Apr 15, 2010


Have you ever wondered how ants follow each other in straight lines but sometimes you'll see an ant going in reverse and then they will turn a little and go forward in a different direction? Are they looking for a certain path that the other ones took already? How do they find their way?

I've been observing some ants that I found in my bathroom. They follow the tile floor grout as if they were ant superhighways.

Ryder had thrown some peanuts on the floor of my bathroom, and because I was on a sweeping strike for several days, the ants arrived taking over hostage. How did they know to come?

I looked it up. Ants communicate by using pheromones. They leave a pheromone trail behind them in which the other ants follow, doing the same. How's that for brilliance? I wish I had a trail to follow. I feel like I'm on my own. I'm on my own super ant highway, but without a lot of direction.

With three children on the spectrum, I'm amazed that my little children "ants" bring home friends that are also on the spectrum. Do they leave a pheromone scent behind them or what? Like minds think alike? I'm amazed. How do they find each other? Even my Aspie husband, whose best and only friend is 20 years younger than him, (and whom I wondered whether he too was on the spectrum) just told us he is being tested for Asperger's. Again, I ask, do they leave a pheromone trail behind them? (Nevermind farting. That is a given.)

And why do they always want to come to our house? The boys never get invited to anyone else's house to play.

I guess I'd rather have it this way, then I can keep an eye on them since I am the Queen Ant. On a bad day, my colony is full and I need respite ant workers to help me out. On good days, I don't get stepped on and I can carry a picnic basket of food off and keep all to myself without the risk of bloating myself up so much that I explode. Of course that day doesn't really exist. But wouldn't that be fun?

Ants are social insects and live together in large "group homes". Ants communicate really well with each other by using their antennas. Well, we have a "group home" but I wouldn't necessarily say we communicate well. It would be nice to have antennas, so I could bop the kids on the head from afar when they are acting out. Imagine that. Me in my Queen Chambers, sending my male worker ants out into the big world. Them, leaving a trail that I could follow if need be and knowing that the threat of an antenna lurks behind each corner if they don't stay on task.

Growing up, my dad would always call down the stairs for the "army of ants". To me and my brother and sisters, this meant he needed our help. Did we hear the call? Yes. Did we know ants were expected to carry twenty times their own body weight? Not so much. Doesn't matter, we did as obedient (sort of) children do. When the call comes, you get to work. My call has come. Time to work.

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Ernie and Oscar learn they like different things-great for kids on the Spectrum!