Ants are persistent, industrious little guys—unlike me on a Monday morning. If you've ever had an ant farm, you know it's easy to peek in and see them moving around, tunneling, gathering food, and exploring. But it's hard to see the progress of the ant farm over time, because, let's face it, ants are small and tunneling goes slowly. Enter timelapse photography!
In this three-minute video spanning 52 days, we see nearly the whole life cycle of a Harvester Ant colony living in a gel environment. In this environment, the gel provides both food and a tunneling medium. An enterprising YouTuber (technoendo) set up the ant farm with a timelapse camera rig pointed at it. Get ready to feel way less productive:
The photographer wrote on YouTube:
Today on day 52 I'm declaring this project officially done. The cats knocked the ant farm off the shelf as they were found sleeping right next to where it was the following morning. Many ants have died as part of their natural 3 month life cycle, and with no queen to keep the hive coming it does come down to the end. Hopefully all that blue gel is tasty and that they had decent lives indoors in stable conditions with plentiful food.
Oh, cats. There's more information in the YouTube description.
For another perspective, here's another video showing just seven days of a similar colony—but the photographer uses flashlights to encourage the ants to tunnel in new directions. Check it out (warning: techno soundtrack):
Similar ant farms are under $20 on Amazon. You have to provide your own ants or buy them online separately, though.