Some experiments call for controlled conditions, which is where lab experiments on housed colonies can be useful. I love building experimental apparatus, and at NJIT I was able to build state-of-the-art ant filming setups. These were environmentally stable, light-controlled gantries equipped with full-spectrum and ultraviolet illumination settings and customisable experimental arenas.
Time lapse of internest trails in Argentine ants (Linepithema humile):
Time lapse of slime mould (Physarum polycephalum) exploring the surface of a bowl of water:
Time lapse of slime mould solving the U-shaped trap problem on a blank agar substrate (using its extracellular slime trail as an externalised patial memory system):
Time lapse of slime mould trying to solve the U-shaped trap problem on a substrate coated in extracellular slime (memory system disabled):
Time lapse of a large P. polycephalum plasmodium on a glucose nutrient agar:
I love to use microscopes when I can. I could sit for hours watching the hypnotic flow of cytoplasm inside a Physarum polycephalum tubule! (this video has been sped up around 20x):
I like using 3D printers for producing custom, replicable apparatus for experiments. They are also great fun!