hard plastic or glass, as both serve the same purpose, and you can build a small ant farm.
It is better to choose mason jars as they have a wide mouth and make it easy to handle while adding a colony or a water and food source.
Check them thoroughly from all sides to check if any cracks are present, as these insects need only a tiny hole to get out of it.
Moreover, these cracks can also lead to water leakage and make the soil dry quickly, and you have to add water frequently.
Wrap a black paper
Close the lid of the smaller jar tightly to make an airtight space and to avoid the entry of ants inside it.
Wrap it with black paper to make it a dark medium, as these insects like to live in dark places.
Moreover, these insects are adapted to live in underground areas and perform activities in the dark medium, like they form complex tunnels in the soil by navigating under the ground.
It gives a natural feel to insects as they are living underground when you wrap the container with black paper. Then, open a larger container and put it upside down to create a suitable platform.
Make sure that you have tightly closed the lid of the small container; otherwise, these insects will get inside it, and you cannot see them moving.
Add soil mixture
Prepare a mixture of sand and soil to provide a suitable medium for ants, as they like to live in soil and dirty places attract them.
In addition, it has to be moist to make dwelling easy for these insects, as their natural behavior is to build tunnels and channels in the soil.
Add soil mixture slowly over the smaller jar and fill almost 65% to 70% space. It is essential to keep a small space inside as these insects need to breathe and move around.
Naturally, ants do not remain inside the soil, go out to forage for food, and come out of their tunnels to get fresh air.
So, you have to leave a space over the soil to make it more comfortable and natural for these insects that like to walk around.
Put the queen and ants in the jar
Transfer a colony of ants inside the jar carefully, as these can fall outside the container and run out of your sight quickly.
Collect a few ants from the backyard using a shovel and put infested soil inside the container. Cover the container until you have transferred them inside it.
You can put around 10 to 30 ants inside a jar if it is not big enough to handle a maximum number of these insects.
Moreover, you have to choose a bigger container if you want to add a queen and keep it for a long time, as they need more space to expand.
Add plantations and stones
You can add small stones inside the jar if there is enough space to make it attractive for ants, as they like climbing over the rocks and twigs.
Moreover, some smaller plantations can also work well in building a natural habitat for your pets.
For example, many people add artificial fig plants on one side to provide a hiding spot for these insects.
It is better to add a large plantation if you are preparing a big-size formicarium for your ants but keep them smaller in a jar as these can reduce space availability.
Add a moist cotton ball and food
Remove the lid of the jar and place a moist cotton ball in the center to provide a source of moisture inside the farm.
Make a cotton ball of medium size and dip it in clean water to moisten it. Cotton has a good absorbance capacity and remains moist for a long time.
There is not much space inside the jar for adjusting feeding trays and a water bowl, so cotton balls dipped in clean water and honey can become a good source of moisture and food.
In addition, you can also put a small chunk of fruit, like figs, apples, dates, etc., after dipping them in honey. It can help meet their nutritional requirement for a few days.
Cover with a cloth
Put a cloth over the ant farm jar to restrict the undesired movement of ants as they can get out of it within seconds by crawling towards its mouth.
Add a rubber band over the cloth to fix it into its place, and then close the lid tightly. You have to create tiny holes in the lid to allow air to reach inside the container.
Moreover, these holes have to be small enough that these insects cannot move through them and only allow an air passage.
Keep it away from direct sunlight or wrap the black paper around the container to provide a dark environment.
How long can an ant farm survive in a jar?
Ants can live for months inside a jar as they can get the moisture and food required for survival. Moreover, soil and plantation make this farm similar to the natural habitat.
Their lifespan is short compared to a queen, so they can live for almost 4 to 5 months in a jar. However, the colony can survive for a long if there is a queen inside the container.
The presence of the queen ensures the maintenance of the colony as the new larvae replace the dead ones. Accordingly, an ant farm can survive for almost 2 to 3 years if a queen is present.
You have to replace the cotton ball with a new moist one after some days as they cannot survive without water.
In addition, they can consume a small piece of food within 1 or 2 days, so you have to add a new food source inside the container to provide them with nutrition for growth.
Furthermore, you do not have to worry about their survival in a jar as they can easily manage themselves in a small space if they have a nesting habitat, food, and moisture.