[ExI] super soldier ants
spike66 at att.net
Sun Jan 8 17:37:07 UTC 2012
>... On Behalf Of Kelly Anderson
Subject: Re: [ExI] super soldier ants
2012/1/6 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
>...It doesn't seem very dangerous... unless you changed the gene expression
in some way as to not require the hormone treatment during gestation... THAT
would be dangerous. -Kelly
Here's the problem. On a farm in Oregon, we have a particular product which
has proven the most profitable so far for non-irrigated crops: forage
oilseed. This plant is in the mustard family, and a close cousin of the
stuff they use to make canola oil:
The bees love this stuff! We were able to nurse back to health several
flats of hives by just setting them in the fields, and they produced honey
up the wazoo.
This crop worked well for us in Oregon, but every beast loves it too: we had
a hell of a time with spotted garden slugs; well actually every slug and
snail known in that part of the world devoured it, along with furry beasts
eating the plants. The pesticides needed to fight the slugs and snails are
copper based and getting more expensive every day. Carbaryl methaldehyde
based slug control is not only expensive but dangerous and personnel
intensive, which is a big factor now since Oregon raised the minimum wage.
The regulations for chemical herbicide and pesticide use grows every year.
We know that ants will devour slugs if enough of them jump the slimy sons a
bitches, but it takes several ants to defeat one slug. The slugs secrete
some kind of protective layer of goo such that the ant's mandibles are not
long enough to bite through.
So my notion is if we could make or breed ants with longer and meaner
mandibles, they could take on the slugs and snails, really feast on their
wretched asses, assuming slugs have asses. It would also make those fields
a most unpleasant place for the nutria and other mammal pests to out hang.
The super-ants would only live a couple months, so they would control the
pests, then die. They don't reproduce, they don't require expensive and
dangerous pesticides, no poisoning the topsoil with a buildup of heavy
metals in soil that will be used for food crops, no hassles with the salmon
people, no hassles with the rest of the boards that oversee chemical
We could ring the fields with a protective border of winter rye, which is
not particularly profitable but is relatively beast-free, so the ants
wouldn't bother going out there, but would rather stay in the forage oilseed
and hunt slugs.
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