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Swarming Ants Destroy Electronics in Texas

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the where's-tiny-ender-when-you-need-him dept.

Bug 328

AntOverlords writes "Voracious swarming ants that apparently arrived in Texas aboard a cargo ship are invading homes and yards across the Houston area, shorting out electrical boxes and messing up computers. They have ruined pumps at sewage pumping stations, fouled computers and at least one homeowner's gas meter, and caused fire alarms to malfunction. They have been spotted at NASA's Johnson Space Center and close to Hobby Airport, though they haven't caused any major problems there yet."

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First computer bug (4, Informative)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416410)

Interestingly, the first ever computer bug was also of the 'physical' variety - See here [jamesshuggins.com]

Re:First computer bug (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416428)

You must be new here

Re:First computer bug (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416752)

You must be new here
He's an ant.

Re:First computer bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416936)

too bad he's not 'newt' here ... /tip your waitress

Re:First computer bug (5, Informative)

karbonKid (902236) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417018)

No, it wasn't [askoxford.com] .

Re:First computer bug (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417160)

Interestingly, the first ever computer bug was also of the 'physical' variety - See here [jamesshuggins.com]

From the article you link to:

So, where did the term "bug" come from?

Well, the entry ("First actual case of bug being found.") shows that the term was already in use before the moth was discovered. Grace Hopper also reported that the term "bug" was used to describe problems in radar electronics during WWII [emph mine]

Re:First computer bug (2, Interesting)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417250)

"It has been just so in all of my inventions. The first step is an intuition, and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise--this thing gives out and [it is] then that 'Bugs'--as such little faults and difficulties are called--show themselves and months of intense watching, study and labor are requisite before commercial success or failure is certainly reached."

-- Edison

Ob. post (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416416)

I for one welcome our swarming ant overlords - just so long as they stay in YOUR neighborhood.

Re:Ob. post (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416470)

What species of ant overload is the question...

Blame Apache (4, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416418)

The ants are finally tired of building my Java code for me I see.

Happens all the time Mexico (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416424)

Umm? Is this news? My friends living on an island near Cancun, Mexico have this problem all the time... for years...

Re:Happens all the time Mexico (3, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416814)

TFA says that the ants come from Caribean areas, so Mexico would be on the way as well. After reading TFA I'm a little worried for the people in the area, this looks like the start of something major. Typhoon, earthquake, killer ants, what next? Better get Bruce Willis to start astronaut training real soon.

Re:Happens all the time Mexico (2, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416922)

This is news for nerds. It didn't become news until they started killing computers. Now we're incensed!

Glad I live in North Houston. The buggers will never get past Pasadena! Nothing survives Pasadena.....for very long.

Re:Happens all the time Mexico (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417114)

True! LOL!

It was only a matter of time ... (4, Funny)

Falstius (963333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416430)

Biological cyber warefare! Did anyone check their heads for lasers?

Re:It was only a matter of time ... (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416478)

Don't be silly. These are ants, not sharks.

Re:It was only a matter of time ... (1, Offtopic)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417090)

Is that a ..... WMD? Well at least we found one!

Undocumented insects (4, Funny)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416434)

They're just destroying the electronics that American ants won't.

Re:Undocumented insects (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416858)

Did anyone else read where these ants kill fire ants?

Nevermind, this is /., no one RTFA.

Having one invasive species killing off another invasive species.

Sounds like the man who had a mouse problem, so he got a cat.
Had a cat problem so he got a dog.
Had a dog problem so he got a tiger.
Had a tiger problem, so he got an elephant.

Had an elephant problem, so he got a mouse.

Re:Undocumented insects (5, Interesting)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416956)

Did anyone else read where these ants kill fire ants?

Yeah, and "the ants also like to suck the sweet juices from plants, feed on such beneficial insects as ladybugs, and eat the hatchlings of a small, endangered type of grouse known as the Attwater prairie chicken." So while I am all for eliminating fire ants, maybe not at the expense of ladybugs and endangered animals? (well, ok, it's just a prairie chicken)

I liked this part the best: "And when you do kill these ants, the survivors turn it to their advantage: They pile up the dead, sometimes using them as a bridge to cross safely over surfaces treated with pesticide." We're in trouble now.

