[ExI] bees again

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Fri Sep 7 04:45:12 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Mike Dougherty
> Thanks for the fyi on the ant/wasp connection.  I saw an ant swarm on
> the corner of the pavement today - it was a little disturbing to see
> about an 8 inch square of roiling small black ants.

Ja.  Actually I like ants too.  Bugs are my friends.  Ants are cool in how
they sting.  They have strong mandibles with which they bite into the flesh.
Examine an attacking ant closely.  Admittedly this takes a certain amount of
discipline to do this while they are in the process of biting your ass.
What they are actually doing is using their powerful bite to hold on, so
they can plunge their stinger into your skin.  The bite doesn't hurt much.
It's the sting that causes you to commit blammisphy.   

> Should we be looking more generally at the impact of the smallest
> organisms' impact on global ecology?

Ants help clean up messes.  Consider all those bees that I found perished
this past spring.  After I finished examining the dead bees, I placed them
in the back yard garden wall in order to determine how long it takes before
the ants remove all evidence that the bee was ever there.  The answer is, as
close as I can determine it, about 30 hours, plus or minus about 10 hours.
This estimate is based on only 8 data points with plenty of observational
uncertainty as to when the last fragment disappeared.  I may repeat the
experiment next spring, setting up a time lapse camera to record the bee

If we had no ants to clean up dead stuff, we would have a lot of rotting
dead stuff all over the place.  Ants and bees are our friends.  I don't know
what wasps are good for, if anything.


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