Research Warns of Crazy, Computer-Eating Ant Invasion

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Research Warns of Crazy, Computer-Eating Ant Invasion

giant ant

They've already wiped out the fire ants, now they're coming for your Dell.

Consider, for a moment, the fire ant. We don't like fire ants, largely because they're notoriously aggressive little turds known for their exceptionally painful bite. The good news, for those of you who live in the southeastern US, is fire ants are being wiped out by a competing species of ant. The bad news is that the competing species, Nylanderia fulva - dubbed "crazy ants" because they dart around erratically - not only attack and kill other ants, they also have a penchant for swarming into electrical machinery and eating the circuitry.

Yep; computer-eating, crackhead ants. Great.

The crazy ant was first spotted back in 2002 by a pest controller in Houston, but the species wasn't officially identified until last year. According to a recent paper from researchers at the Texas invasive species research program at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory in the College of Natural Sciences, the ant has since spread to 21 counties in Texas and 20 counties in Florida. They've also been spotted south of the Mississippi and in Southern Louisiana.

"When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back," said Ed LeBrun, one of the researchers who penned the paper. "Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound."

Crazy ants, however, don't give a toss about your personal space. They swarm wherever they can, occupying any enclosed spaced in large numbers. Naturally, they end up filling up electrical equipment, and that's where things get weird. For reasons we don't yet understand, the ants have a tendency to chew through electrical wires. When they reach the delicious electricity underneath the wire's rubber coating, the ants are electrocuted, but in their death throes they release a signal calling other ants to attack the wire. This results in uninsulated wires surrounded by balls of crazy ant carcases, which, if you'll forgive the pun, isn't conductive to the device's operation.

Even better, the crazy ants are difficult to kill. They're resistant to traditional insecticides and destroying one colony doesn't discourage others from expanding and taking its place. Much like the fire ant, the crazy ant isn't native to the US. In its native Argentina and North Brazil, there are several predators that keep the crazy ant under control. Not so in the good ol' US of A.

"Perhaps the biggest deal is the displacement of the fire ant, which is the 300-pound gorilla in Texas ecosystems these days," said LeBrun. "The whole system has changed around fire ants. Things that can't tolerate fire ants are gone. Many that can have flourished.

"New things have come in. Now we are going to go through and whack the fire ants and put something in its place that has a very different biology. There are going to be a lot of changes that come from that."

Source: Biological Invasions via The Register

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And this is why you don't mess with ecology. Crazy ants do not give a fuck.

Hide yo' PCs hide yo' consoles!

image

seriously why do these buggers even exist!

What you guys need are ant-eaters trained to repair hardware.

If they're resistant to traditional insecticides, maybe they can wipe out the colony by taunting it with a live wire. I'm sure we can find plenty of electricity for all the ants that want to come chow down.

Well, looks like Americans are no longer at the top of the food chain. It's been a good run, hopefully I can emigrate to Canada before the ants get to my computer.

Electrified psycho, mutant ants. GREAT. JUST GREAT.

I KNEW IT WASN'T GONNA BE ZOMBIES. SOME HOW I JUST KNEW IT WOULD BE WEIRDER.

The_Great_Galendo:
If they're resistant to traditional insecticides, maybe they can wipe out the colony by taunting it with a live wire. I'm sure we can find plenty of electricity for all the ants that want to come chow down.

That would be fantastic if it would work, actually. Maybe some sort of low-amp electrical stakes that you put in the ground around your house? The effectiveness of that would probably depend on proximity to the hive/nest, but I wonder if they have considered this as an actual, non-joke solution?

I haven't seen any of these buggers yet, but I have no doubt that, between this and the annual psocid infestation we get (little white insect bastards that eat old books and paper), it's gonna be a fun time from now on.

My god...

The end of the world is nigh! The Iluminati have taken control of ants and now seek to plunge the world into a new dark age!

Captcha: old man winter
Oh no. Now winter is coming too!

Ok, this is what we do. We get a ball and cover it in uninsulated wires. THEN we run an electric current through it. THEN we give it to the ants and wait.

OT: well. Fuck. I may need to get "crazy ant" insurance once they start making their way north. Or do they not like cold weather? If thats the case then I may be safe.

Oh, don't worry about that, that's just how HEX works. If you're having an issue just add another Ram skull or give more cheese to the mouse.

Sound like the insecticons (Transformers G1) made into flesh! Now I'm hoping they won't reach onto UK soil!

hmm... who got hold my lab subjects and set them free?.....

Perhaps they'll get super intelligent from easting all the RAM eg Frisky Dingo.

Orbot_Vectorman:
hmm... who got hold my lab subjects and set them free?.....

*wistles innocently* wasnt me

i think i prefer the nasty ass ones where i live to electrical goods frying ants

Orbot_Vectorman:
hmm... who got hold my lab subjects and set them free?.....

So you are the one responsible for creating them.
Go sit in the corner, and don't come out until YOUR computer has been eaten. How could you.

Now we just gotta stop all import to/export from the USA and the rest of the world will be fine.

.......wot.

I remember fire ant nests as a constant Thing whenever I visited Florida: they would just be hanging out in those mounds, and honestly were more of a fascination than a bother or threat to me, though I was of course a visitor and never lived long-term in Florida. This, ah, this definitely sounds worse.

Can't believe that no one said it yet, but here it comes:

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

You may continue the discussion.

