Did you enjoy catching ants a a child? Still a child? Want the ultimate setup with a complete natural simulation of a real environment? Tired of Uncle Sam's Ant farm's with limited possiblities? Want a colony in the 10's of thousands, not a couple of hundred?

Join the craze that is flooding Europe! Construct the ultimate Ant formicarium at home in just a weekend.

This instructable will guide you through the process of creating an Ant nest from Ytong and an attached foraging area.
Unlike many formicarium setups this unit is almost identical to what may be found in the wild.
The foraging area is located at the top of the ant nest, simulating a real world environment as closley as possible.

Your ants will not only move in quickly, they will also thrive due to the enclosures natural characteristics.

This formicarium comes complete with an automated irrigation system for the Ytong nest, it also has active humidity/temperature read outs via a wireless connection to a LCD screen on the reciever unit.

Step 1: Materials


Ytong- Autoclaved aerated concrete Purchase a pre-cast slab or alternativly create one from powdered product, such as plaster or gypsum. In other countries ytong may be branded Hebel blocks. You will find these at your local hardware / home DiY style store.
Product infohttp://www.xella-usa.com/html/us/en/products_and_applications.php

Carving implement- Dremel, tungstun carbide tipped 'score and snap' knife, screw driver.

Sandpaper of various grades

Set square

Flat head screw driver

Water based paint- A low VOC paint or one made with limited chemicals is preferred.
Product infohttp://www.eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_paints.htm

Paint brushes / foam

Plastic tubing- 3mm, 10mm approx 1m of each.
Solid plastic tubing- 3mm approx 30cm.
Assortment of connectors- To suit 3mm tubing.
Valves- To suit 3mm tubing.
Small container- For water reservoir.
Smaller container- For water trough.
Cable clips

Humidity / Temperature sensor- Wireless preferably.

Glass / Perspex- To suit front chamber face size.

Glass and masonry silicon

Cardboard- Larger than the surface of the ytong.

Foraging Area

Container with clear lid- Approx 40cm x 20cm

Sand for ground covering


Plants- Dwarf species with low water requirements are best suited

Most of these items should be available at your local hardware store.

<p>Cool. You should import these to the USA!</p>
Very cool project! You can also use a &quot;snifter&quot; to collect ants though! <br>
Certainly can, I use one all the time.
thats really cool, good
Thanks, you should give it a go! It's easy!
Great idea! You are a very creative person!<br /> Congrats, continue giving us these instructables<br />
Thanks Spikes! Though I don't post here anymore, I do still have my email linked to comments on my I'bles and I do read everyone still coming in. <br> <br>Your's among the many stood out. All are great but your's I remember well and the &quot;continue giving us these instructables&quot;. <br> <br>I am strongly considering returning to the fold. Firstly perhaps I should reply to the many comments still left. <br> <br> <br>Thanks
wow what a nice instructable!!! congrats..:) wanna see an updated picture ants included and a working colony!!!
The colony was released as I determined the legislation available on keeping the species was not defined enough for my liking. Possibly illegal, possibly not. I chose to go with the side of caution.
No, I never liked catching ants bacuase they were all fire ants. It hurts SO BAD when fire ants bite you!
My bad... because
Try bull ants. They make fire ants seem tame.<br />
Where exactly did you get your valve system? I'm having trouble finding anywhere these mini irrigation systems or perhaps i'm just wording it wrong in searches.
You shoudl find them at your local home depot style store. Anyone whom stocks irragation for the garden should have these for the drippers etc.
Thank you so much, you was correct in just looking at the local Lowes. I've modified the design a little though. I'm making a terrarium style ant habitat with soil and the like. And instead of the misting system, like I originally had mind for, I've stumbled upon another irrigation style. I'll be using a drip nozzle, with a measured reservoir set up above the case (It's been compared to a water tower several times by friends). So I can merely pour in an allotted amount, let gravity take its course and it will slowly drip into the soil, or perhaps even just drip down into a petri dish sized 'pond'. Its all in development, and if it gets elaborate enough I may even make an Instructable on it to compliment the other formicariums.
how in theheck did you keep them in your enclosure.
The clear lid keeps them in. ;-)
on the wood part i meant what you don't have mind reading powers either. DANGIT
Glass or acrylic plastic. That's used to hold it in.
show some ants?
Not at the moment. I am still sourcing an Australian bull ant colony. One of the largest species of ants.
myrmica pavida? there protected now so i dont think you will be getting them soon/cheap. if you do get them, THATS AWESOME. good luck
Oh, by the way, I got a colony and queen, except I made an error on tunnel size, way to small for them to use this formicarium.
myrmica pavida?? No, I do not believe that is the scientific name. There are several AB species. Brown, jumping, meat etc. I believe the one pictured is a brown. When you say they are protected, do you mean in a specific area? As far as I am aware, none of the Australian Bullant species come under protection laws. Do you mean in National parks etc? As I have not seen them on an endangered listing.. Could you provide more details about the protection laws? "so i dont think you will be getting them soon/cheap." I have a friend whom exports them legally, there are also hundreds of colonies in my suburb. One in my back yard infact.
the and and the yellowjacket?
?? Sorry, I don't follow.
i meant ant not and
no that is not my piture either.... It has been so google circulated now I can find the owner to credit it....
excuses excuses excuses...jk Just say its yours and the owner should pop soon...
If anyone wants free ants, come take the from my yard!!! You can have the entire hill! For free!! Oh, and nice instructable.
yeah and my yard you can take the whole ant pile!
you can also take the ones under my stepping stones.
why,don't you just love it when they all of the sudden swarm over the stones?XD :P
Hah Hah funny NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!<sup>especially not the soldier ants, they hurt</sup><br/>
Ah,yes,Gotta love ants on your pants :P
Also, they can feel free to dig up the 3 from our front yard. We have one of fire ants and 2 of the common black ants.
<sup>lol</sup> also, if anyone takes my ants, take my wasps too, the ants need something to eat XD <sup>i am fed up with wasps</sup> <sub>stupid wasps...</sub><br/>
Too bad, I don't have any glass or cage, or what the dirt is made of...
I may have to try this when I move out. Great instructable!
I would love to install one of these in a cavity internal wall of a house. That would be awesome.
Like have an ant colony for a wall? Because I was thinking of that!
Great minds. ;-)
True that, true that.
grammar bad,grammar bad
im in america i live in the suberbs how couldi get some ants and do u think i should get a queen also love the instrucible u destroy uncle miltons plastic crud
You will find thousands of colonies in your local area. Check under bricks, next to downpipes, in rotten branches both on trees and on the ground. The idea is to locate ant trails and follow them back to the nest. I like to take a piece of ham, and break it into small pieces. I walk around and try to spot lone ants. Drop some meat next to them. they will return to the nest and get recruits. within an hour you should find a steady stream of ants return with food to the nest. Follow the ants back, normally you can guess the general direction they are travelling and skip ahead. Sometimes you need to follow a single ant for a bit. Ants generally lives for around 3 months, so for a colony that will survive for longer you need a queen. I must say though, maintenance of a queen and survival rate are not good. To start I would just find 40 or so ants to amuse you now, then try for a queen.
Wow, Unlce Milton has got nothing on you. Just wondering though, why not use real dirt?
Hello, real dirt is dirty! YOu have to have clean ants so you can show off them Maybe they can stile tunnel through cement!

About This Instructable




Bio: I work in a D.i.Y style superstore. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not, but it certainly perpetuates ... More »
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