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416458)

I, for one, welcome our ant overloards. (just getting that out of the way, first thing)

My electronics they can have.... (2, Funny)

whoppo (218875) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416474)

.... just keep 'em out of my beer.

ants 'smarter' than einstein/man'kind'? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416476)

based on their ability to survive/thrive independent of reliance on others' behaviours. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Re:ants 'smarter' than einstein/man'kind'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416982)

umm... what does this have to do with ants?

Are you saying the elected President Gore is really an ant?

I always saw him more as a crab person...

obligatary comment (-1, Redundant)

ZipprHead (106133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416490)

I for one welcome our new ant overlords.

Everytime something like this happens... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416508)

... I'm impressed, by how fast we could be the losing species on this planet.

Imagine a plague that we can't control, originating from such an incident. Small swarming animals are very much in advantage here because there is no big target that we could hit, and because they can reproduce in a more flexible way.

Maybe we should think a bit more about our existence than being arrogant and making "I, for one..." jokes. ;)

Re:Everytime something like this happens... (5, Funny)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416650)

Small swarming animals are very much in advantage here
Fortunately, there are a limited number of Welshmen in the world.

Re:Everytime something like this happens... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23417246)

Ants have been the most successful lifeform on the planet for a long time. Take a look at the Wikipedia article. [wikipedia.org]

"they may constitute up to 15 to 25% of the total terrestrial animal biomass"

"56% of the genera represented on the Baltic amber fossils (early Oligocene), and 96% of the genera represented in the Dominican amber fossils (apparently early Miocene) still survive today"

You are only alive because ants don't view you as a threat.

Re:Everytime something like this happens... (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417468)

and because they can reproduce in a more flexible way.

Hey! We humans can reproduce in many flexible ways [wikipedia.org] . ^.~

Invasive Species (5, Insightful)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416512)

Yet another fine example of invasive species coming to the mainland on improperly inspected container cargo.

Fire ants, Killer bees, Chestnut blight, Dutch Elm Disease, Sudden Oak Death (all invasive and here because of lax monitoring).

No natural predators I bet, and not big news until they spread out across the U.S and degrade the living conditions in your area.

The US should really have much more stringing inspections of container shipping. We can send a man to the moon but not inspect cargo. right?

We rely on cheap goods as imports but fail to take into account the true cost of invasive species control. It is huge.

Re:Invasive Species (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416588)

Yet another fine example of invasive species coming to the mainland on improperly inspected container cargo.

Fire ants, Killer bees, Chestnut blight, Dutch Elm Disease, Sudden Oak Death (all invasive and here because of lax monitoring).
You forgot Europeans from that list.

And your solution is? (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416676)

Ban imports?

Go and look at a container ship, then tell me how you propose to inspect it. Have you any idea how many inspectors would be needed, or how long it would take?

Actually, ants are the least of your worries. It's been pointed out by security specialists that container ships are an ideal way for terrorists to bring in the parts of nuclear weapons. While they're pretending to make things safe at airports, there's a 20-lane superhighway wide open into almost all developed countries, consisting of uninspectable shipping containers and artic trailers. Bomb parts can have their radiation reduced to background levels easily enough, put them in a container full of auto parts and nothing will detect them.

It's one world, for good or bad, and we have to live with it. Blaming foreigners is unlikely to be productive. These things are a cost that we bear because we no longer live in isolated tribal groups or city states, with an average GNP per head of about 600 1980 dollars, or whatever the last estimate was.

Realistically, even a 15kt bomb being exploded by terrorists in the middle of NY or Boston would do less harm to civilisation than natural causes do from time to time, and these ants are equally unlikely to do severe long term damage.

Re:And your solution is? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416946)

Actually, ants are the least of your worries. It's been pointed out by security specialists that container ships are an ideal way for terrorists to bring in the parts of nuclear weapons.

they don't even try to inspect most containers. you wouldn't have to do ANYTHING, just bolt your bomb down to the nice teak floor in the container and forget about it. Trigger via GPS. No one will notice if the antenna is external if it's on the top.

