Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US

timothy posted about a year ago | from the but-ants-are-nice dept.

Earth 250

From an article at the Houston Chronicle (not The Onion) comes a report of concern to anyone in a warm climate with, well, electronics. From the article: "According to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, invasive 'crazy ants' are slowly displacing fire ants in the southeastern United States. These 'Tawny Crazy Ants' have a peculiar predilection toward electronics as well. 'They nest in electronics and create short circuits, as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone,' says UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. 'The other ants are attracted to the chemicals that other ants give off,' he adds. At this point, more ants arrive and create a larger nest." The L.A. Times also has a report, which says "Thus far, the crazy ants are not falling for the traditional poisons used to eliminate fire ant mounds. And when local mounds are destroyed manually, they are quickly regenerated. 'They don't sting like fire ants do, but aside from that they are much bigger pests,' LeBrun said. 'There are videos on YouTube of people sweeping out dustpans full of these ants from their bathroom. You have to call pest control operators every three or four months just to keep the infestation under control. It's very expensive.'"

cancel ×

250 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I blame the H1B system!!!!!! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763531)

These foreigners are destroying good ol american jobs. I am liberal except for when it comes to things that effect me as I am a hypocrite.

Re:I blame the H1B system!!!!!! (1, Offtopic)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43764273)

Oh those H1B ants!

Re:I blame the H1B system!!!!!! (-1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43764333)

These foreigners are destroying good ol american jobs. I am liberal except for when it comes to things that effect me as I am a hypocrite.

Ah yes, isn't it repulsive how those 'liberals' just can't stay consistent on their support for indentured servants when their own economic interests are on the line? Truly a refutation of their ideology or something...

Re:I blame the H1B system!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43764487)

I am so infuriated by your hypocrisy. Please stop posting, you anonymous coward you.

And why is putting "you" before and after a descriptive phrase the proper thing to do? I bet they don't do that in Latin, do they?

Feces asshole! (-1, Troll)

FecesJones (2926657) | about a year ago | (#43763537)

I have a rancid, feces-filled asshole. I know how much Slashdotters love rancid assholes, and since I'm quite fond of having my rancid bowels smooched by fetid cocks, I propose this: Get in line to shove your disgusting cocks into my rotting rectum! Hurry! I can't wait much longer!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! My asshole is absolutely filled with cum! Cum, along with feces, is pouring out of my asshole as if it's a faucet. What say you?

it's mmm mmm good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764121)

Soup so thick you can eat it with a fork.

It's very expensive... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763545)

So freaking sad, 'murica... Maybe feed 'em some big macs or iPods...

Re:It's very expensive... (-1, Troll)

RancidAsAllFuck (2926669) | about a year ago | (#43763591)

As soon as your cock spotted my rancid rectum, it became erect faster than is humanely possible! Fine... I guess I have no choice but to let you be the first to thrust his fetid cock into my repugnant asshole today. What are you waiting for? Many Slashdotters are in line behind you to screw my disgusting asshole! I need you to hurry so that I can fart out some cum-covered feces! What say you?

God says... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763561)

God says...
changes spending conclude changeable hippy towardliness

Re:God says... (-1, Troll)

RancidAsAllFuck (2926669) | about a year ago | (#43763607)

Wow! That's quite the rancid asshole you have there! Wait... your foul asshole is even more disgusting than I thought; it's filled with feces! I scarcely thought it possible that such an amazing opportunity would present itself to my fetid cock. What say I jam my putrid penis into your appalling asshole and smooch your bowels? I can't wait until my cum mixes with your feces! What say you?

Patent it (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763583)

Quick someone file a patent with "crazy ants" on the end. Then the little suckers will be litigated out of existence.

Depends on the electronics (2, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43763603)

Try putting a router [slashdot.org] in your house. It might keep ants away too.

Re:Depends on the electronics (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43763853)

Bah, if your computer is infested with ants, you need to call upon mavens to eliminate them.

