Test tubes

Why use test tubes for antkeeping?

Test tubes are perfect for ant keeping. They can be used in many different ways, solving your problems, and are very popular among antkeepers.

There are many sizes of test tubes. For most parts, the size of them doesn’t matter except for when keeping larger colonies of ants. If not, choose one that will fit well in an arena or simply in a size you like.

What can test tubes be used for?

Lasius Nearcticus ant species
Flying ants of the species Lasius Nearcticus. The image shows two unmated queens, their cast evident by their big abdomens. South Bristol, New York (USA). Photo: Alex Wild.

1. Test tubes for newly mated queens

A test tube is perfect for when you’ve found a newly mated queen. Her first nest will be easy for you to see through considering it is made up of glass or plastics, and it will also be able to hold a water reservoir. Just fill up about half of the tube with clean and cold water and then apply a piece of cotton to the end of it. This way, the cotton will keep the water from drowning your queen whilst supplying her with moisture. When you’re done, place your queen in the tube and seal it with another ball of cotton. Be sure to wash your hands carefully before touching the water or cotton. We don’t want bacteria and mould to start infesting the nest! And don’t use water with sugar or something similar, it will not stay fresh for more than a week.

2. Test tubes as water reservoirs

Ants hate dehydration and must be able to drink water from somewhere. A test tube is the perfect water reservoir! Follow the instructions from the previous tip, but fill the tube completely with water. Seal it up with a ball of cotton. The ants will now be able to go and get water from through the cotton without drowning. It might also be a good idea to provide a test tube with sugar water, (for the energy needs of the adult ants). But be sure to clean and refill the tubes every once in a while. We don’t want mould. It’s deadly to ants!

3. Test tubes to keep small colonies

Test tubes can also be perfect homes for small colonies. They’ll feel protected in the safe confinements of the tube’s walls and can seal up the entrance themselves if they want to. Providing there’s material for them to do so. Most colonies bought from an ant shop are delivered in test tubes. This is very practical since they can be placed in an arena where the ants can go out to forage and gather supplies. When they’re ready they’ll move to the new home you’ve prepared for them (if any). Do not stress them to move. Who likes stress?