Monday, March 30, 2009



(I have a home office).

One morning last week I woke to find that a whole crazy bunchload of my little ant friends had invaded the kitchen and were hanging around a plate I had forgotten to wash. After I basically lost my shit and howled the secret name of G-d and made a coffee, I determined to put my recent ant experiments to the test. I grabbed a few handfuls of catnip from the garden, tore ‘em up and sprinkled them around the plate and general near-plate area. GUESS WHAT ANT-FACTERS? Within an hour or two the ants racked the heck out of there. Chalk one up for modern science, and no ants were harmed either.

On to today’s facts.

First a quiz: have you been doing your homework? If so, you should be able to work this out. If not: IDIOT! Why do I even bother? You’re wasting my time and you’re wasting your own time and if there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s surely that the internet is not a place we go to waste time.

Here is the quiz.

What’s this?

The correct answer will be provided at the end of today’s lesson.

Did you know that one of the ways ants communicate is by rubbing body parts together to create clicking noises? A bit like The Fonz clicking his fingers and going “Eeeeyyyyy…” Ants are cool.

Ants also “sing” to each other to communicate.

Some other insects can imitate these sounds and sneak into an ant colony, where the ants will take care of them as if the intruder were one of their own! Truly a devilish business, being an ant! Whom do you trust?


Have you worked out that puzzle I gave you yet? Answer coming up.

A scientist in the UK found that when he recreated the sound of a queen ant and played it to a colony, all of the workers stood to attention and greeted the tiny speakers. I read this in The Guardian, which is where I have stolen most of today’s facts.

Another fact from this article is that some kinds of ants domesticate aphids, “tranquillising them with drugs to keep them docile and ‘milking’ them with their antennae for a sugary honeydew.” That’s amazing. Even The Guardian says that ants are “amazing”.

Now for the cruncher: pencils down! What’s your answer? What is it? Let’s see the picture again.

Did you get it? If you said “a bridge made of ants, their bodies linked together in order to cross some kind of gulf” then you are CORRECT.



Em Sexton said...

This is my second favourite AFM so far.

richardwatts said...

*genuflects before the master of ant facts*

Martyn said...

I want you to know that when I was on Flinders Island I did the "put an alternative food source away from the kitchen" idea of yours and indeed it did work. I didn't have to squash any ants.
Still waiting for 'Pig Fact Wednesday'.