How to participate
Thank you for your interest in participating in the School of Ants! We have made a short video showing how easy it is to collect and submit your samples. You can watch it here.
We are accepting samples from anywhere. Right now we are prioritizing samples from New York, Wisconsin and Washington, where the invasive Asian needle ant has recently been found by citizen scientists. We are also quickly going through samples more generally from Chicago, New York City or Raleigh-Durham. We will continue with samples from elsewhere too though, just more slowly. Forgive our speed, science takes time (as does glueing each ant onto a tiny, tiny, pin to identify them). So go head and team up with the School of Ants to discover what ants live in these three cities! Read on to see how to get started:
FIRST: make your own ant sampling kit from household materials. Just click the button below for instructions!
SAMPLING ANTS for the School of Ants involves placing cookie baits outdoors in green spaces (lawns, gardens, woods) and paved places (asphalt, concrete, cobblestone) for one hour on a warm day. We want to know what ants discover the baits in your neighborhood!(ALLERGY WARNING!: this activity uses Keebler Pecan Sandies cookies, which contain pecans, wheat, egg and whey).
COLLECTING the samples takes approximately one hour (roughly a single class session). We hope participating in this project is a great way to get engaged with your local environment. This project touches on topics including biodiversity, ecology, habitats, insects and invasive species. No prior experience with ants is necessary – just an interest in participating in science!
RECORDING DATA is an important part of any scientific endeavor, so you'll record your data when you are collecting your ants and enter this information into the online form before sending your kit back to us. To enter data you'll need to register with the School of Ants. After your account is set up you can record your data!
SUBMITTING YOUR SAMPLE is easy! When you enter your data enter your data into our online form you will receive a Confirmation Code. Make sure you include your Confirmation Code when you send your kit in with (hopefully!) vials full of ants (sacrificed by freezing overnight) to the following address. Our Team will identify the ants you send and incorporate your data into maps of backyard biodiversity from this project.
OR if your ant collections are from Florida:
School of Ants c/o Dr. Andrea Lucky
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida
970 Natural Area Drive,
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
RESULTS will be disseminated via our interactive website through which you will be able to search for your collection on our ant map, once your specimens have been identified.
TO FIND YOUR ANTS go to the School of Ants home page, find the search bar on the ant map and type in the address where your ants were collected. You can also zoom in to find your collection site visually. Click on any yellow circle and you will see what species have been found within 1km of that specific site. If more than one collection was made in this area, you can choose to see the results of each collection separately by clicking on the name of a specific capture event. As we receive and process more collections you will see results from all over the country and around the world!
FIND OUT MORE about species that have been collected by clicking on the species names listed at any site. You will see maps of ant distributions across the USA, photos and information about these species.
THANK YOU for your interest and participation!
~ The School of Ants Team