Grey Carter:
The crazy ant was first spotted back in 2002 by a pest controller in Houston

EDIT:

Grey Carter:

Even better, the crazy ants are difficult to kill.

But there is a solution!:

Grey Carter:

For reasons we don't yet understand, the ants have a tendency to chew through electrical wires. When they reach the delicious electricity underneath the wire's rubber coating, the ants are electrocuted, but in their death throes they release a signal calling other ants to attack the wire. This results in uninsulated wires surrounded by balls of crazy ant carcases, which, if you'll forgive the pun, isn't conductive to the device's operation.

If you put something like a miniature solar-powered Van Der Graaff generator by their anthill, wouldn't that kill them en masse?

Well now we have an anti-dote for Skynet.

Ukomba:
Oh, don't worry about that, it's just HEX works. If you're having an issue just add another Ram skull or give more cheese to the mouse.

Someone call Ponder Stibbons immediately!

Have they tried fire? Fire is pretty good at killing things. I'd recommend fire.

The_Great_Galendo:
If they're resistant to traditional insecticides, maybe they can wipe out the colony by taunting it with a live wire. I'm sure we can find plenty of electricity for all the ants that want to come chow down.

Alternatively, we can use a more traditional method. What you need to do is get some gasoline, pour it down any existing colony's and then set the fucking thing alight.

In other words:

image

Dangerous? Well, yeah, but i can't name a single creature off the top of my head that would survive a purge by fire.

At least they're easy to kill... bundle low-value resistors in a ball and twist the leads together (so that chewing through any given wire doesn't stop the circuit, run a few hundred milliamps and a few volts through it, drop it near an infestation, and go grab the vacuum.

I imagine "Crazy Ant Killer" devices will be on sale shortly.

The antpocalypse is coming.

... Sorry.

Infernai:
hot snip

I'm with this guy, there is no creature on this earth that is resistant to either fire or buckshot, preferably in combined fashion.
And since they're ants, mostly fire.

The Netherlands don't really have any dangerous animals besides the one's we import, our most pesky natives are wasps (which are also very easily disposed with fire) and the most dangerous would be a rare breed of poisonous snake, and not because of it's poison but because of it's fangs.

Infernai:

The_Great_Galendo:
If they're resistant to traditional insecticides, maybe they can wipe out the colony by taunting it with a live wire. I'm sure we can find plenty of electricity for all the ants that want to come chow down.

Alternatively, we can use a more traditional method. What you need to do is get some gasoline, pour it down any existing colony's and then set the fucking thing alight.

In other words:

image

Dangerous? Well, yeah, but i can't name a single creature off the top of my head that would survive a purge by fire.

1. They don't make colonies like traditional ants. They make hundreds of nests under any kind of bush, leaf, tree, rock, or even your own bed.

2. You could burn the entire house down along with the infested lot, and somewhere out there in the nearby hills there is a colony that within a month will have repopulated the now burned down lot. People actually tried to kill them with fire and failed. =(

It's a conspiracy to get us all to use Tablets instead!

I hope they stay where they are, or preferably go extinct at some point.

Shit, now I'm really paranoid about those stray red ants I've noticed every now and then in my school's Video Tech room. I always figured they were just fire ants attracted by crumbs from food that people weren't supposed to be eating in there but ate anyway.

Hopefully in the next few years one of the local animals that feed on insects develops a taste for crazy-ant and keeps them under control, or we can just kill them with something like say...... a sound-wave projector that uses a certain wave frequency to kill them all? (hopefully they won't start feeding off gunpowder and become explosive when exposed to fire)

If we are overrun by them then i would like to say....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKbFb6TPVEA

So what is this, Evolution vs. Humanity?

Where is your God now?

Infernai:

The_Great_Galendo:
If they're resistant to traditional insecticides, maybe they can wipe out the colony by taunting it with a live wire. I'm sure we can find plenty of electricity for all the ants that want to come chow down.

Alternatively, we can use a more traditional method. What you need to do is get some gasoline, pour it down any existing colony's and then set the fucking thing alight.

In other words:

image

Dangerous? Well, yeah, but i can't name a single creature off the top of my head that would survive a purge by fire.

Fun fact: There are some plant species native to the chaparral biome (mediterranean area) that have seeds which only crack and allow the sapling to begin to grow when exposed to great heat. Thus, you cannot wipe them out with fire, but only birth more.

But yeah, I'm going to go with everyone else here and say if they like to commit suicide on wires, let's give them some electrified trip wires to kamikazee.
I wonder how they got so resistant to pesticides in the first place though. Some of those are pretty nasty.

Daaaah Whoosh:
Well, looks like Americans are no longer at the top of the food chain. It's been a good run, hopefully I can emigrate to Canada before the ants get to my computer.

Agreed. Time to leave America. I'm going to the UK where its always cold and rainy, just the way I like it

On topic, if they don't bite like fire ants other animals might find a taste for them. I say we release thousands of ant-eaters into the wild and hope this problem solves itself

My only hope is that they can't survive at high altitudes or in cold weather. I mean, it's kept me safe from ticks...

I get so pissed off inside every time I hear of another new, non-native invasive species fucking things up here.
America, when the FUCK are you going to learn not to FUCK with nature?

Something's telling me that this man's great great great grandfather/grandmother had something to do with this:
image
Dammit Lesko family! Stop messing with the ants! >.<

On the bright side it's a good thing they aren't around in California for now. Too bad we've got those damn Army Ants to deal with.

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