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Make a Feeding Port

feeding port feeding

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#1 Offline rptraut - Posted January 19 2024 - 3:50 AM

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Make a Feeding Port

 

The addition of a feeding port to a formicarium can make feeding and cleaning easier for the ant keeper.  To make one usually requires the use of power tools so please follow all safety precautions and don't make me sorry I showed you this. 

 

IMG_7792.JPG

 

To start with, I use small plastic containers with screw top lids.  I use two different sizes for larger or smaller setups, and I get them at a local surplus store.  I think you could use any kind of plastic necked bottle that you can cut the top off.  With these containers I cut the bottom off with a bandsaw and sand the top smooth with a belt sander.  I put it into a hole that is exactly the same size.  Hot glue is used to hold it in place, but I don't depend on the hot glue to keep the ants in.    I'm never sure what kind of ants are going to be housed, so the fit must be tight enough to keep ants in, even without glue.   The small feeding trays I use fit easily through the port.

 

The feeding port is one of the additions to a formicarium that has saved me more time and aggravation than anything else.   Formicaria with feeding ports sit on my shelf facing out, so feeding is a simple matter of unscrewing the lid with one hand, pulling the old feed tray out and putting a freshly loaded tray back in.  Skittish ants get used to the routine and head for cover when I take the lid off, but they soon return when I'm done.   I usually just blow on any ants that are reluctant to leave the feeder or I can put it aside and get it later when they're enjoying fresh water and sugar/water.  

 

 I've found that if I install the port close to the bottom of the formicarium and put something as a barrier like Vaseline or mineral oil on the inside it will keep the ants from rushing the opening.    The port is helpful for cleaning as well.  I've seen some ants bring their trash and leave it at the port.  Tetramorium and Tapinoma are particularly good at this, and it makes cleanup a breeze.  I simply wipe it out with a paper towel before I begin feeding.  

 

I think shy ants and small colonies like to dine under cover.  For those colonies I place their protein through the feeding port and then place the feeding tray on top of it.   I was surprised how this little thing increased the amount of food a small Lasius brevicornis colony took compared to a similar sized colony that I fed in the open. 

 

 

 

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This Myrmica colony enjoys some chicken on the feeding tray that was easily placed through the feeding port.  

RPT

 

 

 

 

 


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My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#2 Offline ReignofRage - Posted January 19 2024 - 12:58 PM

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Great thread. I retired the few of the same twist-cap containers from my collection vials and thought of doing this exact same thing, just on the lids rather than the side.


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#3 Offline rptraut - Posted January 19 2024 - 1:36 PM

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cr@p


Edited by rptraut, January 19 2024 - 1:49 PM.

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My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#4 Offline rptraut - Posted January 19 2024 - 1:47 PM

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Hello ReignofRage;

 

Glad you like this type of post, I hope it helps.  If you want more detail on anything else, let me know. 

I've put feeding ports on the top as well, usually when the sides aren't wide enough or are too flimsy to drill through without cracking. 

 

 

Here's a photo of a couple of setups that I use for founding Myrmica colonies.   It's easy to remove the lid, reach in and pull out the feeding tray from the top.

 

 

 

 

IMG_7202.JPG

 

Mounting the feeding port on top won't make it any easier to clean out trash but it will make feeding easier with less chances of escape.  

RPT

 

 

 


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My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#5 Offline Rrar - Posted January 19 2024 - 3:29 PM

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Interesting. I haven't tried using a feeding port yet. Those terrariums look cool!


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canada = boring!!!!!

I want attaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!

also: Camponotus ca02 ( probably not possible though)


#6 Offline rptraut - Posted January 20 2024 - 1:22 AM

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Hello Rrar;

 

I'm glad you like the terrariums, they're actually vivariums or vivaria when they have living things in them, and formicaria when they have ants in them.

 

I've made many terrariums where I grow ferns and orchids and I keep ants in something similar to observe how their behavior might be different than a colony in another setup.  I sometimes try to mimic the ant's natural environment like the Myrmica founding colonies in the photo above.  They're a forest dwelling ant so I provide them with moss and leaves etc. like the forest floor, and a small test tube to live in. 

 

 

 

IMG_7521.JPG

 

 

A "natural" setup using moss, artificial plants and a piece of wood from an old carpenter ant nest made this setup nice enough for a Tapinoma colony to move right in.

RPT


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