Re:Depends on the electronics (5, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#43763951)

Or just file a bug report online.

Re:Depends on the electronics (1)

Idbar (1034346) | about a year ago | (#43764001)

I was also thinking, if they're attracted to electronics, why are they being swept from the bathroom? I guess that's why they're called crazy? But, yes, I'm curious why they prefer bathrooms instead of living rooms, why probably have more electronics.

Re:Depends on the electronics (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43764149)

But, yes, I'm curious why they prefer bathrooms instead of living rooms, why probably have more electronics.

Maybe they are little sexual voyeur perverts, with ant-cams . . . ? And they share what they see via chemical signals with the rest of their nest in a kinda sorta micro-ant-internet . . . or Interant . . .

Maybe folks should think about keeping anteaters as household pets . . . ?

But if that went terribly wrong, we might end up with a "Planet of the Anteaters!"

Electric bug zapper (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#43764237)

It sounds like all one needs is a large electric bug zapper since they are already attracted to it.

Re:Depends on the electronics (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year ago | (#43764449)

Uhm. IPads for toilets?

Controlling infestations (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763623)

The problem really relies on the chemical trail ants leave to alert others where to go. If you have an ant problem you need to not only kill the ones present but you need to eliminate the trails they leave. Indoors bleaching the hell out of the surfaces they walk across regularly helps a lot. Out doors you really are screwed unless you want to start digging stuff up.

Re:Controlling infestations (1)

Nikker (749551) | about a year ago | (#43763837)

What about setting up a bucket with a simple circuit in the bottom that would make it easy for the ants to gather? Put a one way valve on it to keep them in. Once the bucket is full, dispose.

Re:Controlling infestations (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763865)

A bucket full of ants and you suggest simple 'disposal'. My god man, you have *a bucket full of ants*! The mind reels at the possibilities!

Re: Controlling infestations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763967)

"Wow! A whole bucket full o' ants and it's mine! Is Largo still around?"

Re: Controlling infestations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764067)

Largo LaGrande?

Re:Controlling infestations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764045)

A bucket full of poison resistant ants. Let's send 'em to Washington to scare away the politicians.

Re:Controlling infestations (3, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#43763873)

Or as an alternative - when you find an "ant highway" entering your home crush some of them and smear them around the area where they are entering. It may not work for all species, but for most it seems to effectively communicate that this is not a healthy place to be in their native "language". I've never used pesticides of any sort, and rarely have more than a couple brief (under 48 hour) "invasions" per year. Then again I also allow spiders, house centipedes, and other human-harmless predators to live unmolested in my home as long as long as they keep a low profile (my cat does most of the enforcing on that front), so it probably doesn't have nearly the "land of milk and honey" appeal of many modern homes to begin with.

Probably wouldn't work for crazy ants though, sounds like their death phermones actively attract more ants, though perhaps it's electrocution specifically that has that effect.

Re:Controlling infestations (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43763933)

I've got a place in Florida(the land of cockroaches, more cockroaches, ants, and now invasive species), stepping on ants might work with some species but for most barrier protection works best. And same with plain old baiting to kill them, especially fire ants. Up here in Ontario, stepping on paths works on some of the carpenter ants as well, but not all of them. Doesn't work on the pavement ants all the time either, depends on how hungry they are. You're better off using again a good barrier type spray. In anycase, it'll be interesting to see how we deal with these ones. I'm guessing that if they're that sensitive and drawn to electronics, the answer will be discovering something that drives them away, and just slapping one at your house.

Re:Controlling infestations (2)

tibman (623933) | about a year ago | (#43764329)

I like your solution!

My strategy so far is vacuum them up and grab a bottle of woodglue. When you find where they are coming from, just squirt some woodglue into the hole. If they start coming out of another hole you repeat until they are gone. For big holes you can use a scrap of paper like a patch and glue it in place (like in cabinets or utility areas). If they are really bad i break out the bio-warfare traps (but that is rare).

