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Ant control collars

The healthy happy way to co-exist with ants - and they'll look smart, too!
  (+6, -3)
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This started off as bionic legs for ants, but here's a simpler option:

Ants, if I remember correctly, establish trails with smell. For every ant that finds a good source of food, a trail gets established, and then reinforced as all the other ants follow it - until eventually they're all marching merrily along to your larder, eating the popcorn and leaving footprints in the butter. (Or is that elephants?)

Anyway. The solution is simple - establish an alternative route which avoids your larder and sends the ants out to more healthy, outdoor-type foraging grounds. But since you don't smell like an ant (apologies to any literate giant ants reading this), how do you do it?

With the power of magnetism! The AntCollar(TM) is a little magnetic ring which fits around a worker ant's midriff. Simply catch a few of these little chaps, attach the AntCollar, and then place a few of the carefully calibrated AntWalk(TM) MagnetPads on top of the existing trail. These U-shaped channels have repelling magnets on either side, so once the ant is on it, he can't simply climb over the edge. Instead, by using a few non-magnetic offramps, you get to choose where he gets off (interestingly, if the cheeky fella decides to try and go round the back, he'll get stuck to the back of the magnets. Flick him off - he'll learn.). The more times your collared ants use the track, the more established it will become and eventually they'll all be trekking off into the garden! Yay! Pour encourager les autres, we suggest that you put a bit of sugar out at one of your chosen offramps to start with, just to give him something to take back.

Now, all we have to do is wait for someone to invent the AntCollar applicator. And find some ants. Here, little ant...

moomintroll, May 02 2005

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       Mabye we could direct the ants to termite colonies. Call it natural pest control. I did that once, i exposed a termite mound to a bunch of meandering ants. About an hour later there was a full scale ant termite war taking place. 3 or 4 lines of ants scaling up the mound while the termites were trying to fill in the holes.
10clock, May 02 2005
  

       I like this, a lot. +
bristolz, May 03 2005
  

       I like [10colck]s idea about bug wars.
finrod, May 03 2005
  

       Yeah. That would be an interesting thing to see. My son would love it.
bristolz, May 03 2005
  

       I've found that a small dollop of strawberry jam in the garden is perfect for diverting antish attention away from your kitchen. But added magnetism is good.
DrBob, May 03 2005
  

       We're trying to deal with an ant infestation at the moment. This would be great - I felt so bad poisoning them just because they were in the wrong place. I've no doubt that ants in Australia are six feet long, weigh three hundred pounds and neither need our help nor our sympathy, but over here we can get away with being ridiculous and soft.
david_scothern, May 03 2005
  

       //leaving footprints in the butter. (Or is that elephants?)// How could an ant leave footprints on an elephant?   

       I would like to have some of that chemical that the ants put down, and leave false trails everywhere. But I have often wondered how they know which direction to follow - and if they leave some kind of signal in the scent i.e. 123 using a different scent from each foot.   

       One interesting test would be to catch an ant that was following the trail, and put him off to one side. Then see which direction he takes up when he crosses the path again.   

       I wonder if it possible to point the correct direction by using on and off (1 and 0)? For example 101101110, and what is the shortest series that can be used to indicate direction?
Ling, May 04 2005
  

       UnAB... we have ants of all sizes here in HI. But not you're inch long ones, tanks gots. We just ignore them as most bugs here, because they eventually just go on their way. (Those red centipedes you Aussies sent us are an exception.)   

       Moom... why didn't you follow up the idea of "scent" rather than magnetic collars for miniscule mimsies? If you laid down an ant scent track to the strawberry jam in the garden, wouldn't that be simplier than attaching microscopic magnetic collars? Ah, well. Not as much fun tho. And you miss the possible video games of pitting ant to ant.
MauiChuck, May 29 2005
  

       Ling. Thought that was a great idea. Plenty of ants here, so I left a crumb on the lanai and came back an hour later. There was a convoy of ants, back & forward. I displaced one. It circled about and then found it's way back. I shoved another further away. Back it came. So I picked up a bunch of them (or they crawled up on me) and moved about 5' away and brushed them off. They milled around a bit, but then found the main group. More testing, I think. This is interesting sh*t
MauiChuck, May 29 2005
  
      
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