Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Computer Eating Ants Could Cripple NSA Surveillance

By Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

An invading population of these little luddite ants at the no-longer-very-secret NSA data warehouse in Utah would strike a crippling blow to the surveillance-state.

Nylanderia_pubens_worker

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

Nylanderia fulva, also named the raspberry ant after Tom Raspberry, the exterminator who first discovered them in Houston back in ’02, is an invasive ant species from Argentina and Brazil currently wrecking holy hell on computer systems, invasive red ant populations and native ecosystems across the U.S. South.

Since it was first spotted, raspberry ants, which are also called crazy ants because or their erractic, nonlinear movements, have spread to over 21 counties in Texas, 20 counties in Florida and several locations in Mississippi and Louisiana where they have caused more than $146.5 million dollars in damages to computer and electrical equipment in Texas alone. Its an odd thing, raspberry ants seem to have a yet unexplained suicidal hunger or perhaps hatred for computers. The cyber-sabotage occurs when a lone raspberry ant finds its way to a transformer and gets electrocuted. The ant fries but the electricity causes it to wave its abdomen about secreting a scent that lures other nearby ant scouts to the transformer. They too are electrocuted, increasing the fecundity of the scent that now wafts far and wide bringing a swarm of ants from the colony. They fry too. In time, so many ant bodies pile up that the insulation fries, the transformer overheats and blows, mechanical failure sets in and the system shuts the down.  Oh yeah, an those toxic insecticides used to kill red ants have little to no effect on raspberry ants.

And while it is unfortunate that these omnivorous ants compete and kill other native species, devouring vital food sources that cause, according to University of Texas researcher Ed LeBrun, a chain of negative affects up the food-chain, perhaps there is a  solution in which privacy, freedom and ecological health come together. The computer and raspberry ant relationship cancels each other out.  The smell of Big Brother’s spy computers roasting in a pile of raspberry ant carcasses must certainly  smell like a win-win.


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