Jordan, Pete and I managed to finish the ant farm! It is now home to over 1000 red harvester ants. Unlike old ant farms that use dirt or sand, ours uses a gel that was originally developed by NASA for ant experiments in space. We are still looking into ways to make the gel ourselves, but in the mean time we found a website that manufactures the stuff, antgel.com. The gel contains all the food and water that the ants will need to survive. It even helps prevent them from developing infections. The ants should have everything they need to reach the end of their life cycle, which should be in about 6 months.
Right now, all the ants in our farm are workers, we don’t have a queen yet. We have been discussing ways in which we could obtain a queen. But it will probably be awhile before we decided to go through with it, since we would have to take extra precautions to ensure that a queen wouldn’t escape.
We are trying to get a camera up and running so we can make some time lapse videos of the ants as they work. In the meantime, stop by open house and check them out for yourself!