Re:And your solution is? (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417004)

Realistically, even a 15kt bomb being exploded by terrorists in the middle of NY or Boston would do less harm to civilisation than natural causes do from time to time, and these ants are equally unlikely to do severe long term damage.

I disagree. Let's call it "fortunate" that these ants showed up in Houston suburbs and not elsewhere. What if they had managed to land in the datacenter of a major financial institution? What if it were a nuclear power plant supplying electricity to millions of homes? I realize the former wouldn't result in instant death and destruction like your bomb comparison, but it would grind business to a halt until it was sorted out. Additionally, the latter would be a major issue. Even more so because, due to the size of the ants, it could take forever to find and fix the source of the problem. That lack of power, over time, would result in water quality degrading, food supplies going bad, etc. Famine and disease are much more trying ways of perishing than death by big explosion.

I'm not saying "OMG HIT THE PANIC BUTTON NOW!!!" I think, though, that a lot of time needs to be spent removing and containing the threat of these ants before they (inevitably) do spread to your back yard.

Re:And your solution is? (5, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417430)

"What if they had managed to land in the datacenter of a major financial institution?"

Then some rich people would lose some money while a bunch of other rich people would make some.

"What if it were a nuclear power plant supplying electricity to millions of homes?"

Oh my gosh. Power might go off for 2 days while the problem was sorted out. Do you remember the ice storm in Canada in 1998? Didn't think so.

Re:And your solution is? (5, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417130)

Realistically, even a 15kt bomb being exploded by terrorists in the middle of NY or Boston would do less harm to civilisation than natural causes do from time to time,

Yes, but try saying that about 9/11 and see what reactions you'll get by most people. The difference, apparently, is intent. I don't get it either, but 3000 [wikipedia.org] people killed by a bunch of madmen is somehow worse that 15000 to 40000 [yahoo.com] people killed by a natural catastrophe. Heck, the 2004 Tsunami "only" claimed 225000 people [wikipedia.org] .

On the other hand, with a population of over 8 million people, a nuclear bomb isn't even in the same ballpark as the above mentioned earthquake. An unannounced nuclear attack on NYC is going to dwarf regular natural disasters. (Ignoring supervolcanoes and meteor impacts)

For reference: 10 deadliest natural disasters [wikipedia.org]

Re:And your solution is? (2, Insightful)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417310)

But they can still cause a problem - though not to the epic proportions of a NCB weapon could. Wether the port city is small or large where the goods are usually imported for consumption by other cities there are a finite number of people in that city, and a much larger number of people to distribute the goods to in other cities. You're never going to be able to inspect 100% of the goods coming in, unless everyone in the port city is a customs inspector.

Critters and insects still post a problem:
Bugs and other critters are something we don't think about being a nuisance in most of North America because it generally impacts the southern US the most. At the least, as a Canadian, I only have to worry about mosquitos in the summer. Not a colony of electorphilic ant colonies killing my air conditioner and computer. That being said, insects and critters can still ruin a good day for anyone, particularly as we import goods from other countries. Its happened more than a few times in Canada where a venomous spider, scorpion and a few other nasties have shown up in the grocery store with the bananas or in someone's grocery bag.

Re:And your solution is? (2, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417412)

Actually, ants are the least of your worries. It's been pointed out by security specialists that container ships are an ideal way for terrorists to bring in the parts of nuclear weapons.

Worse yet, The Terrorists are right now working on transporter beams that they will surely use to wreak havoc all around us. Our only hope to combat this threat is to completely forfeit what remains of our civil liberties and tithe ever more of our incomes to the burgeoning security partnership of government and industry, whose only interest is vigilance for our protection.

It also wouldn't hurt to invade another country or two.

Re:Invasive Species (2, Insightful)

dnwq (910646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416820)

Of course we can inspect cargo. It's just more expensive to do so. Which is greater, the cost of dealing with invasive species or the cost of preventing their entry? Even a minor accident can nullify everything spent on prevention, so inspections must be designed to very very strict tolerances - invulnerable to bribery, bureaucratic laziness, tourists sneaking pets across, etc. Are you really sure you want to spend more on the latter?

