NPR logo Ant Farm Entrepreneur Milton Levine Dies at 97

Ant Farm Entrepreneur Milton Levine Dies at 97

Milton Levine in 2006 i

Milton Levine in 2006 Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

toggle caption Damian Dovarganes/AP
Milton Levine in 2006

Milton Levine in 2006

Damian Dovarganes/AP

The man who helped put the ant farm on cultural map has died at 97. Uncle Milton's Ant Farm sold more than 20 million copies during the lifetime of co-inventor Milton Levine.

The Los Angeles Times has a full obituary for Levine, who built his business into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.

The Times says that ants for the ant farms were gathered from the Mojave Desert:

"The insects were gathered by ant rustlers who were paid a penny apiece for red harvester ants from the Mojave Desert."

"Over time, the ant farm was tinkered with. The original glue was toxic to some ants, so a replacement was found. Sand made way for white-ish volcanic ash, which made the ants more visible."

"Both Levine and Cossman promoted the ant farm on television. Levine made an 'executive' ant farm of mahogany and glass for Dick Clark and spoke at length with the puppet Lamb Chop on The Shari Lewis Show."

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