There are a whole host of reasons to visit the Stratford Butterfly Farm during the Easter holidays from 21 March - 8 April. Not only are two new Leafcutter Ant Colonies on display in Arachnoland, but the refurbishment of the Farm is now well under way. There is now a new demonstration area in the Caterpillar Room where visitors can see presentations of how pupae imports & exports are managed, see the pupae gluing in preparation for the emerging cage, view seed and planting presentations and take part in the popular Meet the Mini-Beast Handling Sessions.
The Leafcutter Ants are fascinating to watch as they march high above on a rope walkway stretching 25 metres to carry leaves. Learn some fascinating facts about these amazing insects; for instance, Ants are able to carry loads exceeding 10 times their own body weight. Next to humans, Leafcutter Ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth. All the workers are female; males are only produced when creating new colonies. Male and female flying Ants leave the nest once a year and when the females lose their wings and become Queens, the males die! The Queen is the size of a large Bumble Bee and is enveloped in the Fungus garden where, quite rightly, she is tended to by her tiny workers!
Some Ants hitch a ride back on the leaves being carried, acting as guards against parasitic flies. Ants don't eat the leaves but pass them on to specialist workers who mulch them into the fungus....it is the fungus the Ants feed on. Ants travel by following pheromones; just 1 gram of this pheromone is enough to lay a trail around the world!
Jane Kendrick, Marketing Manager at the Stratford Butterfly Farm said "Our Ants display is fascinating and something for everyone to enjoy. Watching them march along the rope walkway is an amazing spectacle to see. We are also delighted to show some of the improvements to the Farm we are making to increase the visitors' experience"
To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from 10am every day of the week. Entry fees are Adults £6.25, Seniors & Students £5.75, Children (under 3's go free) £5.25, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £18.50. Group discounts are available. Registered Carers are admitted free of charge. For more information please visit the website at http://www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288.