Re:Controlling infestations (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43764511)

The little buggers were on a BBC documentary last week - Nature's Wierdest Shit, or something like that.

I thought they mentioned on it that they'd found a solution. But I was under attack from the hoglets at the time so I'm damned if I can remember what it was.

Generally though, if something's attracted to X you can use X or something that emulates it as a decoy.

Re:Controlling infestations (5, Informative)

Donald R. Weimann (54979) | about a year ago | (#43764071)

Find the ant mounds and sprinkle some cornmeal around them. They will take the cornmeal into the nest and all the ants, including the queen, will eat it. They can eat it but they cannot digest it so they will all die. If enough people would do this it could eliminate the ant problem. It has worked very well on all of the fire ant mounds that I have doctored in this way.

Re:Controlling infestations (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43764409)

Smart.

Just to be a bit funny, please don't take personally. Is that GMO or non GMO corn?

Don't have these new ants around here but we have fire ants galore. And their pretty aggressive. Don't stand in one of their trails they will attack you and try to drive you off.

Re:Controlling infestations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764421)

They will take the cornmeal into the nest and all the ants, including the queen, will eat it. They can eat it but they cannot digest it so they will all die.

That's a neat trick since fire ant workers can't ingest particles larger than 2 microns.

What do these things eat? (4, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#43763627)

That is my first concern. If they eat wood, its bad news... really bad news. If they eat other bugs, I am gonna leave them alone.

If they like termites, where can I get some?

Re:What do these things eat? (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about a year ago | (#43763949)

Pretty certain they enjoy empty soda cans, which are never found near computer desks right?

Re:What do these things eat? (5, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#43764023)

Sounds like they eat mostly bugs, grains, and small animals.

For natural pest control may I suggest house centipedes? Those fast, long-legged, grey-brown guys with the racing stripes. They are non-aggressive and typically incapable of stinging humans until they get quite large (they can live for almost a decade), they carry no known human diseases or parasites, and are voracious hunters whose favorite prey include termites, silverfish, bedbugs, and young cockroachs. And unlike ants they're completely uninterested in your food.

Re:What do these things eat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764299)

... and look like demon seed. :(

Re:What do these things eat? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764347)

Sounds like they eat mostly bugs, grains, and small animals.

For natural pest control may I suggest house centipedes? Those fast, long-legged, grey-brown guys with the racing stripes. They are non-aggressive and typically incapable of stinging humans until they get quite large (they can live for almost a decade), they carry no known human diseases or parasites, and are voracious hunters whose favorite prey include termites, silverfish, bedbugs, and young cockroachs. And unlike ants they're completely uninterested in your food.

How about hell no! [davesgarden.com]

A little bug spray easily manages crazy ants. Bifenthrin or Pyrethrum based insecticides are highly effective. Fire-ant bait is ineffective because they aren't fire ants, thank God.

Re:What do these things eat? (2)

tehlinux (896034) | about a year ago | (#43764385)

>may I suggest house centipedes?

Sounds like someone has never been bitten by a centipede.

Re:What do these things eat? (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#43764527)

Hell yes I have (well stung technically, centipedes don't bite). Nasty little bastards. But house cenitpedes are to "normal" centipedes what daddy longlegs are to spiders. As a general rule they can't penetrate human skin to deliver their venom, and they're non-aggressive - as long as you're gentle you can even pick them up and play with them without them trying to attack you.

Re:What do these things eat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764529)

A centipede is no match for ants. video #1 [youtube.com] and video #2 [youtube.com] .

p.s. The ants shown in the first video are not fire ants (fire ants have driven those ants out of Texas, so I haven't seen them in 20 years, but I do remember them fondly).

Them ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763649)

I know most of /. will scoff at this assertion, but we may be witnessing a Biblical prophecy come true: "And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation, and the beasts shall reign over the earth."

