Education, Homeschool, Nature, Nature Study, Science

Nature Study- fun with ants

We have a little park a couple blocks behind our house that the boys love to play at. We went the other day and saw hundreds of huge ants crawling everywhere. We decided to do an experiment to see what ants really like to eat and if natural repellent really works.

We ran home and gathered up some household items, a few egg cartons, paper plates and a pen. The items we set out as our ant bait included:

  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Flour
  • Peanut Butter
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
They hypothesized that the ants would eat the sugar and honey first. Cinnamon, turmeric and vinegar are supposed to be natural repellents for ants, so we wanted to see if it was true.
The ants immediately found the honey and water and those were the only things they were attracted to. The boys were surprised that the ants didn’t touch the sugar or even go near it. Next we moved the cinnamon near the honey and the ants started to leave the honey and did not return to it.
On a paper plate we put honey and a repellent to see if they would leave the honey if they smelled something else. Sure enough, you can see this little ant scampering away from the vinegar.
Being boys, they couldn’t help but be amused and decided to put everything else on a plate where a few ants were feasting on the honey. It was pretty funny, the ants ran around frantically trying to find their way off the plate while the boys laughed hysterically at the ants’ erratic behavior. *disclaimer: no ants were harmed during this experiment!
Then they dumped a bunch of turmeric right in the middle of a bunch of ants and watched them scatter.
It was a pretty fun experiment and now we know if we get ants in our house we’ll be sprinkling cinnamon, turmeric and vinegar everywhere 😉