"Them" was a 1954 science fiction story of civilization versus giant ants. Giant ants were created by atomic bomb testing in the d...

"Them" was a 1954 science fiction story of civilization versus giant ants. Giant ants were created by atomic bomb testing in the deserts of the United States. The ant spread around the world, is there time to save humanity? Ok, I have not seen giant ants, but what is big is in the eye of the beholder.

If you were a smaller insect for example, an ant could be gigantic, a creature to be feared. Not only are individual ants well equiped for survival, but they are also social insects living in large colonies. They are highly successful and can be found literally everywhere, except Antarctica and the oceans. It has been estimated that there are 250,000 ants for every person on the planet. 

Our first house in Malaysia had a mango tree in the front yard. An ant colony "owned" the tree. I learned early on not to mess with that tree. An ant nest was in the tree. They had bent and folded leaves and branches into a large ball, roughly the size of a volleyball. Once we witnessed a very ripe mango fall to the ground. The broken fruit attracted hornets, but the ants were ready. They formed "ant chains" that reached up and grabbed the hornets that were attracted to the fruit and other distressed hornets. The hornets were pulled out of the air, killed and dragged to the nest up in the tree.

Not all ants are hunters. Some, like those seen in the video below are farmers, harvesting the honey dew of aphids and other plant sucking insects. While other members of the colony are guarding their hosts from predators and competitors. In the video, what I think may be parasitic wasps can be seen avoiding the ants. 

Thank goodness there are no ants as big as the ants in "Them", but there are fossil records of ants as large as a hummingbird. Definitely not a nest you would want to disturb. 

In the science fiction story "City" by Clifford D. Simak, the Earth is eventually over run by ants after they discover how to make fire. But by that time, humans were no longer on the planet.



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At Home and Away: THEM!
At Home and Away
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