The boys were studying an ant colony for their science project, and were here for the last few days. Over this time they had picked up ants, observed them, and then put them back. They also erased the scent ants left when they found food. This time they sent in a wire down the nest which had worker ants carrying food. The boys wrote in their book wrote, “We came upon some ants that did not work. We think that these were standby worker ants that waited to be called to work when the other worker ants were exhausted or dead.
There were stocking workers that stocked the food collected by the worker ants.” One of the boys was recording the ant carrying food on his camera. He later wrote, “The ant carried food in its mid-gut which it later exchanged with another ant, thus passing food.” They also saw ants pass on food like a baton in a relay race. The boys thought they needed more information to compete in the science fair.
‘The animal kingdom’ was the theme of the science fair, and the boys had chosen to study an ant colony, also how they are governed and controlled. One of the boys asked why they were studying ants considering that the science fair is about the animal kingdom. The other boys told him that he need not worry because they would do such a good job that the judges would accept whether it’s about animals or not.
They wanted to be the first to study the way the behavior of ants provide a balance in the environment and how energy is distributed, and their communication methods. This was to be the crux of their thesis which they wanted to present it to the university after the science fair. Their camera reached the queens chamber. However their camera was blocked by army ants outside the chamber. All they could hear was the little scratching sound on their microphone, the sound of the ants nibbling at the camera.
At the observation tower, two observer ants kept watch. They saw these boys the last three days. The boys were with their equipment.
‘They picked up Gill, Bill, and Jill the other day. Do you know how terrified they looked then?’ asked an observer ant to another.
‘I know. They shouted for those humans to let them go. It seems they used a magnifying glass on Gill. The refraction of the sun rays from the glass hit him and the heat almost burnt his butt’, said ant number 2.
‘I know. Terrific that. We ants never do that. We only bite and the formic acid does the rest.’
‘Right. How are Gill, Bill, and Jill now?’
‘They are still in the state of shock. Jill still thinks she is their captive. Besides the boys also rubbed off the scent of one of our food track. Many ants are MIA. They didn’t return home with the food they collected. The council has announced that they will wait for two more days. If they do not return we will declare them “KIA”.’
‘Someone better go find them?’
‘They have.’ The ant number 2 pointed at the boys dangling a camera above the ant hill. ‘Look they are at it again. The queen must be protected at all cost. We haven’t given up our entire secret’, and nudged observer ant 1 to pass information down to the queen chamber.
The observer ants had scouts keep an eye on the camera. When the camera was about to enter the queens chamber, the scouts informed the royal guards who blocked the queens chamber and attacked the camera.