I had some piping and discs left over from my leaf cutter set up which is nearly complete so I decided to make a new formicarium for one of my many Lasius species caught this summer. Now all will be going into hibernation in about a week but one which I will keep on a heat mat and hope that they don't suffer from skipping their first years hibernation. I'm leaning towards Lasius flavus just because of the depth of the nest.
This nest was made with:
- Plaster of paris
- 40mm dia acrylic pipe
- 70mm dia acrylic disc for the base
- Clean sink sponge
- Hypodermic needle
- 9mm tubing
- Tensol 12
- Aquarium sealant
- Red acetate
- Desert sand mix + leaf for top decor
Essentially step by step what I did was:
1) Prepare plaster of paris (PoP) in jug
2) Pour into pipe and allow to set
3) Be gentle and tap PoP.
4) After 10 minutes of being gentle start to violently shake and whack acrylic pipe for another 10 minutes
5) Clean the pipe of any debris and apply Tensol 12 to base creating exterior of nest
6) Using appropriate drill pieces carve into plaster mold you internal nest design
7) Wait 48 hours from point of applying Tensol 12
8) Seal around base. Squish sealant with finger covered in washing up liquid to get a close and air bubble free seal
9) Fit plaster mold
10) Draw 8mm circle on nest in appropriate place for where you will place you tubing
11) Remove plaster mold and drill hole
12) Clean the nest to dispose of any acrylic debris
13) Put sponge in the bottom and pierce acrylic with hypodermic needle to allow injection of water
14) Seal hole where hypodermic needle is position
15) Put plaster mold back into the correct space
16) Feed tube through into nest and seal with sealant
17) Place straw into nest entrance from the surface ensuring that a good portion of straw is above level
18) Put more PoP into top of nest and apply small decorative pieces.
19) Spin straw a couple of times while it dries. Once dry remove straw
20) Apply PTFE to the top of the nest
21) Tape red acetate in a way to slide over the tube
Essentially every single thing I did in case anyone ever feels inclined to do something similar but with this type of nest design it's pretty straight forward without much space for serious error.
I personally quite like the design of the nest. It's very slim so can sit on a window sill or in a corner. Quite easy to fit anywhere. It also is quite aesthetically pleasing in the sense that it looks like a deep dug out nest.