Monday, February 23, 2009

Ant Fact Monday: Special Edition

Today's Ant Fact Monday features special guest Molly.


On the weekend, by sheer happenstance, I read a theory that catnip works as a repellant for ants. Since I have a catnip bush (Bush? Bushell? Shrub? Plantation? Manufactory? Infestation? Threnody? Articulation? Quidnunc? Moire? Exegesis?) I decided to put this hypothesis to the test. At the time I hadn't planned to use the word happenstance, and I already regret the error.


Here are a few pieces of catnip. I began by sourcing a few local ants who looked unemployed (hence their colloquial title as "the actors of the insect world") and came upon this little character whose headshot does her no justice. But I suppose justice is a precious commodity in these troubled times.


I began by placing a leaf of catnip near Leonard and she scurried off in an erratic manner. This certainly confirmed the notion of "repulsion". Science is hardly made by such simple observations, however, and so I expanded the experiment by placing several leaves in an area around Leonard, forming a kind of obstacle course or episode of the television show "Wipeout" which she would then negotiate. Once again, Leonard confirmed our early postulate by heading away from the catnip on all sides and hurriedly finding a space through which to escape this maze of greenery.

Adhering to proper procedure, I created a control group by replicating the obstacle course for other ants using dried leaves as the barriers. They did not respond in an overly excited fashion, unlike Leonard, who was acting like she had ants in her pants, which is an inappropriate metaphor when applied to an actual ant.

And so it seems that ants really are turned off by catnip, which Molly describes as "freakin heaven on a mulch 'nother shot ta gubby".

On the other paw, a few minutes later I noticed another ant walking all over a catnip leaf which totally screwed everything up.

The only thing of which I can be sure: Molly is (probably) not an ant.

What a stunning sky we had this evening.

"... we talk all the time about the end of the world, but it is much easier for us to imagine the end of the world than a small change in the political system. Life on earth maybe will end, but somehow capitalism will go on." --Slavoj Zizek

1 comment:

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