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A 3,600 mile long ant colony
April 21, 2002 11:37 PM   Subscribe

A 3,600 mile long ant colony was discovered last week in Europe. An amazing feat of cooperative living.
posted by pinto (15 comments total)

 
I couldn't find a more permanent link. Stumbled on the site doing a Feeling Lucky search of "scientist drill bait" My ffpp.
posted by pinto at 11:39 PM on April 21, 2002


Permanent Link.

I wonder when they'll start the takeover and finally knock us humans off the top of the hill.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:44 PM on April 21, 2002


And they're all talking about my kitchen.
posted by pracowity at 11:56 PM on April 21, 2002


"When ants of the two supercolonies were placed together they invariably fought to the death, while ants from different nests of the same supercolony showed no aggression to one another."

I think humans and ants are more alike than either would like to admit.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:35 AM on April 22, 2002


"scientist drill bait"

That's kinky.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:45 AM on April 22, 2002


I am not fond of ants. We are starting to have fire ants in this area and I just know the first time I encounter them, I am going to go nuts and set my entire yard on fire.

And the story below the supercolony one sounded like something out of a science fiction movie. Acid-spraying ants chewing up millions of crabs? Ugh. Nightmares await. I am going to be reading junk on this antcolony site for the next two hours, maybe I can forget about the acid-spewing ants of death.

There is some previous discussion here.
posted by bargle at 2:13 AM on April 22, 2002


bargle: I am going to go nuts and set my entire yard on fire.

That souns positively Homer-esque!
posted by davidmsc at 3:51 AM on April 22, 2002


I am not fond of ants.

Nor am I. Especially after sitting on a log as a kid and having the red ants crawl up my leg and bite me. As a result, I am not fond of ants in my pants either.
posted by jaden at 6:03 AM on April 22, 2002


But did you ever read Thoreau on ants fighting? It's marvelous.
posted by pracowity at 6:11 AM on April 22, 2002


A 3,600 mile long ant colony was discovered last week in Europe. An amazing feat of cooperative living.

What cooperative living? The ants? Or Europe?
posted by jpburns at 6:11 AM on April 22, 2002


I wonder when they'll start the takeover and finally knock us humans off the top of the hill

They were here before us. They'll be here after we go extinct. And they have always outnumbered us. If ants could think, I think they'd think they are already at the top of the hill.
posted by plaino at 7:08 AM on April 22, 2002


Good heavens, Clifford Simak's City comes to life.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:26 AM on April 22, 2002


Ever since I wiped my face with a towel crawling with red ants they've given me the creeps. I hope the super colony doesn't make it's way across the sea. Eech, an anty Channel Tunnel.
posted by Saima at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2002


In the early Eighties, my family live in rural Missouri, down a bit of gravel road. One spring it rained and rained. It seemed like days. The creeks overflowed, the ditches ran like torrents, new gullies were created in the back yard. And the ants came. The rain chased them out of their holes and into our basement: thousands upon thousands, crawling along the walls like veins in marble. How do you deal with this? Set the house on fire? There are chemicals to kill: but it would have taken a long fumigation and we were reluctant to give up our house to the invaders. Store-bought aerosol products were considered, but the quantities we needed would have been expensive, and again, we rejected the idea of filling our home with a chemical fog.

In the end, we vacuumed them. For hours we took turns with a little round robot looking vacuum, the kind with three wheels underneath. We filled the bag on that thing: thousands of ants do not have a lot off mass or volume. What they did have was a stench like carbolic acid. That vacuum cleaner was unusuable after that. Its exhaust would spew out this ungodly smell and remind us of that carnage we had participated in.

We experimented with their paths: you could rub a wet cloth across a path and the ants would be confused, chaotically spreading out to re-connect the two broken pieces of trail. In this way you could corral them, force smaller paths to join the larger stream and so make the ants easier to suck up into the pipe and die. It must have taken them ages to die in that vacuum cleaner: it does not kill them, but traps them, and I often wonder if they did not try to create a mini-world in there, adapting as best they could until all food ran out, or until the ants that died had been exhausted as a food source, leaving in the end a single champion atop a hill of crumbly shells.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:26 AM on April 22, 2002 [1 favorite]


A poetic post Mo Nickels. Thanks.
posted by Zootoon at 3:23 PM on April 23, 2002


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