It was Tuesday April 8. Holding a bug aspirator in one hand and four Pecan Sandies cookies in the other, I headed towards Old Dorms.


A fellow group member had recalled seeing a plethora of said creatures by the McCormick Bus Stop when she was a First Year and I was ready to explore. I placed each cookie on an index card and placed the cards in a square with two in the grass and two on the brick wall, as displayed below. The index cards read “PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ANT RESEARCH IN PROGRESS,” in order to ensure no confusion and/or tampering by passersby.

As soon as I placed the cards down I attracted the attention of a large red ant. He emerged from the grass and danced across a Pecan Sandie as I scrambled to pull the ant aspirator from my backpack. In order to use this high tech ant capturing I had to such air through a tube-essentially creating a vacuum that pulled the ants into a glass chamber. Unfortunately the red ant was too quick for me and scuttled off into the grass as I was about to use the aspirator. I also saw a large black ant and similarly tried to vacuum him up but his speed also prevailed. I then left the area hoping to find an abundance of ants upon my return.

ant 2

After around thirty minutes I came back to the bus stop and was happy to find a plethora of tiny black ants. The diagram below shows which note card had the most ants and the surface upon which the card rested, 1 being the most popular spot and 4 as the least.
1                             3
Grass                    Grass
2                             4
Brick                     Brick

ant 1

There seemed to be only one type of ant leading me to wonder if differing kinds of cookies would lead to different results. Fortunately, these tiny ants were less quick than the ones I had previous spotted and I was able to collect a sample via ant aspirator. Further, the popularity of the left-most and grass cards led me to hypothesize that the ants were travelling from places like the trash can-located to the left of the research area.
Overall, I considered this collection of ant research to be both productive and led me to pose further ant research questions.

Post by E. Dana Sparks, Fourth-Year, Art History