Re:Them ants (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43763815)

Aha. Maybe you should start to design your electronics differently, so ants can either not get close to the higher voltage circuits or use better insulation.

BTW: When there would be a biblical apocalypse, it would affect the whole planet. Or. If it is only in the US. Well, I will watch it on TV.

And another thing: Those ants already existed prior to those incidents (which might be triggered by globalized transportation and or the climate change). They lived in other countries for millions of years (or at least the last 6000 years in your time frame),
     

Re:Them ants (-1, Troll)

AnOfferYouCantRefuse (2926671) | about a year ago | (#43763847)

Would you like to know the current state of my rancid asshole? Of course you do; all you think about are rancid rectums. Well, my anus is currently filled with feces, and it's absolutely repugnant. I bet you want to get in on this, don't you? You and your fetid cock just can't wait even a yoctosecond to feel the warm embrace of my feces. What say you?

Re:Them ants (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764143)

Give me your home address and I will pay you a "visit".

Re:Them ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763961)

I dunno, affecting some place as Godless as Texas seems about right.

Re:Them ants (2)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43763829)

Yeah, half the time the Bible is talking about Man (as in mankind, sorry ladies). Some people want to make the earth gentler for humans, some people miss the trees that used to be a part of their neighborhoods growing up. There's also a set of (seemingly) contradictory 'orders': subdue nature (terraform the earth) and at the same time, do not destroy the earth. I imagine that makes four groups: some people leaning towards the former, some leaning towards the latter, some preferring a course of moderation, and people who do not ascribe to the Bible.

But in this case, I highly doubt these ants pose a challenge. Remember, the human race, when ant-agonized (lol) enough to see something as a problem, tends to go nuclear on it...which means either bringing back DDT if the ants suddenly start eating people, or having scientists formulate something in labs that will probably make DDT look like a fire-cracker in comparison (and result in substantial loss of wildlife...). Thankfully, we aren't anywhere near that point. Removal methods are purely mechanical, and someone will probably start spraying the normal ant-removal chemicals with, I don't know, sugar, which will have them start working again.

Still, humanity....curious what happened here to breed such psychopaths. You'd think that the Earth had gone to great lengths to make the angriest, most genocidal species it could breed...

Re:Them ants (-1, Troll)

AnOfferYouCantRefuse (2926671) | about a year ago | (#43763887)

Why am I wiggling my ass, you ask? Well, it's obvious! I'm wiggling my bare rancid rectum because it's about time for you to jam your fetid, disgusting cock into it! Yes, it's finally time for your cum and my feces to mix and form a wonderful concoction of lust! Oh, yeah! Hurry up and smooch my bowels with your cock already! What say you?

Re:Them ants (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764063)

^^ you know I had a thought, maybe this is some new psyop program that TSA or DHS or NSA or CIA or any of the other super s3kr3t organizations running this fascist country are doing now.

Really guys. Blackballing people from employment because their credit is good. Or they don't remember the details of the past 5 years. Now this is for unqualified positions.

Randomly calling people terrorists and false flags are not enough?

You need your rancid assholes plumbed? Why don't you go spend some time on 4chan. Those guys would be more then happy to oblige.

Re:Them ants (0)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43764093)

Aliens. Genetic engineering. http://www.lloydpye.com/ [lloydpye.com]

-and Yes I am not posting this as an AC. Take it or leave it. It's at least entertaining.

Re:Them ants (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43764037)

Fat chance, these ants seem pretty harmless. More like annoy all over the earth.

Re:Them ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764165)

Apparently there aren't any fans of 1950's era monster movies here. OP's troll is referring to this movie, Them! [imdb.com]

Re:Them ants (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43764355)

I know most of /. will scoff at this assertion, but we may be witnessing a Biblical prophecy come true: "And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation, and the beasts shall reign over the earth."

