Ant Trouble!

Sweating, heart racing, cursing, jumping, stomping, and eventually yelling as an ant went flying through the air and landed on my pant leg.  Can you say stressed!?  Yes, this is how my classroom aide and I spent our prep...wrangling harvester ants!  Harvester ants are large golden/red colored ants that can bite and leave a painful sting.  Adorable!

Part of our first grade science curriculum is to study ants.  This year, as a grade, we decided to try live ants.   I volunteered my classroom aide and myself to set up the ant farms and get the ants inside.

Take One: I read all the directions.  We set up the ant farms and placed the vials of ants in the faculty fridge for 10 minutes.  Don't worry, almost all the grades had had lunch already.   Then we took the vials out and opened the top of the first ant farm to pour the stunned ants in.  Sounds simple and easy.  It would have been if the ants were not huge, if the ants were really stunned, and if the vial would have fit inside the opening of the ant farm.  But no, the vial did not fit and ants came tumbling out and onto the table, with a few falling in the ant farm, only to reanimate and fight for their lives!  They climbed right back out.  We managed to close the half-full vial back up and catch the ants one by one with those long green sticks that come with the farms.

Take Two: We made a funnel with paper and poured the ants from the vial into the funnel.  The huge ants quickly clogged up the funnel and came crawling back at us!  This is when all the cursing came into play. Thankfully, we had not attempted this with students in the room.  So, as the ants cascaded off the table and onto the floor we cursed, scooped with paper, and stomped.  I am proud to say, there were only about five ant tragedies.  It was definitely the wrong day to wear sandals to work.

Take Three:  We put the remaining vials back in the fridge and left them there for 25 minutes.  By this time the kids were back in the room.  I had them go to the book nook and read books quietly. I think I scared the kids!  I told them we were doing serious stuff and we needed it quiet so that we did not get stung by the ants.  This time the ants seemed out of it.  I took card-stock paper and angled it to one edge of the ant farm opening.  I angled the vial on the other side and for the most part, the ants fell into the ant farm.  This worked for at least two of the five ant farms.  Then, I noticed a few stuck in the back of the vial and asked my aide to tap the vial.  This made the card-stock paper flex and ants shot at me.  I let out a scream as an ant landed on my pant leg.  I don't remember how I got it off, it was a blur.

So after all that stress, the ant vials were empty and only 3 ant farms full!  Yeah, kinda a problem.  Ugh!  My solution: I connected tubes from the full ant farms to the empty ones and left for the day.  I placed sugar in the empty farms and I am hoping the ants decide to check out the other farms.  If not, I am going to be ordering more ants.

Erica, the Ant Wrangler.  I think...eh...not so much :)  Feel free to laugh at me!  I am laughing now, too.  

To go with this whole ant theme,  I am working on a TpT thematic units on ants.  I wanted to give you a little preview freebie.  Click the pictures below to download.  Wish me luck with the live ones!





31 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great freebies!! And I am definitely sticking with ladybugs and caterpillars. No ants for me!! Good luck!

    heathernnance@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome! Yes, ladybugs and caterpillars are way cuter, too!

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  2. Thanks for the cute freebies! Your post made me start itching thinking about the ant problem! LOL!

    ~Ashlee

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    Replies
    1. I felt like I had ants in my pants for like an hour after!

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  3. Oh my gosh! That kind of takes the fun out of the whole thing, doesn't it?? We've done worm farms and ladybugs...no ants. One time they sent me a bag of GIANT wet cockroaches instead of the cute little ladybugs I was expecting! I was so grossed out, you would have thought it was a human head in the box. Once I realized what I was holding, I dropped the bag and kicked it out of my room and did the heebie-jeebie dance for about 10 minutes. Oh, and I was dumb enough to open it in FRONT of the class! I need a shower just thinking about it...ick!
    Denise
    Sunny Days In Second Grade

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    Replies
    1. OMG...I would die if I had a bag of cockroaches!!! LOL.

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  4. Oh goodness!! Sounds like a nightmare experience. I was going to get an ant farm as a "class pet" this year- so glad I didn't!

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    Replies
    1. My guinea pigs don't even bite! Love them, but they are not part of our science curriculum.

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  5. Yikes! You are brave! That's awesome. I love the ant labeling freebies - thank you!

    Emily
    Tangled with Teaching

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  6. Sorry to laugh at your expense but this is hilarious. I wish you would have taken pictures! At my school we have untamed ants ALL OVER. I wish you could come visit and be our guest Ant Wrangler because truly our ant problem is out of control.

