Monday, January 26, 2009

Ant Invasion....

Last August, when I was ordering The Middle Apple's homeschool curriculum, I was dismayed that the package came with an Ant Farm. I could have opted out, but realized that if I went ahead and ordered the package deal, WITH the ant farm, I was saving money. So I went ahead and ordered it..knowing in my heart the ant farm would NEVER be set up in my home.

For my first 2 summers in NC, I raged a war against the ants. They would enter our home, snack on cookies and crackers and dinner snackage that my kids dropped on the floor (Hey, they were 2 and 3 years old!) I would put out ant traps and spread Terro in the corners to keep them at bay. To no avail. The 3rd summer, I won the battle. We hired a guy to treat the perimeter of our house for termites. I never saw another ant in the house again after that day....and peace reigned in our lives. Best $1000 dollars I ever spent in my life.

While unpacking boxes after the move to LA, I came across the ant farm. I quickly shoved it back into the box, but I was not quick enough. The Middle spotted it and asked about it. I told her about it...trying in vain to make it sound boring...disgusting even, but she sounded like having ants for pets was the most excitement that we have had since we got here. So I ordered the ants with a heavy heart.

Last weekend, the ants arrived by mail. With much fear and trembling, I refrigerated the little beasts so that they would be sleeping long enough for me to put them in the antfarm. The heat from my hands woke those little buggers up quickly so I had to move fast to keep from being bit. Totally gave me the heebie jeebies.

But now that we have been studying them for a few days, they are actually pretty darn interesting. While not as exciting as watching an episode of LOST, I have spent quite a bit of time watching the little ants hard at work building their tunnel. So have the kidlets....just staring at them for hours! So I have been scurrying around like a little ant coming up with projects to go along with our study on ants. Stephenie suggested we do a little experiment. We set out a plate of food (OH MY GOSH! I FED ANTS! WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO ME!!!!) outside next to an anthill and see what types of foods ants would prefer. We made out predictions. I thought the ants would prefer the sticky sweet honey, the girls voted for the candy and the applesauce.

We were all surprised that the ants decided that their favorite food was the food that was portable and easy to take back to the nest. They went for the crackers the most, and used teamwork to haul large hunks of crackers back to the nest. So cool! We couldn't figure out why they liked the peanutbutter so much...maybe they just liked the smell?

We have learned quite a bit since the little creepy crawly critters arrived. I am glad that I invited them. But I assure you, these little ants will not be overstaying their welcome at our house.


hip chick said...

I must admit that I have a hard time even looking at the picture of the ant farm...I'm so glad my kids never got into that. I can't believe you actualy moved the thing!

Ellen said...

You are a cool teacher! I wish I could've had you for my teacher!!