There are three things that I most enjoy about Summertime:
1 - The sun
2 - Sunny dispositions
3 - The antics of ants
I have always had a love-hate relationship with ants, the hate part often involving copious amounts of boiling water. Although they make me squirm like a big girl, their societies and colonies do rather fascinate me.
I guess it all started as a child growing up in the city of Antchester, when under the influence of Sandy White, I took to hand-grenading the little bastids (play Spectrum Ant Attack HERE).
In my later years, whilst living with an equally-ineffective bunch of students, I developed a rather one-sided symbiotic relationship with the family Formicidae - they invaded our house and trooped across the kitchen table with impunity, and I, erm, I had my crumbs carried away.
Nowadays I tend to have a more hands-off approach to the Order that scientists juvenilely know as Hymenoptera. But what absolutely captivates my imagination come late Spring and Summer, is when I catch site of their "earthworks"... the piles of dry clay-brown dust that you see resting on so many paving slabs, each heap crowned by the pin-prick mouth of a colony's tunnel. I'll be walking along, mind adrift, and then I'll see the evidence of their excavations and my mental framework will transform. I'll no longer be striding over the solid banality of the "floor", but instead I'll be treading on the crust of a world where humanity is but a small part. Part of my self will dissociate from myself, floating down throughout the networks of the nest, merging with the hive mind in my mind's eye. We are all but atoms. Or something.
Yup, ants turn me stupid.
Five Ant Facts:
1 - Ants communicate the positions of food using the trail of pheromones that is left by their tiny feet. The trail left by a successful forager will be followed by other ants, whose pheromone trail will further reinforce the route, and so on. When the food is exhausted, they will no longer reinforce the trail, leading to its eventual dissipation. Other pheromones also play essential roles in their activity - the pheromone produced by a crushed ant will attract other ants, and in high concentrations will send them into an attack frenzy.
2 - Ants are particularly close relatives of the vespid and scoliid wasps. Which makes them gits in my book.
3 - The derivation of the word "ant" can be traced to "anterior", meaning toward the front; this is because ants have some front, the way they stomp around the world like they own the place. Which to all intents and purposes they do, having first appeared sometime during the Cretaceous period (65-135 million years ago). This fact may not be true.
4 - Ant Music is a type of music performed by Adam Ant.