Miles Ants Nucleus Review

I received a Nucleus formicarium from Tar Heel Ants last April, and it has since become the centerpiece of both my personal ant lab and of my public education displays. The Nucleus I received was the smallest version, the 4x6 (measured in inches), and can easily hold 500-1000 of the medium-large ants that I keep. I opted to use this formicarium to house my all-time favorite ant colony, my Myrmecocystus mexicanus. The transfer was surprisingly easy, despite the stress of moving the repletes (hanging “honey-pot” ants) and the queen. Because the glass is removable on this dual-sided formicarium, I was able to transfer the repletes between their temporary plaster home and this new display, instead of having to euthanize them (would have been necessary should I have chosen a nest without the removable glass).

Since then, the colony has flourished. There is a large pile of larvae, and the queen is continuously producing eggs! There is a new replete beginning to fill up, this time with red THA ant juice. I have had a blast using and displaying this formicarium, and here’s why:

The formicarium is hydrated via six different hydration ports, with 3 located on each side. Both sides have a THA water tower installed, with a hydration port leading into it. The water towers hold approximately 2.5 syringes full of water, and will provide humidity within the nest for over two weeks. I keep mine full, along with a weekly watering of an upper chamber. Being desert ants, Myrmecocystus are attracted to moisture but are adapted to living in less moist habitats than most temperate ants. Every nest will need a different watering schedule, depending on what species you are keeping in it.

Syringe in Nucleus Port

In addition to its effective hydration system, my Nucleus has been beautifully carved, with smooth and natural chambers and tunnels. Some chambers have a substrate coating, which helps to lock in moisture and facilitate cocoon formation for formicine and ponerine ants. The substrate also darkens with moisture, and is thus used as an indicator. The substrate coating makes for a unique aesthetic that really adds to the display value of the product. The nest itself is terracotta colored, with a reddish orange coloration for the chambers. The wooden base has also been painted to fit the nest theme. The foraging area is neat and clean, and allowed the colony to create one of their species’ famous pebble-based nest entrances.

Removable and interchangeable glass panes are among the most important advances that THA has made with its formicaria. They allow for easy cleaning and installation of the colony. The nest also has a side port for ½” diameter vinyl tubing. I have mine plugged, as an extension is not necessary at this time.

Finally, the formicarium is 100% mold resistant, and when coupled with the removable glass, offers a remarkably clean (both in appearance and reality) nesting space for your ants.

As you can see, my colony is doing well. The Nucleus is, without a doubt, the highest quality formicarium I have ever owned or seen in my five years of ant keeping. Please enjoy the images of them below!

If you have any questions about this or the other THA formicariums I own, or about ants in general, please feel free to send me a message on Facebook (Miles Ants) or by emailing me at!

Miles Maxcer

The Ant Network

Founder & President