Worlds of David Darling > Children's
Encyclopedia of Science > Could You Ever Speak Chimpanzee? > Hands On
COULD YOU EVER SPEAK CHIMPANZEE?
a book in the Could You Ever? series by David Darling
and behavior among social insects by keeping your own ant colony
A plastic home for a small ant colony can be bought ready-made, or you might
try making the one of wood and glass (or perspex) shown here. Put soil in
the nest chamber and transfer part of an ant colony to the food chamber.
Since the ants are isolated from the outside, you will have to supply them
with food such as honey, tiny pieces of raw meat, moist bread, and dead
insects. Also, make sure that the soil in the nesting area is kept damp.
Observe how the workers build a new nest, with separate places for the eggs
and larvae. What happens when you put in some fresh food? How do the workers
communicate with one another? How does the ants' activity vary throughout
the day and night? What happens if you introduce some new ants after the
colony is established? Try other experiments, such as varying the light
level in the feeding area or laying a scent trail across one of the notches
to the nesting area. Keep a logbook of your observations.