Re:Invasive Species (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417036)

It is not just the cargo. You would have to inspect every inch of the ship right down to the smallest recess at the bottom of the stairs in the locked filing cabinet in the disused lavatory marked "Beware of the Leopard" and you have to do it all at the same time because the insects move. It cannot be done. You cannot search a ship looking for an insect.

Re:Invasive Species (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23417050)

Why do you think Killer bees came in containers?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africanized_bee

Re:Invasive Species (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417348)

The US should really have much more stringing inspections of container shipping. We can send a man to the moon but not inspect cargo. right?
Sending a man to the moon is much easier than inspecting millions of cargo containers on a frequent basis without significantly increasing shipping time.

Re:Invasive Species (1)

loafula (1080631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417376)

You forgot to mention the white man.

Voids Warranty? (5, Interesting)

SpinningCone (1278698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416516)

i used to work for a satellite TV company and insect infestation is was specifically mentioned under the "acts of God" portion of the warranty (more specifically as not covered under said warranty).

in training there were a few tales floating around of people calling in with their receiver boxes killed by ants.

Locusts (5, Funny)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417184)

I think that "acts of God" applies specifically to locusts...

Re:Locusts (4, Insightful)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417470)

No, "acts of God" refers to any loss that a warranty or an insurance company can weasel itself out of covering.

Serious Problem (1, Interesting)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416520)

It's a serious problem... Ant are warm blooded, and are going to like heat... Electronics produce heat (as do Air Conditioning units)

Given the number of Data Centers we have, I'm surprised that we haven't seen more problems like this where bugs (the little six-legged variety) cause more problems.

I do foresee a new booming speciality - Electronics-safe pest control (think Halon vs. Water for fire suppression, except for insects)

Re:Serious Problem (5, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416688)

"...Ant are warm blooded [Citation Needed]..."

Re:Serious Problem (3, Funny)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416882)

Serious Problem: Posting on /. Before Coffee

News at 11

Re:Serious Problem (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417190)

i don't know if individual ants are warm blooded or not, but army ant's bivouacs can get pretty warm due to the heat produced by 200k ants packed in a small ball they form with their own bodies.

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-3032.1989.tb01109.x [blackwell-synergy.com]

Re:Serious Problem (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416716)

"Ant are warm blooded, and are going to like heat..."

I don't think that means what you think it means.

Re:Serious Problem (5, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416726)

Cold Blooded animals tend to be attracted to heat. Warm Blooded animals produce their own.

Re:Serious Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23417410)

Is that why my girlfriend likes to cuddle? Damn, I knew she was an alien reptile in disguise!

Re:Serious Problem (5, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417496)

+5 Informative on this post... Come on it is just a minor correction, coming from a slip in words. Oh lets highly moderate simple corrections at the expense of actually good topic. Man you guys are so anial to think my above post is worth that much.

Re:Serious Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416734)

Actually I'd wager that Halon would work pretty well against insects (as with pretty much any other land animal). Far better than water would.

Re:Serious Problem (1)

przemekklosowski (448666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417322)

It's a serious problem... Ant are warm blooded, and are going to like heat

Nitpicking, but ants are insects, and aren't cold-blooded. You were thinking of snakes and lizards perhaps,
who are cold-blooded (i.e. don't regulate their internal temperature) and who indeed seek warm spots.
I don't think insects show such behavior much---I understand that it's more that they eat some plastics and
also insides of computers and such presents them with nice, dark spacious places to nest.

Treat that with penecillin (5, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416540)

"paratrenicha species near pubens"


Is it just me, or does that sound like some type of STD?

Re:Treat that with penecillin (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416720)

No, more like a sexually transmitted parasite.

Re:Treat that with penecillin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23417102)

When all you got is your hammer. Nail it!

Leiningen versus the Ants (5, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416558)

For your entertainment [classicshorts.com]

Wow (1)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416570)

a hardware bug

Just wait for the frenzy... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416576)

Just wait for the frenzy of right wing nuts screaming about how immigrants are destroying the country... blah blah blah!

Happened to me (5, Interesting)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416612)

I live in the tropics, and for some bizarre reason, this colony of red ants that have taken residence at our place have started making beelines for my PCs

At one point I was wondering why some keys in my keyboard stopped responding when I found the damn ants had eaten the rubber linings under the keys!

