Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 53

Thread: Flying Ant Day

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    15,729

    Default Flying Ant Day

    appears to be today. How do the little buggers manage to coordinate it so well, do you think? Pheremones, maybe?

    Insects are cool, they're just little machines.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Merseyside
    Posts
    3,546

    Default

    My nan was plagued one summer by legions of the little bastards. Council had to come round and sort them out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    15,729

    Default

    I reckon they're all on MySpace, or maybe Facebook. Insect flashmobbing, kinda thing.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kingston
    Posts
    1,237

    Default

    I was going to post with exactly the same title on this. Flying Ant Day it is indeed. Always seems to be within a day or two of 25th July. Does this happen all over Europe? The UK?

    When I lived out in the country, I found dozens of them emerging from their underground hangars, queuing to climb grass stems and gain some extra purchase on the air.

    Could just be ground temperature/angle of the sun that sets them off. I have Huxley's book on ants somewhere, there's probably an indication in there. Intricate little fellas, ants. Feynman was fascinated by them and had them doing his bidding.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    602

    Default

    They choose the hottest day of the year I think (or their best guess I suppose) to create new nests - the males fly up chasing the stronger females, and only the strongest make it; the male dies after donating his sperm in mid-air; the impregnated female goes to ground in a hole; loses her wings & internally digests her wing muscles for nourishment/energy, and produces ants for a new colony as a new queen. Myrmecology =

    And aren't we all machines (made of other machines, made of other machines, made of... well let's see what CERN's LHC comes up with )?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    677

    Default

    I was in the Yorkshire dales on the 29th August and it seemed like flying ant day then... maybe it varies with latitude/climate?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    15,729

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dHarry View Post
    They choose the hottest day of the year I think (or their best guess I suppose) to create new nests - the males fly up chasing the stronger females, and only the strongest make it; the male dies after donating his sperm in mid-air; the impregnated female goes to ground in a hole; loses her wings & internally digests her wing muscles for nourishment/energy, and produces ants for a new colony as a new queen.
    So pretty much the same as humans, then?
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    15,729

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dHarry View Post
    And aren't we all machines (made of other machines, made of other machines, made of... well let's see what CERN's LHC comes up with )?
    Oh, for sure...I suppose what I meant was, insects are (individually) of the sort of order of complexity that cybernetic engineering is starting to approach. Obviously we're a long way from being able to create life-sized artificial ants that can do everything ants can do, but AFAIK people are starting to make robots that can act, in a very gross and general way, a bit like ants do. What I find fascinating is the way social insects behave as whole in a radically different way from how they behave individually, and I'm quite taken with the idea of a gestalt intelligence or 'hive mind' arising as an emergent property, just from lots of very simple agents working together. This is the basis of the whole area of mathematics concerning cellular automata, which is very indeed.

    I'll get back to this tomorrow, bed right now...

    Edit: it has been said that, in contrast to the case of social insects, the effective intelligence of a group of people is inversely proportional to the group's size...
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 10-09-2008 at 11:46 PM.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,453

    Default

    Today!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    15,729

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by massrock View Post
    Today!
    Ha, brilliant - I saw one earlier today, it landed on my finger and had a drink of the juice from the plum I was eating.

    Nice work finding this thread, btw.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    13

    Default

    they are HUGE!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    15,729

    Default

    F.A.D. can only be a couple of weeks away now. If you plotted the date of F.A.D. over the last 50 or 100 years, I wonder if it would be interesting from a climate-change POV? I'm sure entomologists must have kept records.

    A contour plot of when it happens throughout the country would probably be worth making, too.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kingston
    Posts
    1,237

    Default

    FAD sweepstake? I'm going to claim Sunday 25th July, with an each way on 24th July.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kingston
    Posts
    1,237

    Default

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_ant_day

    "This phenomenon occurs in many colonies simultaneously when the local weather conditions are appropriate, to reduce the effectiveness of predation and to ensure that the queens and males from different colonies stand a chance of meeting and interbreeding. It therefore has the appearance of being a 'timed' event or that the ants somehow communicate. However neither of these is likely to be the case - it is simply a common response to temperature, humidity and windspeed."

    Bollocks. I've been picking up 'chatter' on the Anternet for weeks now, they're already preparing for it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kingston
    Posts
    1,237

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •