[ExI] ants again

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Oct 19 13:02:15 UTC 2009


> ...On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
> Subject: Re: [ExI] ants again
> Fascinating experiments, Spike!
> I think the pheromone trails lack direction information, 
> although I would guess there is a trail pheromone indicating 
> which way towards food and a nest pheromone indicating which 
> way towards the nest (I have not seen anything about a nest 
> pheromone in the literature, maybe I am wrong about it)...

This is part of what I am hoping to find out: if the ants supplement their
pheromone signals with visuals.  There is a difference in activity levels as
a function of light level, so that suggests some connection.  Of course ants
can navigate in zero light conditions as you found on your last visit to

> if you could paint two separate trails with them you would 
> get one-way trails. The kielbasa model looks like it is close 
> to real ant simulations I have read...

I need to study the literature to see if anyone has under any circumstances
managed to get one-way trails.  If so, one could perhaps collect a tiny
sample of the go-home pheromone, identify its chemical nature, synthesize it
in the lab, then spray it in a room, at which time all the ants present
would go home.  But if the keilbasa model is true, they will not go.  If it
is a non-directional food-or-home single pheromone, it might make the
problem worse, or could explain an odd phenom that you also discovered at my
own home.*

> I wonder what I can do with the ladybugs who are planning to 
> winter in my bathroom window. Just this morning I met three 
> (one was crawling up my leg)...

Anders I think you are just irresistable to bugs.
> ... (we need 
> somebody else to start training aphids)
> --
> Anders Sandberg,
> Future of Humanity Institute
> Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University 

*By way of explanation, my home has ants which are impossible to completely
irradicate, but oddly enough they seldom if ever appear where one might
expect them, the kitchen or dining room.  The place where Anders suffered
their presence is in the least used room in the house, the downstairs guest
bedroom of all odd places, for there is never food there, seldom anything
remotely edible, unless we have a visiting Swedish scientist-philosopher or
other esteemed guest, which is two to three times a year.  Anders was rudely
awakened in the night by some ambitious formicidae hoping to dismember the
hapless lad and carry him back to her nest to devour at some later time.  

This has led eventually to an interesting observation.  Apparently ants
require that the eggs be kept dry, so human habitationst are an ideal
choice.  I am told that if one has ants in the walls, it protects against
destructive termites.  So they are actually a benefit, if they do not
attempt to devour one's guests, one's family or oneself.


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