Fascinations AntWorks Illuminated Blue
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- Fascinations designs product to illustrate many magical aspects of our world
- Watch as your ants explore, discover, and develop new territories
- Kit includes instruction booklet with ant order coupon
- You Must Order Ants to inhabit habitat
- Then add your ants and see them transform your design into their own creative patterns
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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The Antworks Habitat and the Antworks Illuminator are all in one box. It includes a removable LED Illuminator with power adaptor, nutrient gel, magnifying glass, extreme zoom lens, ant catching/tunnel starting tool, and instruction booklet with interesting facts about ants. The ants not included, order form enclosed on back page of booklet. Item dimensions: 6.5 � x 6 � x 1.25 �.
From the Manufacturer
The AntWorks Illuminator is the Perfect Bedside or Shelf Accessory. Designed to illustrate many magical aspects of our world, Fascinations products will cause you to react with amazement and ask "What makes that work?" or "How is that possible?" By working with engineers, scientists, magicians and most importantly, kids young and old, Fascinations is proud to bring you the best in truly unique toys and gifts. So come on inside and see what amazing creations we've got just waiting for you. The Ant Works Includes: 6.5”L x 6.0”W x 1.25”D Clear acrylic habitat, 4ea LED base with AC adapter, accessories, and instruction booklet with ant order coupon. Accessories: Magnifying Glass, Extreme Zoom Lens, and Tunnel Starter Tool. STUDY THE LIFE-CYCLE OF ANTS IN THIS SPACE-AGE GEL HABITAT 3-DIMENSIONAL “ANT CITY” IN THE MAKING. Based upon a 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment to study ants in zero-gravity perfect interactive desktop pet or fascinating gift. Based upon a 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment to study ants in zero-gravity. Perfect interactive desktop pet or fascinating gift includes: 6.5”L x 5.5”W x 1.25”D acrylic habitat, accessories and instruction booklet with ant order coupon.
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The next time I purchase one of these, I will go on the website and order the ants at the same time I order the ant farm. (I purchased mine at Ants Alive - the company recommended in the booklet that comes with the Fascinations Ant Farm. http://www.antsalive.com/buy-live-ants.htm) The ant farm arrived quickly (as did the ants, although I would think a week spent waiting for ants would be intolerable for an excited child!) There are many warnings on the box (and website) that Harvester Ants, the kind of ants recommended for use in ant farms, can "bite" or sting you. From what I understand, this sting is pretty painful for about 24 hours. They "bite" you with the same mandibles they use to pinch off gel and carry it around. Apparently, they also have stingers on their abdomens. (One should note that it IS possible to be allergic to their sting - so stings can be LIFE THREATENING. Usually not, but do you really want to be someone who is and not realize the possible dangers??)
I was torn between ordering one or two vials of ants - after receiving the one vial, I will say this...I am happy with the one vial, which is about 30 ants, of which there were probably 4 dead. Two vials (or about 60 ants) could have fit, the tunnels would just pop up much quicker. Either amount would work, it just depends on how fast you want them to make the tunnels. (Three vials - about 90 ants - would be WAY too many.) I am simply shocked at the speed these 30ish ants are constructing tunnels - I really am. I will check the ant farm before I go to bed, and a full, new, completely cleaned out tunnel appears within the next six-or-so hours - and it runs lengthwise from one side of the container to the other!
I used the transparent aqua-colored stick to begin the tunnels for the ants, as instructed. Two holes about 1" deep, two around 1/2" deep. (I had a hard time locating this stick at first - it is taped to the bottom of the box that the AC plug unit is in.) The ants are pretty large - about half an inch. Getting them in the ant farm is easy IF you follow the instructions and refrigerate them for about 10 minutes first. When you pop off the top of the vial don't just mess around - put the end of the open vial by the gel in the container and shake once or twice. My ants came out as a sort of clump. I wanted to remove the dead ones/pieces before closing the lid, but that was a luxury my mighty ant force didn't allow me. They have worked very hard for the last three days, but chose to dig down the sides of the container and not use the holes I had carefully spaced for them. (You can see the holes I started in the last photo - that's what the pink circles are showing.)
It fascinates me how the ants use their mandibles to grasp little bits of gel and pull it off the main block. Each ant then goes back up the tunnel, climbing over and under her comrades until she reaches the top, then deposits the tiny piece of gel in a predetermined place. It all starts with the top inch-and-a-half of the container being clean and clear - but soon has so many gel "pellets" stacked up that it almost looks like bubbles are all over the space between the gel and the lid. There are so many in my little ant farm now that I can't see through the top anymore! :) I was hoping I could clean some of it out, but the ants are having none of that! (Even after another 10 min in the fridge. I'm sure the gel absorbed most of the cold air, but I'm afraid to leave them in there any longer than that...I don't want to kill the lil' things!) There are a few brown spots on the sides of the clear acrylic container, at the top where the "pellets" are, but I'm almost positive that is where they put their dead buddies when they began building. I know you are supposed to remove the deceased girls, but I truly don't see how that's possible...unless you want the rest of the colony to make a break for it. (I remain a little confused, as it appears one ant is specifically in charge of dealing with the dead - and she has an assistant - and it very much looks like that ant eats a portion of the dead ant, before working to collapse the body into a smaller space, then to the trash pile. Everything I've read said Harvester ants aren't cannibalistic, but I don't necessarily believe that after what I've witnessed in my own ant farm.) (I told you I find this really interesting - I either need to get a life, or someone needs to save me from myself. This is what happens when you aren't allowed to have stuff like this when you're a kid, I guess.)
A few additional ants have passed since they've been working, but they all seem to undergo the same process of being partially eaten, appendages being smushed into smaller packages, then hauled off to the top.
I didn't mean to focus on their death behaviors so much in this review - I just think it's interesting. The gel provides all sustenance the ants require for their normal 3-6 month lifespan. The lights on the bottom of the container don't seem to have any affect on the ants or their productivity. All the ants are female - and no queen is shipped. (From what I've read, putting a queen in an ant farm could be disastrous, and they are difficult to find. Queens are not supposed to be shipped across state lines.)
Having this ant farm has been entertaining. I love watching them work together and seeing how their communal work quickly morphs into activities that seem impossible. I definitely look at ants differently now!
I do however feel that the extra money I spent on the illuminated farm was a waste. We barely used the lights and the ants seemed to work better without them on.
I was originally concerned that my farm came only 2/3 filled with gel but don't worry.. The ants bite of chunks of gel in their tunnels and then carry it back to the top where they build with it. Our farm ended up filled to the top from the gel they carried up there.
Our ants sadly tunneled through pretty much all available space in the farm in about 3 weeks. After that they got agitated and just crowded around the top of the farm and many started dying off quickly at that point.
I think it's a really cool thing to watch, but I would definitely just go with the basic less expensive, unlit option. $25 for the illuminated one ($30 after you buy the ants) seems a little steep for something that we only got to enjoy for 3 weeks.
With the ant farm I also purchased the "TIME for Kids, ants booklet" which was a fun read to learn about a variety of ants while enjoying our farm.
Overall we loved it... I just wish it lasted longer and perhaps was a little cheaper.
- Very cool to see them digging away for the first 2-3 days. Kids really got into that.
- Very attractive product... in the beginning.
- They stop digging after 2-3 days and then start their master plan of escape, eating the lid instead.
- We live in Georgia and humidity inside the enclosure has been a problem. I found that if I didn't turn the light on, this helped. No light = not as exciting.
- The booklet says to open the container every couple of days to allow air into the habitat. Since all of ants now have the master escape plan as Priority #1, they all rush the opening (they are fast) and a couple inevitably escape or get squished by the lid when you scream, "Holy cow!" and try to close it.
- The booklet also says that you are supposed to open the habitat and clean out dead ants as they appear (see previous experience). I have been unable to do so because half the "colony" would escape. So, now we have dead ants molding at the top of the container. Very attractive.
- While my oldest son refers to his pet ants every once in a while, and likes to show it off to the occasional visitor, that's the extent of the enjoyment at this point.
- Now I'm trying to figure out when the ants are going to be "released" to wild so my son won't be disappointed.
All in all: It's been fun, but not real fun. We'll leave this stuff to the zoos and science museums in the future.