I've now had to resort to drawing circles of protection around my electronics with insecticide chalk to keep the damn critters out...

Re:Happened to me (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417014)

I live in the tropics...I've now had to resort to drawing circles of protection around my electronics
Oh, great. Next thing you're going to tell us you sacrificed a few chickens, too. I live in Florida nad I don't want to have to resort to sacrificing chickens.

Re:Happened to me (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417072)

Probably the sweet smell given off by the sealant used to prevent circuit boards from rusting, if not the components themselves (capacitors, coils etc..)

Even a rinsed out soft drinks can has enough sugar to attract ants.

Re:Happened to me (5, Funny)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417192)

I've now had to resort to drawing circles of protection around my electronics with insecticide chalk to keep the damn critters out...
I draw pentagrams. Keeps ants and demons away!

Re:Happened to me (5, Informative)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417380)

I don't know about red ants, but for the big black (carpenter?) ants invading my kitchen, the Terro liquid, which I think is just a sugar solution with 5% borax - you could probably make it yourself, but why bother - was a miracle. I had this problem for many years every spring and summer, and those Raid-type plastic "ant traps" that I put all over the place seemed to have no effect at all.

I put a large drop of this stuff on a piece of cardboard and left it on in a corner of the kitchen counter. Within a day, the ants formed a crowded circle around the drop voraciously drinking it up to the point that their bellies swelled up, with a long line of ants going to wherever under the sink they came from. Over several days they went through a third of a small bottle of the stuff! You could see a few apparently coming back for seconds, weak and shaky. Then they were suddenly gone, totally and completely. This was 2 years ago, and they've never come back.

The Terro bottle says it's for "sweet-eating ants" - I thought all ants loved sweets, so I don't know what that means.

Re:Happened to me (1)

superflippy (442879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417418)

We had a terrible ant problem in our old office. I remember one occasion when I found the iBook I used for testing swarming with ants. Ick.

At least we were fortunate enough that there weren't enough ants to really damage anything. I'm glad I don't work in that office anymore.

Sci Fi Channel movie of the week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416620)

How long 'til the Sci Fi Channel makes a movie about this?

Not that uncommon. (5, Informative)

Thornae (53316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416626)

My company often has ant trouble with electronic equipment installed in the far North of Queensland, in Australia.
Unless boxes are very tightly sealed, they'll get into the electronics and destroy them - usually by creating shorts or damaging PCB tracks.

We've had a few boards sent back that reeked so strongly of ants that you could smell it through the packaging. Generally, they're too damaged to be worth repairing.

Anecdotally, I've heard of a number of other companies having similar problems with installations in tropical areas. I'm not sure if it's a problem specific to electronics, or if it's just a case of the ants getting into everything, and the electronics being particularly vulnerable.

rhedi_phredi (3, Funny)

rhedi_phredi (526392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416630)

But do they eat paper ballots as well as Diebold voting machines?

I for one... (-1, Redundant)

Zarf (5735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416652)

I for one welcome our new "Voracious swarming ant" over-lords.

WotW (2, Interesting)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416664)

The chances of anything coming from earth..

And our flying monsters will be destroyed by something as small as an ant eating it's way through yet an other o-ring :(

Obligatory (1)

timforshaw (1184541) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416684)

Hail ants!

I refuse to do it (1)

sveard (1076275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416692)

This news is just asking for "obligatory" memes

OSQ (1)

outcast36 (696132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417058)

taken from http://www.snpp.com/episodes/1F13.html [snpp.com]

Kent Brockman: Ladies and gentlemen, er, we've just lost the picture, but, uh, what we've seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has been taken over -- "conquered", if you will -- by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain, there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

Re:I refuse to do it (1)

duggi (1114563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417108)

Thanks. From the bottom of my heart.

Send 'em to China (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416780)

Toss a handful into the Directed Sound Weapons being sent to China [slashdot.org] . A dose of the little buggers in routers headed to the Friendly Peoples Republic of Helpful Direct Email Marketers could help cut down on the size of my college-educated penis with it's own collection of faux watches.

What did they eat before they got Dell-burgers?

