What You Get When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into An Ant Hill

Fascinating video of what happens when you pour molten aluminum into a fire ant mound.

There was an article on this sort of thing back in the 80’s or 90’s in Scientific American or Smithsonian magazine, don’t really remember which or when. They used zinc in the field since it has a lower melting point.

Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.

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Not really. Ants are mindless, organic automatons; you couldn’t be cruel to them if you tried.

I thought so too originally. But after watching it, I thought it was very … informative regarding the ant colony. And anyway, ants aren’t on any endangered list I know of, and they’ll invade your home if they see fit. So, fuck 'em.

Fire ants are an invasive species with absolutely devastating stings. The moral distance between using heat or neurotoxins seems slim. If anything molten metal is probably less ecologically problematic than using chemicals.

http://fireant.tamu.edu/controlmethods/

Or you could just nuke them from orbit.

If only Al would melt at a reasonable temperature, I could see turning fire ant extermination into a cottage industry.

Earn big ucks while helping destroy a pest species! Work at home! A boon for the elderly!

I wonder how much 20 lbs of Al costs…

Luckily, no fire ants where I am.

Wold there be something analogous for Africanized Bees? Maybe a glue dispenser at the entrance - as they enter, the bee gets coated with glue, and as soon as they bump into another bee, they fuse

I expect death by liquid hot metal for something the mass of an ant would be quite swift, compared to a larger creature. And, perhaps, swifter than the kinds of regular slaughter the little blighters face daily. Being eaten alive by large mammals, torn apart by other ant species and other insects. Brain taken over by parasitic fungi which consumes it alive and from the inside.

Fiery genocide from above may be preferable, by comparison.

something a little bit bigger - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-gIx7LXcQM

relevant parts starts around the 46th minute.

I too feel a bit uncomfortable with this. I know that fire ants are invasives who cause a lot of trouble, but pouring molten metal on any living creature does seem inhumane to me. It’s similar to how it seems cruel to pull legs off flies even though many people kill them outright.
There are reasons to think that insects do indeed suffer and have some kind of primitive consciousness.
I certainly realize sometimes killing insects is unavoidable, but we should try to be aware of doing it as humanely as possible I think.

What You Get When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into An Ant Hill

Pink Panther: “Dead ant, dead ant. Dead ant. Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant. Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant.”

Instant death by molten metal is probably about the most humane way to kill them, short of nuking them from space.

Yeah, that’s got to be a pretty instantaneous death - faster than most poisons, I’d imagine.

Also, they’re fucking vermin. So there’s that angle.

That is a very anthropocentric point of view if you ask me.

I have this strange image of those ants sneaking the dirt up to the surface hidden inside their trouser legs and spreading it around so the guards don’t catch on.

There’s something fishy about that video. The first scene showed him pouring molten metal into the mouth of a man-made mound, not an ant mound. See the grooves on one side made by human fingers?

The next scene showed him digging up the cast. Note that that top was flat still with grass on it. It definitely was not the cast made in the first scene. If he poured it into a volcanic “neck” then the cast should have a bottom “stem.”

But then again, the idea isn’t so far fetched. Maybe he made a collage purely for demonstration.

Tschinkel aluminum ant mound casting. The article says the molten aluminum vaporizes the ants, so at least it’s fast.

And the concern that killing them with liquid metal is somehow cruel seems like a very anthropomorphic point of view if you ask me.