Antsy about ants!

A few weeks ago, I noticed it for the first time. Cleaning up after seemed the most natural thing to do. But then it happened again. And again. And again. Now I’ve lost count. And stopped cleaning up. Someone else does it, I am sure. I am talking about black ants in our refrigerator! A thin trail of black, next to the door, not near any item of food, barely visible until you crouch down to retrieve an item. Sounds gross, right? I was more intrigued. I wondered where they were coming from and where they were going to! Think I’ve found an explanation? No, not yet. Think I’ve tried researching it? Of course.

Ants are cold blooded – which means they cannot alter or adjust their body’s temperature as per the chill on the outside. They’d rather go sunning outside to warm themselves up than enter a refrigerator. And Bangalore has been cold for a while now. Not snowy cold, but I think a blanket would be cozy, cold.

So we’re dealing with three questions here :

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  1. Why were the ants attracted to the refrigerator?
  2. How did the ants enter the refrigerator?
  3. Why did other ants follow?

Here comes my dissection! Feel free to tell me where I am wrong.

  1. Why were the ants attracted to the refrigerator?

This one’s simple! Food. It’s always about a hungry stomach making you do irrational stuff – well that and greed, jealousy, fear and passion too. But let’s stick to a hungry stomach right now. The refrigerator didn’t contain anything sweet. Well, at least not sugar containing sweets. I don’t suppose natural sugar in raw fruits count, do they? Maybe they do.

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2. How did the ants enter the refrigerator?

Mother says there could be a crack in the stand. Internet says the seal could be broken. Maybe this also explains why the refrigerator has not been working well – it doesn’t seem to be containing the chill inside or sometimes becomes too chilled. I should probably tell the repair guy the next time he’s around – that it’s not a complicated random machine name issue, but a sealant issue.

3. Why did other ants follow?

The ants obviously did not survive the chill because they’re not warm blooded. Well I am assuming because I didn’t check their pulse before cleaning them away! But it doesn’t add up somewhere. Maybe some survived.

I’ll explain why I think some survived the refrigerator and went back home, with food. Ants don’t communicate with words, nor do they have milestones or directions for home laid out on Google Maps. So how do they not get lost? Ants secrete pheromones into the air, which are like hormones but just outside the body and affects others who recognize it. So ants leave a trail of home-finding pheromone when they go out looking for food, which is their Google map when they have to return home. Just involves a lot of sniffing, I guess. Now if theirs is a triumphant return home, they leave a food trail pheromone, which other ants at home can now follow to get to the source of food. So there had to be cases of survival which would lead the other ants to the refrigerator, albeit a source of food, laced with cold and a hint of death. So much for me storing my food there!

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And that’s my fun fact of the day! A long one, indeed.

Signing off,

Graciously Yours!

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