Discussion on artificial ants nests including Test Tubes, Soil Nests, Foraging Areas and Ytong Nests
User avatar
By DaveUnder

I plan to use gypsum for creating my next custom made nest. So far have done couple of grout based nests.
It will be small one. will fit it inside 100mm x 150mm picture frame.

As a material gypsum is reasonably brittle. But as I have bag of it laying around - why not mess with it a little.
The brittle side of it slightly concerns me. Was thinking of making the gypsum "brick" ~30mm thick, hope it will be thick enough.

Second thing I'm concerned is humidity. In direct contact with water, gypsum should start to turn back into dough.
Not sure jet, how to do proper hydration system into gypsum nest.
I have feeling this material is suitable more for very dry loving ants only, where you can keep the nest very dry and provide water in out-world.
Ants might be even able to dig though it maybe over longer period of time.

Plan is to accommodate one of my Lasius Niger colonies into that nest. If that would be no-no case for any reasons, let me know.

All comments-suggestions welcome. Having good starting point with better knowledge on gypsum as nest material would prevent me inventing the wheel :-)

User avatar
By DaveUnder
@milant, thats good point and might be decently working solution when using gypsum.

I was messing around with gypsum yesterday and by the time I was about to pour it into my nest cast- it had already hardened into solid block. I was only 1 minute late. :) I knew it will harden quite fast, but didn't expect it to do it that fast.

Today morning I was taking a closer look into that block and my conclusion is, gypsum is not best material for making nest. Too brittle to my taste. Also as I expected - direct contact with water will solve it back into dough to some degree. So there is no option to use traditional hydration where you create separated chamber with spawn to hold the water for hydration.
On the other hand for dry nest it might even work with milant suggested hydrating. In hope ants would not dig through it.

As I have my cast still unused I will get some proper grout from store and will go with already tested solution.
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