1. Remove protective plastic from both sides of the acrylic sheets and slide into the grooves all the way down into the main unit. Place the top on to secure the acrylic sheets in place. Remove all tape holding the black pegs and top in place, also remove the middle small block from the top piece. The sand is easier to add when it is very dry. If it arrives a little wet just spread it out and let it dry. A small funnel works great. If you don't have one you can make one from a piece of paper.
2. Take the big bag of sand and pour a couple inches between the acrylic sheets. Add a little water using the included pipette (highly recommend distilled or bottled) to ensure it is nice and damp. Repeat this every couple of inches to ensure the whole nesting area is nice and moist. Keep doing this until you either run out of sand or only have about an inch left to the top of the acrylic sheets. There needs to be some space between the top of the sand and the top for their extracted piles and air flow. The sand should stay moist at all times so please add water periodically via the pipette and small holes covered by the black plugs.
3. Place a little divot in the sand, about a 1/2 inch deep as a starting area for the ants to dig. They may still dig elsewhere. Push some sand out of the way of the two larger holes on the top sides of the frame so they have a place to crawl into when they get up the tubes.
4. Now take the habitat container, remove the tube of ants, if you haven’t already, and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready for them. This will slow them down considerably and not hurt them at all.
5. While holding a finger of one hand inside the container to hold the grommet firmly in place, insert one end of the tubing by twisting it into the hole with the other hand. Do this for both sides. Place the container in front of the frame and insert the other ends of the tubing into the frame in the top side holes. Again just twist them in a little. Do this for both sides. The tubing can be pushed into the frame at the base area to further secure it in place.
6. Empty the small bag of sand into the container and place the decorations however you like. The ants will be bringing more sand down into the habitat as they excavate.
7. If you haven’t already requested your ants to be shipped you can do so by simply emailing AntsAlive at: [email protected] and providing the information on the enclosed certificate. Please ensure to include the DW# located in the upper right of the certificate as well as your full mailing information. Your ants can take 1-2 weeks to arrive and may be delayed due to weather. The ants cannot survive extreme heat or freezing temperatures. While we will be more than happy to answer any ant care related questions you may have, any issues you encounter with the ants must be directed to AntsAlive via their email at [email protected]
8. When your ants arrive you will want to moisten the cotton ball and place it in the habitat. You can use a water bottle cap to hold it in place. Just use your pipette to add water and your tongs to remove and replace it when it becomes dirty. Place the tube of ants in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes prior to release to slow them down considerably upon release. This will make opening the container a lot easier and safer for you. Place the tube of ants into the habitat and remove the cap and just leave the tube in the habitat until they empty out of it. They will take a while to completely explore the container and their new surroundings. Once they discover the tubes they will start working their way up them. It may take them a while to figure out how to get to the top of the tubes as they are very poor climbers. They are relentless though and will figure out how to navigate to the top and start digging their tunnels.
This can take a day or two to happen so don’t be discouraged.
FEEDING & WATERING
Your kit included a small bag of seeds. This is the ant’s main source of food. You only need to put a very small pinch of it in every few days. You also need to supplement their diet with some fresh fruit and veggies. Just a very small amount is fine but make sure to remove the remains within 24 hours so it does not rot or mold in the habitat. Ants also love sugar so I like to offer them a little nectar or sugar water from time to time. Honey is another option but you have to be careful as it will trap the ants in it. I typically just take a drop of it and put a small pinch of their seeds in it, mix it around and place that in their enclosure. For their water just soak the included cotton ball and place it in a corner. Keep it moist at all times with the included pipette.
For more info and help on caring for your harvester ants, click HERE