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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Thursday, 21 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

The Ants Go Marching Into My House Ten By Ten

Many years ago when I was in high school, and not much smarter than I am now, I had a theory that ants Fire ants USDA copywould one day take over the world.  Ants fascinated me because they were so many different types of ants and these itty-bitty creatures were all capable of doing the most amazing things despite their size.

Our assumption is that no creature so small or that mindlessly lives in a hive-called a superorganism-could ever defeat us. But look at this io9 article from last year written by Robert T. Gonzales that presents ten facts that illustrate that ants are poised to one day enslave us all.

For instance take Fact #6 from Gonzales’s list:

“In their Pulitzer-prize winning book The Ants, researchers Bert Holldobbler and Edward O. Wilson estimate that there are upwards of 10,000,000,000,000,000 individual ants alive on Earth at any given time.”

And do you know where all 10,000,000,000,000,000 of those ants are right now? In my kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, and bedroom.

The worst part about ants is that according to Robert Warren, an assistant professor of biology at SUNY Buffalo State, climate change is going to affect ant behavior the way it’s probably going to affect other insects: warmer temperatures will propel them into areas they weren’t before. Once established they will invade our homes, eat our food, and then make us bow to their queen.

Warren and Lacy Chick of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Ph.D. candidate, looked at a slightly different set of data:

“Rising minimum temperatures may be the best way to predict how climate change will affect an ecosystem,” said, Warren “Cold extremes that once limited warm-adapted species will disappear in a warming global climate.”

After comparing the percentages of two species of forest dwelling ants: Aphaenogaster rudis or the Winnow Ant to Aphaenogaster picea at different elevations in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in Georgia researchers found that low temperatures were causing the Winnow Ant to wander into higher elevations and displace their cousins.

a-rudis-displaces-a-picea-b-coulterWarren and a team then collected 755 ants from almost 200 colonies and subjected them to different temperatures in a lab to test the ants’ tolerance.

“Both species tolerated high maximum temperatures,” said Warren, “but A. rudis can tolerate a higher minimum temperature than A. picea.”  A two degree difference was all that was needed to cause displacement.

“This suggests that rising temperatures may not necessarily kill or stress species directly,” added Warren, "Instead, it might be that higher minimum temperatures allow warm-adapted species to outcompete cold-adapted species.”

That’s cool and everything but I wonder what the team did with the 755 ants after they had completed the study? If they ever need pavement ants for a study they can call me and collect the ants living in my house.

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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