Space Ant Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416822)

"And when you do kill these ants, the survivors turn it to their advantage: They pile up the dead, sometimes using them as a bridge to cross safely over surfaces treated with pesticide"

My brother just said:

"They must not be ants!" Mini Space Ant Overlords anyone?

Also, didn't we just have an article about a self-destruct for the space shuttle? Hopefully, it is not tied to the electronics in the Space Center in Houston.

Phase IV? Anyone? (2, Interesting)

stirz (839003) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416838)

This 1970s sci-fi movie immediately came to my mind: Phase IV [imdb.com] . In this movie, some scientist study ants which collaborate to spread in a desert-like area and also start to sabotage the science-lab short-cirtuiting computers and AC.

scary thing that those creatures really exist :-)

Thanks Rachel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23416872)

Thanks Ms Carson

Stupid Ants ... (4, Funny)

HW_Hack (1031622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416894)

don't they know about not messing with Texas

Sci-Fi Channel original movie (1)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416920)

life imitating art...

if you can call it art

Obvious?? (1)

spazmolytic666 (549909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416926)

And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords!

I had these in my apartment. (4, Interesting)

dino2gnt (1072530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23416978)

In 2002 or 2003 while living in Pasadena, my roommate and I were cleaning, and tried to move our N64 from the floor to a shelf. Under it, we found a brown mass which turned out to me a massive clump of these ants. We hosed them in insecticide, cleaned up the mess, and figured it was just a freak occurrence. A few days later I found a similar clump completely engulfing the powerhead on a small tank of cichlids. Being that cichlids will eat anything, I used a water bottle and hosed them all into the tank to be devoured. I had to replace the powerhead afterwards, and the N64 never worked right again.

The complex wrote it off as a side-effect of the recent heavy rain, and did nothing.

Doesn't require special ants (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23417012)

I encountered HVAC control systems in the midwest US 10-20 years ago which failed because the enclosure was packed w/ dead ants. Never understood why, but fortunately just cleaning them out fixed the problem.

hmmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417016)

This is bad. I mean, sure it's only Texas now, but if they spread they could threaten a state that doesn't deserve swarms of attacking insects.

Re:hmmm (1)

biffkiff (1228586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417372)

Oh yea? My state can kick your state's ass any day of the week. Bring it on!

As long as they only eat your computer... (4, Interesting)

boombasticman (1232962) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417094)

In southern india someone stored all his earnings in the form of paper for his later retirement into a bank vault.

After some years time he looked into his box to see only some pieces left and some bugs which ate his money. The bank vault was not completly tight and the warm humid weather did it's part in this sad drama, too.

The bank could not be held liable, because it warned its customers of the bug problem long ago. And even when they were liable, they only would have to pay his money for the rent of his box, which is not much rupies instead of his financial damage.

Morale of the story: Don't think something lasts forever. Your DVD's are due in about 15 years time. HD and Blueray much shorter, so don't store your money on it.

Phase IV (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417196)

Sounds like a deja vu [wikipedia.org] !

Obvious solution (2, Funny)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417252)

A moat filled with gasoline.

Re:Obvious solution (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417456)

If you try that, nature will respond by evolving an ant that eats gasoline, and then we'll really be in trouble!

Whoops, There Goes Another ... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23417302)

My god, will no one think of the rubber tree plants!?

Ant overlords! (-1, Redundant)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417352)

The ants are taking over. Finally, the original ant overlords quote [wikipedia.org] from the Simpsons is on-topic.

"And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords"

Smug New Englander (0)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417398)

I live in new england, Massachusetts, the next town over from Boston. It gets below zero (F) in the winter, and gets above 100 (F) in the summer. It rains a lot. It has heat waves.

For all those people who live in places where the climates are warm all year round, this is what you get. In the north east, creatures that live here deserve to live here. Most foreign insects and alien species either die in the cold of the winter or in the heat of the summer. Drown in the spring rain or die from the dryness of summer.

Maybe we need to ensure that ships doc at ports with hostile environments to the last port of call. Ships coming from the Caribbean must doc in Maine. Ships coming from Norway must doc in Texas. This will ensure that the environment prevents them taking hold.

Ants (2, Funny)

maxrate (886773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23417442)

Damn you Wesley Crusher and your wild nanites!
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