By mass, beasts have always reigned over the earth... A mixture of applied landscaping, chemical warfare, and rifles have allowed humans to carve out an enclave free of large mammals we don't approve of, and some of the nastier bugs and microbes(wealthy areas of the Northern Hemisphere, at least. Your mileage may vary. Offer void where restricted by law or subverted by rapid evolution of antibiotic resistant microbes. Terms and conditions may apply); but we've never been close to having the upper hand against things too small to shoot and too resilient to just habitat-destroy into submission.

ants and electricity (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43763655)

I've long noticed that ants seem to have a predilection for electricity. They crawl all over electrical conduits, enter homes at electrical outlets, etc.

Re:ants and electricity (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43763993)

I've long noticed that ants seem to have a predilection for electricity. They crawl all over electrical conduits, enter homes at electrical outlets, etc.

It's because they can sense electromagnetic fields, which all electronics give off. Of course, the solution for dealing with these new ants is simple, but counterintuitive -- spray everything with this 'alarm' pheremone. If ants navigate by scent trail, and that's how they rebuild their nests, and it's too challenging to remove the scent trails... then you are left with only one option:

Blind the little bastards by coating everything in it. It's my understanding that, without those trails, they'll be helpless to organize to find food, each other, or even the way home. Everything depends on those trails... so if you overload their sense organs and blind them, they'll perish. After they're dead, the pheremones sprayed will slowly dissipate, but importantly... the trails they've laid down will dissipate faster, so the area is then chemically neutral again.

It is, quite literally, chemical warfare. (-_-)

Re:ants and electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764455)

.

Ahhh...

A Bio-CrapFlood attack.

.

The future is past (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763669)

Wasn't this already a Rudy Rucker novel?

Re:The future is past (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#43763719)

The Hacker and the Ants. Yes, if you overlook the many glaring differences, you might notice some passing similarities.

Re:The future is past (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year ago | (#43763771)

Yep, The Hacker and the Ants. [wikipedia.org] My first thought was the ants are going clubbing 80s style, which rings a faint bell too. Maybe a beer commercial...?

Re:The future is past (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764015)

It's from Phase IV

Dale's dead bug (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763695)

Dale's dead bug will get rid of them

Evolution... (4, Funny)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43763707)

Even the ants want to travel the electronic highway.. :)

Re:Evolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763899)

They're getting ready for the next Carrington Event, the telegraph system wasn't quite sufficient for them to take over the planet's electrical system the last time the sun flared. But next time, just wait. They'll have their conductors all in place to arrange things to their own benefit when the power surges.

Here's a solution (4, Interesting)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43763711)

Use those old Cisco routers from 10 yrs ago... as ant baits! :)

Ants of the Borg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763715)

Your technology will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

Air-Condition Compressors (1)

repetty (260322) | about a year ago | (#43763717)

I know a couple people in Austin who've paid for air-conditioning techs to "fix" their AC. It turns out that a relays in the compressor boxes outside their homes are caked with dead ant bodies, creating an insulating layer. Kinda pisses people off that nothing is actually broken but the service bill is tendered, just the same. ...and, of course, it's 100-degrees outside so it does need to be dealt with promptly.

Re:Air-Condition Compressors (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43763845)

Kinda pisses people off that nothing is actually broken but the service bill is tendered, just the same.

There is a bill because there was "service". If the homeowner wants to hassle with tracking down the issue and clean out the dead ants, they can.

Service (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#43764003)

Amazing that the ants are given a funeral service by those techs.

Re:Service (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43764227)

What's even more heartwarming is the AC techs kind and gentle transplanting of live ants into the warm and cuddly confines of the electrical boxes.

Re:Air-Condition Compressors (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43764115)

It turns out that a relays in the compressor boxes outside their homes are caked with dead ant bodies, creating an insulating layer

[...]

Kinda pisses people off that nothing is actually broken

I don't see that. There was a problem - the AC was broken due to lots of ants. It got fixed. You have to pay the AC techs.

Kent Brockman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763733)

I for one welcome our new Crazy Ant overloads.

