Ants | Pismire Politics Plan World Domination

Ants Pismire College kids

Dear Kid,

Only the English language could come up with the word “pismire” which means ant, but literally means “peeing ant.” Who thinks of these things?

I was doing some planting yesterday when I unknowingly dug up a major entrance to an ant hill. Within seconds, there were enough picnic ants swarming around to keep an anteater family fed for many a day. As you know, I LOATHE wildlife in the house, but I don’t mind it nearly as much when it is in the Great Outdoors where it belongs.

There are ant species that have specialized soldier ants that use their heads to plug the entrances to their nests and keep intruders from gaining access. I’m fairly sure there are college students that do this as well. Personally, I think it would be easier to put out a sign that says “this colony protected by ADT” but as far as I can ascertain no ants have thought of this yet. Or maybe they’re just having difficulty teaching intruders to read.

I thought the ants swirling around were kind of interesting and I called Booker over to show him this wonderful natural phenomenon. He dutifully trotted over and looked for something to sniff. I showed him the ants. He kept looking for something interesting to sniff. Finally, he gave me a look that clearly said, “Puppies don’t care about ants. Just for the record, we don’t care about rocks either” and went back to sit in the sun.peter-anteater-university-of-irvine-college-mascot

The total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on Earth. This is because ants do not care whether they have paved roads, cell phone reception, or indoor plumbing and therefore live all sorts of places humans don’t particularly care for.

To the best of my knowledge there is no college or university with an ant for a mascot. The fighting ants! Go Pismires! Wave those antennae. I’m thinking not so much.

Update: Alert Reader Jennifer has now pointed out that the University of Irvine’s mascot is the anteater. Peter the Anteater. Another good reason not to have an ant as your mascot–especially if you’re in the same division…

Some ants form “supercolonies,” massive communities of ants that can stretch for thousands of miles. It’s possible they have learned to travel very quickly from one location to another (inside our house they travel practically at the speed of light—or more specifically at the speed of “someone get that ant!”).  It is therefore possible that in the ant biomass census, scientists counted the same ant multiple times.

I totally now have the heebie jeebies. Blech.

A little later the yellow-possibly-feral cat slinked slank slunk happened to pass by. This was much more interesting and—now on high alert—Booker went chasing after the cat. As Dad said, the only thing he actually caught was a glimpse of fleeing feline.

Just remember, kid—it is fine to go chasing after things you can’t possibly catch in life. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you can climb a tree if you’re a dog. (I just made that up. You may feel free to quote me.)

Love, Mom


  1. Thanks Jennifer for pointing out that the University of Irvine’s mascot is an anteater!

    • Not sure how I missed this post. However, I have no doubt that you will be thrilled to know that the mascot of the University of Richmond is the Spider.

      • Yet another reason Richmond is not my alma mater. (With apologies to all the wonderful spiders there.)


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