Kids get a close-up look at nature in action with the deadly doodlebugs activity.
Ant lions are the larvae of insects called doodlebugs. These larvae create funnel-shape holes in the ground, which unsuspecting ants fall into. Complete this activity to watch the deadly ant lion larva snare an ant.
What You'll Need:
- Ant lion hole
- Live ants
- Garden gloves
- Tea strainer
How to do the deadly doodlebugs activity:
Step 1: Find an ant lion hole. These funnel-shaped holes, about 2 inches in diameter, can be seen around paths, construction sites, and most buildings where the soil is loose.
Step 2: When you find a hole, use tweezers to drop an ant into the pit. If ants are not available, drop a grain of sand into the pit. The ant lion may be fooled into thinking it is an ant.
Step 3: After observing the ant lion in action, use a tea strainer to scoop up the sand at the bottom of the funnel. The sand falls through, and you can observe the ant lion.
Step 4: Release the ant lion, and watch it build a pit of death.
Don't use your hands to pick up ants that bite. Wear garden gloves when using the strainer.
The ant lion builds its trap in loose soil. Sometimes it will build traps under ledges of buildings to prevent rainwater from entering.
The ant lion will often hurl sand at the ant to make it fall into its pit. It then attacks the ant with long, sharp jaws, injecting poison and enzymes. Finally, the ant lion sucks out the inside of the ant.
When you scoop up the ant lion, you will see what makes it such an efficient killer of ants. They have bristles everywhere, and their huge jagged jaws are able to pierce the ant, inject poison, and suck out the juices.
Now that you've watched ant lions in action, move on to the next section to observe ants at a picnic.