A lot of people don’t like ants. These bugs have a very nasty bite while some can readily swarm you into helpless submission. Some species of ants can have highly toxic substances on their jaws. And while a single ant cannot kill you, just imagine thousands of tiny bites all over your body and, if you happen to be hypersensitive to these particular substances, then you might end up in really serious trouble. But, to think that these creatures are harmful is a gross misunderstanding of their true value especially in the ecosystem. That is why there are myrmecologists – entomologists who dedicate their lives to understanding the life and meaningful existence of ants – who study these animals intently. Myrmecologists consider the ant colony or society as the most ideal form of social organization. The unity, cooperation, cohesiveness, and camaraderie shown by these animals are worthy of a much closer look. We can always look for an ant hill to study the inner workings of this society. But a better solution is to get an ant farm kit. In this article, we are going to explore one of the market’s current favorites in terms of live ant habitat – Uncle Milton Ant Farm Live Ant Habitat.
Uncle Milton Ant Farm Live Ant Habitat
The Uncle Milton line of live ant habitats, better known as formicarium or formicary, is especially designed for children ages 6 to 15 years old, although it could very well be a great starter kit for adults as well. Each of the 6 different types of formicarium from Uncle Milton are engineered for expandability, allowing children to really grow their colony by connecting multiple nests so that the lifestyle and behavior of these small creatures can be studied a lot closer. Each habitat is made of an ultra-durable clear acrylic in a unique, fool-proof design intended primarily to prevent any of the formics from escaping. This way, you can be sure that the ants are there when you need them to so you can study their behavior a lot more closely. The acrylic construction of the casing is preferred to glass as it gives it portability in the form of its light weight construction. Providing stability to the otherwise lightweight nature of the formic habitat is a tip-proof stand that squarely distributes the weight on all sides so that maximum stability and optimum balance is achieved while the whole structure is kept standing.
The Uncle Milton ant farm kit also comes with four different formic ports which are essentially useful in expanding the colony. For example, you may get the Rainforest Science version of Uncle Milton today and, if your kid loves it, then you will have to buy another variant – you can choose the Vintage, Ant-es Mountains, Light-Up Gel Colony, Giant, and Canyon Science – connect these to the existing habitat. Pretty soon you will have 6 different nests of varying eco themes connected in one continuous colony. If such is the case, then you have better be mindful of the formic species that you are going to place inside as mixing different species is not necessarily a good idea especially if you’re going to mix an aggressive species to a timid social organization. The point is that Uncle Milton’s formicariums allow you to expand on the colony itself so you’ll get a better chance at understanding the unique social behavior of ants.
Let us look at the different variants of Uncle Milton Ant Farm Live Ant Habitat.
• 60th Ant-iversary Edition Rainforest Science – Features bio domes that resemble that of The Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. These dome structures house a variety of ecosystems complete with their respective flora and fauna that is distinct to a particular region of the Earth. The Rainforest Science formicarium reflects the global distribution of formics. The rainforest is home to a great number of formic species. In the Amazon rainforest, for example, army ants, leafcutter ants, bullet ants, hormiga tigre ants, carpenter ants, and the trap-jaw ants abound. According to myrmecologists, there are more than a thousand species of ants in the Amazon rainforest alone.
• Ant-es Mountains – Featuring the fabulous landscape of the Andes in South America all the way from Venezuela up north to Argentina down south. It is the planet’s longest mountain range spanning more than 4,300 miles and as wide as 310 miles in certain sections. It is home to the famous Argentine ant, known for its invasiveness yet non-aggressive nature as well as its unique grooming abilities and its ability to create megacolonies. In 2009, Insectes Sociaux published that the supercolonies of Argentine Ants in the Americas, Japan, and Europe were in fact, genetically related. The European Argentine Ant megacolony stretches a whopping 3,700 miles along the pristine coast of the Mediterranean while the one found in California stretches some 560 miles. The Japanese megacolony also stretches several hundreds of miles. It would really be a wonder to get the Ant-es Mountain formicarium.
• Canyon Science – Themed in the natural architectural wonder of the Grand Canyon, the Canyon Science formicarium features a futuristic myrmecology science lab facility where formics can be studied. The ants in the Grand Canyon are known as red harvester ants and are especially known for their peskiness. These are not your vicious Fire Ants. However, they do become an annoyance sometimes.
• Vintage – The classic retro design of the Vintage is perfect for beginning young myrmecologists and formicarium enthusiasts. The design features the silhouette of a small town showing the underground network of tunnels dug and channeled by formics themselves.
• Giant – This Uncle Milton variant provides the largest viewing glass of its kind enabling you to put in more ants and marvel at how formics actually dig elaborate network of tunnels and mini nests within a large nest. It has a similar silhouette as that of the Vintage except that this one comes with a barn house where formics can work.
• Light-Up Gel Colony – If you want a formicarium that you can marvel at night, then the Light-Up Gel Colony is the one to get. It has integrated LED lighting mechanisms to give the whole habitat a wonderfully greenish glow. Instead of tunneling sand, tunneling gel was used to provide for a more spectacular luminescence especially at night.
Benefits to Kids and Families
Watching ants do their thing can be pretty boring for many individuals. However, if we can only spare them five minutes of our time to really appreciate what they are doing, we can actually learn a thing or two from the highly structured, highly organized social system of ants. And this can actually benefit kids and entire families.
• Increases appreciation for engineering works – Ants are one of Mother Nature’s best engineers. They can dig tunnels regardless of the pressure of the ground above them. They can build miniature pontoons to carry the whole entire colony across flooded plains. They can create superstructures that they call their home. And they don’t even go to school. The fact is that, if there is something we can learn from these remarkable creatures, it will be their ability to create mega colonies underneath the earth’s surface.
• Enhances understanding of communication – Maybe you have already noticed how one time you only spot a single ant on your table. Give it a few minutes and you’ll have an army of worker ants carrying morsels of food off your table. While we do not know exactly how they communicate, the mere fact of transmitting information from the source to the receiver is enough proof that communication exists in the ant world. You cannot see any gaps in the communication line since everyone is actually helping achieve the goal.
• Encourages comprehension of the idea of cooperation – In line with formics’ ability to communicate and their engineering abilities is their level of cooperation. Every single ant is devoted to the fulfillment of its, being its nature. They cooperate. And while we have been shown children’s movies that tell of ants that do not cooperate with the rest, this is very highly unlikely as formics are genetically programmed to work together cooperatively with others. That’s why they can achieve so much simply because they are working together for the common good.
• Provides a model for a society living in harmony – We know what you will say, we are not ants. Comparing human society to that of ants is purely academic. But there are a lot of things that an ant colony can teach us about living together in harmony. Everyone knows its place in the social order of things and everyone is content on what they have. Unfortunately, humans will always want to have more.
The Bottom Line
We can learn a lot of things from ants. We can study them in their natural environment and risk getting exposed to the elements. Or, we can get the Uncle Milton ant farm kit and study these wonderful creatures in a safer and more effective manner.