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A prefabricated ant nest


  • A brief explanation about Azcatl Project.

    A brief explanation about Azcatl Project.

  • Why insects?

  • 3D Printed Nest

  • Our vision is to create awareness of mexican edible insects helping communities involved to grow.

  • Escamoles is a tasty dish served in Mexico, the ant´s pupae are eaten since prehispanic times.

What it does

Azcatl is a prefabricated nest that will help ants to establish its colony quicker and easier. Therefore, the cycle of repopulation will not be drastically interrupted, producing every season a regular amount of escamoles.

Your inspiration

According to several studies, by 2050 the world population will increase to 9 billion people, as a consequence the demand for food and water will grow proportionally producing a crisis that our planet may not be able to cover. The possibilities to face a food crisis are limited but we truly believe insects are the missing link in the food industry that can create a circular economy, being a food and feeding source.

How it works

The prefabricated nest is produced with 3D printing technology and PLA, which is a filament that is easy to use and is made from renewable resources and thus, biodegradable. The piece measure 15 cm and it is placed next to a small ant’s colony (princess and workers). The foundation of the nest begins with the nuptial flight in the dry and hot season after a casual storm; after fertilized, the queen initiates the nest building and egg laying( 400- 600 eggs). Then these eggs are transported from the queen’s charm to the trabecula (centre of the nest) and are breeding by the workers. Few weeks later, the collectors can take the nest and the escamoles (pupae of the ants) without breaking it, thank to the material that is used to be printed, PLA,resistant and durable; then the collector can place the nest again underground with the whole colony, causing the less impact possible. Finally the ants repopulate the colony and will not be necessary to rebuild the nest.

Design process

For us have been very important to have a solid research about the future of the food and the food production alternatives. We have shared our knowledge and ideas with people from different backgrounds, such as biologist and collectors from the market San Juan (Mexico) to create a solution based on insects against the complex problem that is the food crisis. We have been developing many ideas, such as prefabricated nests, nutritious and delicious recipes and systems that can improve traditional food production. In fact, we printed our first nest prototype to see how the ants interact with it and how they adapt it to start its colony.

How it is different

The prefabricated nest can represent a sustainable opportunity for rural communities, because it does not have a negative impact in the ecosystem due to the fact the materials used are 100% biodegradable and the ants do not need a huge amount of water, feeding or land, furthermore these ants have been the backbone of the aqua farming in Mexico for centuries and the locals do not need special machines or technologies to develop this activity. Also this activity can be its principal source of income considering that 1 kg of escamoles is around 100 dollars.

Future plans

Our vision is clear: create awareness about food; we are concerned about the future and how the traditional food production are representing a very dangerous problem to our world, contaminating water bodies, destroying forest and jungles, forcing some animal species to leave their home in them. Next step is to create an artificial semi- cultivation of escamoles improving the collecting method. We are planning to scale this project into other delicious and difficult to farm insects, like gusanos de maguey or scorpions, also publishing a book about mexican edible insects with recipes and geografical and historical information.


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