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Ants - A Magnificent Symbiosis

A Senior Secondary School student returns home.
Nobody's home; All are at work. He lets himself in. Its dark. He's tired after the 15 minute ride in the jam packed KSRTC bus. He sets down the bag and flips the light switch. And there on the white (not so sparkling clean) floor was a thick row of ants.

All marching in unison and yet in chaos. An army ,efficient even without a commander. An army of workers willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the colony. An army of diligent workers who works without complain, lifting weights 50 times their own. Following the strongest scent to the nearest food. Working day and night for the very same purpose that drives all creatures on this planet, to survive.

I had often mentioned my fascination with insects in general and ants in particular. In an article I wrote a while ago, I had promised to write in detail about my fascination and a wonderful symbiosis with ants. Frankly, I had forgotten about this, what with all the college excitement and the topsy-turvy way my life is turning out to be (which is wonderful!)

The scene is set in a wonderful October afternoon. It hasn't rained in while and the sky is at its best blue. A  warm breeze cools the mind after the hectic half-day even though the sun shining down would make easy work out of even the strongest tan. The school was dispersed for some reason by noon......

Apparently, he's lazy as can be. So he lets them be. His attitude, "They mind their business and me mine".

A delicious lunch later, curiosity gets the better of him. He starts tracking down the ants.
"Where are they heading? What's the target? What's for lunch, guys?" After a roller coaster ride past the couch, along the wall, up the edge, above the door and through the window. Oops! That was the wrong way!! He traced back to the couch, and under there was what he was looking for. It was a cockroach. A dead one and already in parts. The ants had already started their work!

A couple of hours later, by evening, all activity died down. By 4.30 pm, there was not a single trace of that hectic and frantic cleaning team. No wonder this secret was not found out earlier!

Of course, the guy is me and this is a true story.

The amazing thing  to note is the fact that the ants come out only when the house is empty. The go everywhere cleaning up the whole house, from dead insects to food crumbs on the floor, everything that one would usually have to take the pains to clean up.

Well, occasionally, there comes up a couple of clashes, mostly due to the "language barrier" but hey! is there any incidence of collaboration where even a slight clash hasn't occurred?

Did I mention that they also helps to keep out pests? Very few insects can match upto a  swarm of ants.working in unison.

In fact, most wise farmers, especially ones with a good traditional backing ( references 1, 2 ) has relied on ants and termites for pest control on their farms. Not only is it sustainable, eco-friendly, literally cost-free , this has been advised by many studies too!!

So, the next time you see a colony of ants marching, just let them be!
Live with Nature 
not against Her,
for you'll be fighting a losing battle right form the beginning!

2 Thoughts:

dEpz February 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM  

salute ur observation skill. u make d mundane magical. :)

Kiran Rajmohan February 11, 2012 at 11:06 PM  

dEpz, its not mundane when you realise that every little bit around you has an almost magical intricacy in its existence and the reason for it being it!!!

Today,sadly,we lose sight of this FACT and find it fascinating when we enocunter it once in a while whereas it is right out there for us to learn and grow from.

Open your EYES,
Think Anew :)

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