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These Ants Live in Calculators, Can’t Stop Multiplying

posted: 11/12/15
by: Danny Clemens

Animals are always finding awkward places to hide, but this one seems to take the cake.

The raspberry crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) exhibits an unusual attraction to electronics of all kinds, from air conditioning units to graphic calculators to television sets. Scientists aren't exactly sure why the little creatures are so drawn to our gadgets, but some believe that the ants can sense the magnetic fields surrounding circuitry:

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Once a crazy ant colony invades your TI-84, the colony's growth is nearly impossible to stop. According to LiveScience, "When the crazy ants enter these devices their bodies can create connections between electrical contacts, which can lead the circuits to short out and electrocute the ants."

An ant in distress emits an "alarm pheromone," which signals to its colleagues that the ant is in trouble. Almost immediately, the rest of the colony swarms to the electrocuted ant's aid, beginning a vicious cycle of electrocution and attraction that can eventually short-circuit a gadget.

Crazy ants aren't just a menace to your gadgets, they can also destroy other ant colonies. Last year, scientists discovered that the small pests can produce an antidote that neutralizes fire ant venom, a discovery that supposedly marks the first example of an insect that can neutralize another insect's venom:


Here's hoping that the ants wait until SAT season is over to invade your calculator.

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