Antworks Antfarm Gel Recipie

antworks-green-illuminated-ant-farm_1.jpgI saw a video of ants building tunnels in this stuff via time lapse on youtube and got to wondering, “wouldn’t it be cool if I got two 4×8′ sheets of Plexiglas and made my own ant farm using about five gallons of this stuff?” Sadly the manufactuer has the market cornered and doesn’t just sell the gel in powder form. BUT – Looks like someone recently stumbled upon the recipe, in the form of the actual patent(!). US Patent 5803014 – Habitat media for ants and other invertebrates. It can be difficult to find all the different ingredients. They are not always available in supermarkets. Try looking at local specialty shops in their baking section, or google for “make your own soda” and check ebay or chemical supply companies. Most of the ingredients below are also found in many times of soda. Make sure you purchase FOOD GRADE ingredients. I’ve made the recipe more human readable below the cut. Instructions should be the same as making Jello, heat to a boil, mix all the ingredients together well, and then pour at near boiling into the final holding device. The faster the gel cools the thicker and stronger and more dirt-like it will be. I wouldn’t recommend an ant farm much thicker than 2 or 3 inches due to cooling problems unless you live somewhere like Norway and are doing this outside in the dead of winter.

A soil-less ant habitat medium providing both a habitat and nutrients comprising the combination of a culture medium and a chemical agent, which chemical agent comprises:

Antimicrobial ingredients:

The chemical agent is present in the culture medium at a concentration that reduces or prevents microbial contamination of the culture medium
methylchloroisothiazolinone, concentrationof about 2.0 to 2.6 g/l
methylisothiazolinone, concentration of about 0.6 to about 0.8 g/l
magnesium chloride, concentration of about 15.0 to 30 g/l
magnesium nitrate, concentration of about 15.0 to 30 g/l

The Actual Gel:
The ant habitat medium, the gel :
potassium sorbate, concentration of about 15 to about 25 g/l
benzoate, concentration of about 13 to about 27 g/l
sodium benzoate, concentration of about 13 to about 27 g/l.
potassium sorbate concentration of about 15 to about 25 g/l
sodium benzoate, concentration of about 13 to about 27 g/l.
sucrose (sugar), concentration of about 2% w/w

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24 Responses to Antworks Antfarm Gel Recipie

  1. Justin says:

    I am having trouble finding the ingredients in the recipe any idea where to get the anti methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone


  2. You can buy ant gel refill kits at
    It says it makes over one quart of gel so it depends how thick your ant farm is
    but I think you could make a pretty big one with one or two kits.
    I see it on ebay too but it costs a dollar more.

  3. ahmedvadia says:

    what about the salts and all

  4. ahmedvadia says:

    also the methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone is not necessary as it is used for its antimicrobial properties

  5. admin says:

    I would imagine you’d want the antimicrobial ingredients, otherwise you’ve got a vertical petri dish full of what’s essentially agar — ripe for a mold colony

  6. Isadora says:

    What would be the “other invertebrates” that can live on this gel?

  7. Hudson says:

    So, what if you just replace the “The Actual Gel” recipe with just plain gelatin and then added the Antimicrobial ingredients. Would it still work as an ant farm gel?

  8. admin says:

    I don’t think there’s enough nutrients in gelatin to support 50 ants for more than a day or two. Your ants would starve to death from malnutrition. What’s the longest you’ve lived on nothing but jell-o?

  9. Hudson says:

    Well what if you fed them other foods (protien and sugars) like you usually do in an ant farm? It seems like it might work.

  10. Kriss says:

    Hey antchow is the best I built a 20 feet tall 50 feet wyde and the thing is full

  11. Isadora says:

    This gel recipe didn’t work for me.

  12. Thomas says:

    There are a couple of places that sell the gel online. I found and the I went with ant chow at first because it seemed to be cheaper. I built a smallish test farm, but ant chow wouldn’t work. The ants just ran around on the top forever until they died; no digging.

    After that, I emailed the guys at, and it turns out that their bulk prices are MUCH cheaper than their retail (and even cheaper than ant chow). I ordered enough to fill my test farm, and it was a great success! The ants tunneled like crazy and the gel seems to be holding up well (they’ve been in there for 3 weeks so far). I’m in the process of designing a larger farm, and then I’ll be getting more gel from the antgel guys.

  13. Patrick says:


    Did you ever tried to make a Antfarm gel with this recepie and were you succesful?
    I checked the recepie and there are several ingredints which appear twice. And as I know from my experience in biocemistry that the mixture should be more complicatet.

  14. brandon says:

    do you think you could sell me it in like a kit?
    please? ;-;

  15. Michelle RS. Galletto Denning says:

    I am starting a colony of my own with the above mixture, except for one thing! :)
    Antimicrobial Agent: approx. 3 drops of tea tree oil per liter.
    Ant Gel (per liter): 25 grams potassium sorbate, 27 grams sodium benzoate, 1 teaspoon of sugar.

    Read more: Homemade Ant Farm Gel at:

  16. admin says:

    How did you arrive at your formula?

  17. Mike says:

    I would also really like to know if anyone has done this to good effect. Someone said gelatin wouldn’t work because it’s only sugar, yet this recipe is nothing but water, preservatives, and sugar, lol. I would imagine ants would need at least a protein source of some kind in order to survive for any length of time. Anyway if anyone has any additional info please let us know!

  18. Me says:

    What if I use gelitin

  19. Candice says:

    Ant farm instructions tell you to start the tunnels yourself with a small stick. Once the ants find the break in the surface, they usually start digging.

  20. Tennill says:

    Is it common you have to break the surface Of the gel before the ants begin to dig?

  21. shreyanshi says:

    I tried with agar… and agarose… dey died in agros… n didnt did anythng on agar…though i kept dem for only 20hrs approx on the agar gel…

  22. Peter Hawkes says:

    Gelatin is protein, not sugar…a bigger problem than lack of nutritional properties with using gelatin would be that it would be a prime target for bacterial & fungal growth…

  23. I have had some luck with these ingredients. I sell Ant Farm refill kits that make 2 cups of gel for just $7.50 including shipping. Good luck!

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