Fabulous Ant Fact #4

Fire ants aren’t native to North America. Chances are they arrived in the U.S. in nursery stock (trees, etc.), in the 40’s and 50’s.

And, while early on the U.S. government hit the little guys with heavy duty chemicals in a number of eradication campaigns, all that was ultimately accomplished was widespread damage to birds and other wildlife in and near the treated areas. Meanwhile, fire ants continue to thrive. Indeed, the eradication efforts might’ve even aided the insects in their expansion into new territories.

Tomorrow (Saturday) morning, members of our Olli class are heading to a location our instructor, Dr. Walter Tschinkel, calls “ant heaven.” If conditions are right we’ll attempt to make a cast of an ant nest.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having mixed feelings about pouring molten aluminum into a colony of ants. It won’t break my heart if we don’t get to do the casting. I guess I’m an old softie. Sure hope the fire ants remember that next time I accidentally blunder into one of their mounds.

(That’s not my foot pictured below, by the way, but I’ve endured fire ant bites, and they are extremely painful.)

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

17 thoughts on “Fabulous Ant Fact #4”

  1. Omg they are actually going to destroy a colony?

    I have mixed feelings about this too. Long as the little buggers don’t bug me I see no reason to kill them.

    Ants are such incredibly interesting creatures…;)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m trying to look at it that way. Researchers have gained a great deal of information by doing these castings. And perhaps their studies could lead to a way to better control fire ant populations without harming the environment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure why they don’t just show you a display of castings that have already been done. It seems a bit extreme to kill off a colony just for your class. This said by someone who really doesn’t like ants.

    Liked by 1 person

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