Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Attack of the Ants



After a few weeks of enduring the coordinated attack I was forced to procure, place and plan my own counter attack against a growing and incessant ant problem. For now it is temporarily under control, which means that they will be back, but for now the honey is safe, the sweet cereal will be left alone and the eternal lines of tiny black bodies crawling across the floor to some microscopic sliver of discarded food source will be forgotten.
 
The battle with the ant is a forever battle that man may as well consign himself to a limited defeat.  We may have times relief but those temporary ceases in aggression always return as the foraging ant returns once the poisons wear- off, the borax dissipates or the kitchen and floors are not cleaned to perfection.

Most of us have ant issues, those tiny creatures finding the smallest crack or hole to gain access to our supposed clean environment.  They come for food, they come for water and they come for shelter, our houses are perfect for all three. 

Our specific infestational problems arise not just because we have good food or love sweet things , we actually think our home was built on an ancient burial ground of some lost ant culture that has decided to take revenge on our blasphemy for disturbing their sacred site.  The ants in our house come through cracks that don’t exist, trails that end at a solid wall or even groups of ants swarming around previously polished tile, congregating around an invisible food source leaving the tell-tale trail for the millions to follow.  We don’t simply have ants we have super ants that exist in both the physical realm and in some other unknown and undiscoverable demesne that we will never find, giving them free reign over all that is ours. 

Ants are not just ants; they are so much more than the squiggly things that invade our homes.  There are some disturbing facts to consider.  Did you know that the total mass of all ants combined equal the total mass of all humans now living?  That means for every man woman and child there are enough ants to equal the weight of every one alive.

It is also estimated that the brain power of an ant is the most advanced for any within the insect world and in some cased when combined as a hive can equal the brain power of a human, reminds you of the evil Borg of star trek with its drones being guided by the queen but all brains connected, like mini processors linked together for rapid decisions and quick response.   An ant brain has about 250 000 brain cells. A human brain has 10,000 million so a small colony of 40,000 ants collectively equals 10,000,000,000 the same size brain as a human, so the comparison to the Borg may be more real than we may want to admit.  

Taken to its logical conclusion with nearly 50 quadrillion ants (that’s a lot of ants) with the average hive holding approx. 220000 ants and that average colony could produce an equal brain equivalent to one human brain and with the total number of ants being roughly 50 quadrillion, you can do the math if you want but my speculation is if the ants ever started thinking beyond their existence and realized their potential man might have a problem eradicating or even surviving the ensuring battle that might look something like the B movie of attack of the ants or the space version of those giants bugs creatures that waged war against all of humanity.

Keep in mind these are only speculative numbers and only estimates on true numbers of ant with many speculating that many kinds of ant have yet to be discovered.  These are a very diverse culture with similarities to humanity itself.  The ant is the only creature on the earth that farms, enslaves, organizes and plans.

Like humans, ants continue to expand their environment, making changes to alter the circumstances of the environment to better suit their needs and survival.  Ants also like human attack their own in defense and aggression for expansion and protection.  

The bottom line of this sci-fi like scenario is the reality of what might be in our future.  The world may look like it’s ours but the ant is poised and ready to take our place and the most disturbing part is that the ant probably doesn’t even know we exist.   The war may be waging and we may think we’re winning but the ant always returns.  They may crawl across our counters, infect our food, and be a problem day after day but in the end we are the only ones who are bugged by these impressive and overpowering pests.

Who knows man may one day be the aphid to the ant.