Pun intended.

Bad ant strategy? (3, Interesting)

venicebeach (702856) | about a year ago | (#43763809)

Seems like having a predilection for something that kills you is not an instinct that should be selected for. If they are electrocuted by the electronics shouldn't this problem take care of itself sooner or later?

Re:Bad ant strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764013)

Only if death by electrocution outpaces reproduction, which is highly unlikely with ants.

Re:Bad ant strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764091)

sure it kills them but their carcasses build up and eventually insulate things like switch contacts.

Re:Bad ant strategy? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43764151)

Did we even read the summary? First, being electrocuted short-circuits the electronics. Second, an alarm chemical is released which attracts more ants to replace the dead one.

An ant pile is a collective organism, one dying hardly affects it at all.

Re:Bad ant strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764211)

Not really. Most foraging ants are sterile females and therefore wouldn't reproduce anyway. Plus, if you have thousands of ants being born and a few dozen get zapped, it's hardly a dent in the ant population. It would be like saying, "Given all the thousands of deaths each year in car crashes you'd think people who drive cars would breed themselves out of the population."

Re:Bad ant strategy? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43764259)

Those colonies that waste resources "attacking" gizmos will be less successful than those that don't. However, such selection may take hundreds of years to manifest itself. Humans are not that patient.

Re:Bad ant strategy? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43764395)

Seems like having a predilection for something that kills you is not an instinct that should be selected for. If they are electrocuted by the electronics shouldn't this problem take care of itself sooner or later?

I suspect that it depends on whether sensitivity to electrical fields is useful in other contexts, or(if not directly useful) at least tightly-coupled to some other sensory mechanism that is survival-critical and will take quite some time to iterate toward an electrically insensitive replacement.

Mass death upon the power lines is obvious folly; but electrification is, what, a century old(in any ecologically-relevant amount, I know about various independent developers of primitive chemical batteries going back a great deal further; but that sort of scale barely matters), the blink of an eye in evolutionary time.

If this electrical sense isn't all that useful elsewhere, or is just some accident that didn't previously cause trouble, it could actually be culled from much of the population fairly quickly. If it has some other use, or is connected to genes that code for multiple things, some of them extremely useful, they might take ages, if ever, to stop doing this.

It came from the desert (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763811)

Does no one remember that game?

Terribly difficult.

http://www.emuparadise.me/GameBase%20Amiga/Screenshots/I/It_Came_from_the_Desert_2.png

I Have Yet To Meet An Ant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763855)

...that can stand up to a ShopVac(TM)

It would seem to have a self correcting solution.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763857)

Just put suitable simulated circuits near the ants.

When a short circuit appears, over voltage the hell out of the bus bar (20KV should do) and vaporize the short.

Now that the circuit is restored, resume waiting for another.

You could even be cute and have a delay before applying the over voltage so that the pheromones released have time to sucker a lot more in.

Hey - this counts as patent prior art - this ones mine.

I don't miss fire ants (2)

dorpus (636554) | about a year ago | (#43763869)

We just sold a home in Remlap, Alabama. The entire mountain that the house was on was owned by fire ants -- they built underground interconnected cities, so there was no point in spraying a mound. They were aggressive and bit you without provocation. When I got bit, my blood pressure dropped and I felt very ill for a few hours. The fire ants interbreed with local species, so they came in a large variety of appearances. The ones we had were very small and dark crimson, almost black. Their bite was all out of proportion to their size, though. We think they may have interbred with crazy ants because they liked to walk crazy zigzag paths.

Re:I don't miss fire ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763973)

Did some Nippon liquid help?

It's what I use every year to fight ordinary European ants. Seems to work really well.

Re:I don't miss fire ants (1)

dorpus (636554) | about a year ago | (#43764021)

I did not see such a chemical at the local hardware stores. I did learn the futility of any agent, since they bred faster than any chemical could kill them. They seemed to have a deep underground reservoir of breeders.

