Collecting Ants

Ant Wrangling: Tips and Tricks

One of the trickiest parts of working with ants is getting them to stay where you want them, or moving them somewhere else without ants going everywhere. Here are a couple of tricks to keep ants where you’d like them to be:

check for holes

1. Check containers carefully for holes: Ants are very good at finding even tiny holes and will use them to their advantage!

chill out

2. Chill out: If you need to move ants from one container to another, you can put an ant colony in the refrigerator for a minute or two to slow the ants down. Be careful not to leave them in the refrigerator for too long, though, or they might not survive! Sometimes, cold ants can look like they have died even though they are still alive, so don’t be alarmed if they suddenly come back to life.

use a moat

3. Put a moat around the castle: Most ants are pretty terrible at swimming, so you can use a big dish as a moat to keep ants in a container, or you can create a moat around a container to keep the ants out if they’re really interested in it.

slippery glass

4. Slippery slopes: For some types of ants, you can use a very thin layer of oil, such as mineral oil, to keep ants from climbing up the sides of a container. You will have to keep a careful eye on it, though, because eventually the ants will wear it down until they are able to get across!

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Tips and Tricks
  • Author(s): Rebecca Clark
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: November 2, 2009
  • Date accessed: April 17, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Rebecca Clark. (2009, November 02). Tips and Tricks. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved April 17, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Rebecca Clark. "Tips and Tricks". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 02 November, 2009.

MLA 2017 Style

Rebecca Clark. "Tips and Tricks". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 02 Nov 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 17 Apr 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
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