    The other day I thought I felt a spider on me and I about stripped down in the middle of a lesson shrieking! The kids thought it was hilarious and I never did find out what I felt :(


    Randi @ Teach It With Class
    My TPT Store
    My Facebook Page

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  7. Oh, this made me laugh. I had a very similar experience several years ago. I haven't done the ant farm since then. I made the paper funnel and they crawled back out and I got bite by a couple, wow it did sting. Thanks for the great freebie and your story.
    Tonia
    Mrsvento.blogspot

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    Replies
    1. If I had not had my aide there to help, I probably would have gotten bitten, too! Why do they have to be such nasty buggers?

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  8. I can picture this all happening! I'm laughing a little....are you made? :)
    You are such a great teacher who always goes above and beyond! Thanks for the freebies! We'll be doing a bug theme coming up in may!

    -Rachelle
    What The Teacher Wants

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    Replies
    1. No, not at all! I am laughing about it now. I get over things pretty quickly.

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  9. Great story, thanks for the laught!!! I can't help but remember how much I admired you when you started the Critters in the Classroom Blog!
    You've got some great critters now! :)
    ~Fern

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  10. A boy brought me a box of crickets once. (I thought they were cockroaches at first.) I sent them home with students on the weekends, and then one mom wrote that they died in her care. I have never been so happy.

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  11. Oh yes - those ants. Have done the same ant farm. However, ours didn't sting. I think that's because they were so comatose from the delivery (I ordered them in winter and some of them actually froze in the mail). Glad I'm not the only one who loves doing cool stuff like this but freaks out if the ants escape!

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  12. So darn funny! If the real world only knew what we teachers really do! I think you need to whip up an Ant Wrangler t-shirt to celebrate your new found talent!
    ☮Monica
    The Schroeder Page

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  13. "Ants in your pants! Make you want to do the boogie dance!!" Did your mom ever say that to you? That is too funny !!

    April

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  14. Oh my goodness, I really needed that laugh!!

    Angela
    The Daily Alphabet

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  15. Thank you so much for the freebies! I have had that happen before and they do sting! Mine arrived today and I thought I killed them by leaving them in the fridge too long..had a phone call, but they seem to be up and around now..a little bit like they're drunk, lol, but moving!

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  16. While reading your post, I thought I saw something crawling on the printer. Seriously. What is it about bugs? The power of suggestion makes them come alive!

    Thanks for the freebie! We are studying insect this week and tomorrow is ant day :-).

    ReadWriteSing

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  17. I love your blog and all of your units I have bought so far. I just started a blog and would love if your would come and follow.

    totallyterrificteachingtools.blogspot.com

    Lohren Nolan

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  18. If you ever decide to leave teaching, writing, blogging, etc, you may have a bright future in stand up comedy. Thank you for everything you share with us, but most especially the laughter!

    Laura

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  19. Thanks for the cute freebie. I will be adding this to my insect unit. You are pretty amazing.
    -Lauren
    www.weeklyhive.blogspot.com
    I actually think I have an ant farm in my teaching closet somewhere. I need to pull that out. : )

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  20. I have done the harvester ants in my classroom before. I loaded them into the ant farm at my mom's house, since she lives close to the school. I hear your pain about the vials being too big for the entrances to the ant farms. I lost a few and one bit my mom. She just killed it.

    Then I had Horned Toad Lizards as pets at home and we would feed them harvester ants (which we bought in bulk) a bunch at a time and keep them in the refrigerator in between feedings. One day, I was spooning them into the aquarium and an ant woke up, unbeknownst to me, and crawled up the spoon, up my shirt, up my arm and bit me. The pain was horrific. I pulled my sleeve up and couldn't figure out why I was in pain because the ant was attacking my sleeve and not my arm at the moment and I couldn't see it. I finally found it and promptly killed it. Needless to say, two days later, I was in the doctor's office getting yelled at because I'm allergic to the bites and swelled up like a balloon.

    My advice, check what kind of ants you buy for your ant farms because you or the students could be allergic.

    Tracey

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  21. I was thinking about doing an Ant Farm next year with my Second Graders. Hmmm, I might have to reconsider for next year.

    Cara
    The Teacher's Backpack

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  22. Too funny! Thanks for the freebies! I might have to try this next year! :)

    Mary
    Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives

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    ReplyDelete

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