Friday, July 30, 2010

War! Huh! What is it Good For!

It started out as what I thought was going to be a standard Thursday night dinner date out with Steve. I got home, pulled into the driveway, and went into the house. We gathered our Outback Steakhouse gift card and coupon, grabbed our phones & headed to the car.

We happened to look over at the front stairs and didn't quite know what to make of what we saw. Crawling - no - swarming all over the stairs were hundreds of ants. Red ones and black ones, some of them fighting with each other, some of them carrying larvae out on their backs. Steve went into the garage and got the bug stop spectracide so that the battling ants would not swarm their way into the house. As he sprayed, I stood in the middle of this swarm of ants - they were even spread down to the driveway, running away - and solidly decided that I had never seen anything like this in my life. We continued to stand there in awe of what was happening, watching as beetles, spiders, and centipedes came out of the rock wall and ran away from whatever was going on between the ants.

It was hands down one of the strangest things I had ever witnessed in nature.

We pondered what we should do about our bizarre ant problem while we enjoyed our dinner. Steve looked up "swarming ants" on his iPhone to see about what could be going on. When we got home it was too dark to see what was going on, so we trusted the fighting would stay outside and not make its way into the house and called it a night.

This morning we woke up to find at least a hundred dead ant carcasses spread across our walkway. When Steve got to work he called Bain Pest Control who advised him to get a sample of the ants and stop on in. He did, and their verdict was that we... witnessed...


I did a bit of research on this after Steve told me this, and I was fascinated to find out that other than humans - ants are the only other animal to wage organized war. In fact - sometimes when ants take over a colony, they will keep some of the other ants as SLAVES! This is incredibly fascinating to me. Here are these small creatures that I once saw in a documentary have a population of 4 quadrillion worldwide - waging territorial war on each other and enslaving their captors to do their bidding. Probably it's mostly consistent of building tunnels & gathering food - BUT STILL. We don't give ants much credit for anything other than being a nuisance at our picnics and in our cabinets. Yet, here they are able to organize platoons and gather in such a fashion to conquer another colony and claim it as their own.

Can't you just picture a little ant sticking a flag at the top of an anthill? Imagine a picture like that famous picture from World War 2, only with ants on an anthill in the middle of your yard.

I think about this amazing intelligence and am amazed that God - who loves us as his precious children - took the time to put that much care into His design of these tiny creatures. They have the ability to communicate and organize and work and work and work and out number us by insane proportions. What we witnessed last night was God's creation interacting in ways that are just... well... unimaginable. I never would have thought that ANTS would be engaging in wars and that their women and children (as witnessed by the carrying of larvae) would be running away in terror.

Crazy. Crazy awesome.

"Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!" - Proverbs 6:6

1 comment:

Evan said...

that is amazing. Take any pics of the melee?