Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick.

Ant Farm Keyboards are not an effective means of pest control.

Well, of course a story with “zombie ants” in the headline is going to attract us. And of course the details of interspecies insect carnage are going to gross us out. But here’s the thing: We can’t help reading it.

Nor can we help sharing it. Please — please — swallow your coffee before continuing. And if you know Sam Raimi’s number, dish.

Ready? We’re serious: Are you ready to have any and all proximate meals ruined? Okay, then. Strap in!

So here’s the problem: America is being invaded by a Red Menace — fire ants. Not only are ants socialists by nature, fire ants in particular are impervious to traditional means of eradication, usually involving homeschooling and Baptist preachers.

But professional exorcists at UT Austin and Texas A&M have discovered a new ally in the holy war against Satan’s picnic bummers: tiny phorid flies from South America.

Here’s how it wor— you have swallowed, right? Okay, here’s how it works:

The flies “dive-bomb” the fire ants and lay eggs. The maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away at the brain…

The maggot eventually migrates into the ant’s head… There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly…

About a month after the egg is laid, the ant’s head falls off and the fly emerges ready to attack…

Just so we’re clear: maggots hatch inside you and eat your brains, leaving you to wander aimlessly until your head falls off.

Which, come to think of it, explains the current state of the Republican Party.

Parasitic flies turn fire ants into zombies [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

This explains the two days I just spent with our legislators in Sacramento.

Only a matter of time before this goes cross-species, too. I’m going back to bed.

Anyone who has been bitten by a fire ant will feel nothing and probably be cheered by this story.

This might be what’s afflicting the GOP, but don’t you need to actually have a brain in the first place?

I like ants. No, I admire them. Elegant and industrious, they get a bad rap for the most part.

The ichneuman fly does a similar thing. I know that because I had a speech about it in a play once. I was playing Darwin. It was a comedy. I had to smoke dope. I wore a hawaiian shirt. I was awesome.

Oh wait, are we talking about me?

One of the things I disliked about living in Austin was that any attempt to lounge on the grass outdoors was immediately met with serious grievances on the part of the fire ants. Which reminds me of my pope-related partial TJ yesterday: I remember when JPII was gonna go a-massin’ in San Antonio, they had to clear a huge field not of olive trees, but fire ants.

So, bring on the zombie flies. I mean really, what could go wrong?

Glad to see there’s something that can bring the Aggies together with the Longhorns.

@Benedick: There’s a big difference between ants and Texas fire ants. These suckers can and have killed livestock, dogs, cats, and babies. They are pure evil. They must be zombified.

@Nabisco: Around the same time as El Papa’s visit to the Alamo, there were torrential thunderstorms and flooding in the Hill Country. [Hmm.] Anyway, all the lakes and rivers were filled to the max – Canyon Lake actually went over the spillway into the Comal River. Sadly, a bunch of kids going to camp had their bus washed away. But related to fireants – naturally, my family went up to Canyon Lake to gawk at the flooding because it was cheap entertainment. I saw these things that looked like giant balls of leaves and bark. We went out on a partially damaged pier to look closer. They were giant balls of FIRE ANTS. The ones on the bottom were dead, naturally, but they had somehow formed themselves into a spherical shape where the alive fire ants were swarming on top of the floating carcasses into these balls of writhing fire ants, anywhere from eight inches to two feet in diameter. It’s one of the grossest fucking things I’ve ever seen, it gives me itchy chills just thinking about it.

@Dodgerblue: Ugh. Today is my turn to endure Excremento…

If the phorid flies make the dietary leap from fire ant brains to human brains the flies will be extinct in no time. Reading this right after watching “The World According to Monsanto” makes me think our brains disappeared years ago.

Good riddance (though Nabisco’s prescience is duly noted).

@Benedick: Darling, of course. It’s all about you.

@ManchuCandidate: Yeah. My only response to that story was “cool!”

@Mistress Cynica: Thanks for that. I got confused for a moment.

@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket: Wait your turn.

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