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Ant Picnic

Main Project Information
Presented By Rob Dunn Lab
Goal Inform scientists about global food preferences of ants
Task Create a picnic for ants, wait an hour, record number of ants
Where Global, anywhere on the planet

Prepare 6 food types for ants to learn more about what they prefer to snack on, tell us a little about the environment where you set up your ant picnic, count the ants that came to each food type, take a picture of your experiment, collect the ants to confirm your count and report the results.

Since 2011 the Rob Dunn Lab at North Carolina State University has been asking the question, “Which ant species live where?” and citizen scientists have been answering by collecting ants with cookies in their backyards and schoolyards and mailing them to the lab. Now we are asking another question about those ants: What do ants prefer to eat around the world?

Although diet preferences and needs for humans are well documented, we are still learning about the diet preferences of ants in different parts of the world. What ants eat at different times of the year and in different places around the world tells us what might be missing in their environment and how climate change could impact ant populations.

Social Media
Expenses $15
Materials List Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Amino Acids: Pure L-Glutamine powder, Sugar Water, Salt Water, Water, cotton balls, 5 containers for mixing solutions, Measuring spoons or scale, Pecan Sandies Cookies, Experiment in Progress Sign, Data Sheet, Sandwich Size Ziploc Bags, White 3x5 index cards, Pencil for data recording and labeling, camera phone or digital camera
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Average Time An hour or so
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a hike, At home, At the beach, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium, At night, At sports stadiums, On a lunch break
Training Materials
Class Materials,
Tags ant, ant picnic, ants, cookies, diet, dunn lab, fall, food, fun, girl scouts, north carolina, nutrients, nutrition, outside, picnic, rob dunn, rob dunn lab, spring, summer, wildlife, winter, your wild life
Project Updated 10/04/2018