***If you are concerned about ants escaping your habitats, this ant habitat is one to check out.***
- Glass Top For Nest Area
- 2 Sizes For Nest Chamber (5 inch diamater, 3 inch diamater)
- 2 Container Sizes (Standard 13x5x5 or 9x5x5) - Other sizes available for customized orders
- Decor Options: Grassland Decor, Desert Decor, Rocks Only (Petrified Wood Stones)
- Additional Decor Options: Adjacent Perch, Adjacent Perch With Crossing Stick (see photo)
- Species Size (Small, Medium, or Large Species) --- Due to the interior tube for filling the water tower, this formicarium is NOT SUITABLE for tiny species without extra care. (See Further Information and Work Around For Very Small Species Below).
- Type III material for formicarium area
After having used this formicarium with 3 species of ants for the better part of a year, the feel and look of the experience is what draws me personally to using this habitat. Watching ants climb to and from their nest and the bonus of having a true all-in-one experience with an ant nest (no tubing and a seamless transition to the feeding area is nice) makes videos easier as well. We have added the functionality to install heating cables as well, and they slide into a hole (see photos) along the bottom of the nest and are threaded from the side or the bottom. This is only important for species that need heat, although most ants will benefit from a heat source. Alternatively you can use a heat lamp (and with species like Pogonomyrmex occidentalis can remove the lid completely as they cannot climb). For water, I use the nestmates currently, but other liquid feeders would do just as well placed in the foraging area below. For videos of our colonies in the Aerie, check out our Facebook Group "Tar Heel Ants Interactive Newsletter and Ant Keeping Group".
Points of Consideration/Strategy for Use
- Moving Ants In - From a test tube, place the test tube inside the foraging area and open it up. Fill the water tower in the Aerie nest 1/2 to 2/3. Give ants time to explore and locate the new nesting area. Optional for more experienced users (depending on species) would be the "dump" method. Do not dump small ant species that eggs cannot easily be seen and located. This nest is ideal for Pogonomyrmex spp. founding colonies we have found, but be careful moving them in as they sting!
- Drinking Water - As a standard feature there is NO Nestmate. The nestmates can be used in the foraging area along with other liquid feeders to provide drinking water. This is more than adequate for small colonies, but not acceptable for founding queens as they will not travel from their chambers to feed and forage in most cases. Please consider this issue if you are using The Aerie as a founding nest for a queen with no workers yet.
- Heating - Obviously Heating Cables are more difficult with the Aerie as it is an "All-In-One" formicarium. We recommend a heated space for this if you use it to house ants that need a heat source. An aquarium/terrarium box is ideal for using as a space to heat with an overhead heat lamp. If you have questions about this type of setup for heating reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us by phone. Heating Cables could work with some clever adjustments and planning, but heating pads of course are not possible with this setup. Camponotus spp. such as Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus modoc along with Formica subsericea would not need heat to thrive and this habitat would work be ideal for these species.
More discussion will be added here from time to time as we continue to learn about this type of habitat and hear feedback from others using it for various species.
Additional Options for Customization Available:
- Museum Box Customizations Available - Example: We can order customized museum quality boxes for The Aerie Design. This would have a higher clarirty, varying sizes to suit your ideas and space available, and a magnetically removable lid. We can also add an opening above the nest area with a museum glass cover for even higher quality viewing experiences. These are relatively expensive modifications so email us at email@example.com for inquiries.
SMALL AND TINY species such as Solenopsis molesta, Brachymyrmex depilis and patagonicus, and some Pheidole spp. will be able to enter this opening and drown inside the water tower. Small species such as Lasius neoniger, Tetramorium immigrans, Prenolepis imparis , etc. would not be able to fit in the tubes. Some populations of various species are smaller than others, however (for example some workers of the same species vary in size in different parts of the U.S.). We recommend extra care for using small ants in this habitat with an exposed water tower entry. The work around ---- Purchase a piece of piano wire to insert into the water tower port when not in use for maintenance. Email us with questions, we can cut these pieces down to size prior to shipping. (firstname.lastname@example.org).