Re:I don't miss fire ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764233)

Ah, it might only work on common black ants:

http://www.vitax.co.uk/home-garden/nippon-ant-killer-liquid/

It could be that fire ants need a different poison to kill them.

Re:I don't miss fire ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763991)

maybe some predator will adapt or evolve to keep them under control, be patient a few million yrs

Re:I don't miss fire ants (1)

dorpus (636554) | about a year ago | (#43764005)

They naturally developed a population cycle. The lawn would be a sea of ants one year, then be relatively sparse the next year due to starvation or whatever diseases they had.

Re:I don't miss fire ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764209)

you want to see whether there is some Cordyceps that would work on them
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordyceps
it would limit the maximum population density

Rasberry Ant Pi[e] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43763911)

I was excited first the first story about these since the Raspberry Pi came out, since they are called "crazy Rasberry ants". Of course, they have to use some newfangled name for them to wreck my pun. Darn. All I wanted was crazy raspberry ant Pi[e], perhaps a crazy raspberry ant pie cluster/colony. Maybe a Raspberry Pi killed by Rasberry ants?

Re:Rasberry Ant Pi[e] (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#43764293)

You got to eat it with gloves or your hands will turn green.

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764075)

Ants have been gumming up water pump pressure switches for years. The simple solution is to place a small container under the pressure switch (around the stem) that holds something like sevin dust. They have to crawl through the sevin to get to the switch and can't.

Re:This is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764177)

Sevin dust kills bees. You shouldn't use it, especially on anything a bee might try to pollinate.

Good idea! (4, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#43764127)

"...as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone," says UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. "The other ants are attracted to the chemicals that other ants give off," he adds.

What kind of survival mechanism is that? "Oh! There's danger over there. Let's all go check it out..."

Re:Good idea! (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43764295)

What kind of survival mechanism is that? "Oh! There's danger over there. Let's all go check it out..."

Yeah, they are the Red Shirt ants.

Re:Good idea! (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43764411)

"...as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone," says UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. "The other ants are attracted to the chemicals that other ants give off," he adds.

What kind of survival mechanism is that? "Oh! There's danger over there. Let's all go check it out..."

Given that(among the ants that don't have even cooler mechanisms, like specialized suicide soldiers who blow themselves up to shower the enemy with toxins) "swarm the enemy and keep biting and stinging without regards for casualties until nothing that isn't us is still moving" is considered a valid strategy, the chemical signalling actually makes sense: If an ant from another colony, or a predatory insect/arachnid, attacks a single ant, the ant's body automatically releases the alarm pheremone and the attacker gets zerg rushed.

It's just that, against implacable electronics that are totally indifferent to anything except being insulated by the uncounted bodies of the slain, this tactic doesn't work very well(see also: mammals that 'freeze' to avoid predators; but discover that cars aren't visual hunters; but they do kill anything that gets in their way)...

Apocalypse averted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764203)

Our New Robot Overlords now have natural enemies.

Good News / Bad News (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43764247)

So the good news is Fire Ants won't sting you to death because Crazy Ants are replacing them. The bad news is that Crazy Ants sting your gizmos to death.

What about putting some mild chemical in electronic coatings that ants don't like? They would then be less likely to hang out on gizmos.

Unlike pesticides on fruits, there is no "incentive" to become immune to such chemicals because there is no benefit to hanging out on electronics to begin with.

My (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about a year ago | (#43764313)

My router is a CISCO, should i worry too? any advice from you the computers people?

Electronics loving ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764335)

I live in St Augustine, FL and I had a huge infestation of ants in my HP printer/copier.....it was horrible if not interesting.......eventually they died off and my printer works great........but for 3-4 months it was crazy......

Much Better Story - With Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43764381)

Here's a much better story with picture. [msucares.com] This one is from Mississippi, but the story remains the same.

You had me at.. (4, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#43764397)

You had me at "They don't sting like fire ants do...".
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>