Ants Redux, Rodent Bot Fly

First off, I don’t think anyone noted the 1-year anniversary for Protozoic. I guess that’s what the Proto-Con is about, but I don’t even know exactly when this site was put up so I can’t tell.

Due to some traveling and such I let the ant news go. Here are the results.


Sadly, that’s really as far as the ants got, and that was just during day 3. What happened is the whole left side of the tunnel you see above collapsed. I was worrying about this and tried to firm the sand up a little with some water days before inserting the ants. This didn’t work and I soon figured out why. I don’t have the digicam at the moment, so I can’t show you the result. I shook the sand within the farm down and was able to compact it to about 2/3rds the height it was originally. I think, without the sand being heavily connected, it was bound to collapse.

Another issue is food. I’ve been struggling with ideas on what to feed the ants, after figuring out how to feed them. I’ve been using a source that says milk is a good food for ants, but I’ve found that it always seems to go toxic after a few days. I’ll be doing some more research on that, but with all the rain we’ve had (a few days ago we received 6.5 inches in less than 24 hours) and all the rain we’re supposed to get (it’s forcasted for the next few days) I’m not sure if catching ants will be easy.

The weak of stomach can stop reading now. And, dragon, this might be one thing you want to note in your weird links.

Over a month ago, I was excited to find that one of the squirrels in my parents’ yard looks to be infected with a Rodent Bot Fly warble. Here are a few links in explaination, including one graphic picture. Basically, it’s a fly which larval stage is parasitic, requiring mammal flesh as a host. The larvae burrow into skin and create an abscesses, called warbles, until they are ready to metamorphose. And yes, there is a species of Bot Fly that specifically targets humans. Though, unless you’re regularly around cattle, I wouldn’t worry about ever seeing one.

I’ve tried to snap a picture of said squirrel, to the extent of setting out live traps in the hopes of catching it, but it has eluded the camera so far. Yet, it seems like that isn’t the only infected squirrel in town, because I also found one on SU‘s campus. That one looked like it wasn’t infected with just one warble, but a few. Anyway, I’ll post pictures if I can get any. Maybe Mrs. Gray can keep an eye out for any lumpy squirrels.

10 thoughts on “Ants Redux, Rodent Bot Fly

  1. Yup, they are fun looking creatures when infected. I have seen a few before. I thought they got that from masturbating too much… at least that is what my parents told me.

  2. I think loki and I actually heard about bot flies on some Discovery channel parasites show or something while we were at Megan’s house. I thought they only lived in certain tropical climes, but maybe that’s just the kind that infests humans most. Are they a NJ thing too then?

  3. Yup, I’ve seen some lumpy squirrels in our yard, too, but I assumed the lesions were from injury or overzealous scratching. I will keep a closer eye on them and try to snap a pic.

  4. Well… I sort of thought bot flies lived in tropical climes too Pete… Brian actually lives in MD (or is in MD now). Still – it is pretty disturbing news.

    Does anyone know if there is an IRC bot called bot-fly? If there isn’t, there should be.

  5. From watching a number of cartoons where ants raid picnics, I’ve found that ants love chicken salad and pure sugar. Sugar is probably a better choice than chicken salad, as it won’t go bad nearly as quickly. You can give it to them in cube form, since they can carry more than their own weight, and will probably be grateful to make fewer trips.

  6. I was thinking sugar too, but shouldn’t we be concerned they aren’t getting enough protein in their diets? Maybe some artificial bacon bits would be good, aren’t they mostly soy-protein?

  7. Thanks to this topic I’ve been having vivid daydreams during work about the joys of incubating bot fly larvae. I keep imagining duct-taping a large slab of raw pork to my skin and having the little bugger craw up into it to breathe.

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