Nothing says summer like ants. They’re at your picnics, on your porch, why there’s one crawling up your leg right now. Well, now it’s your chance to turn the tables, picnic and otherwise, on these summertime pests. Because researchers at North Carolina State University want your ants—for science.
The project, on the web at schoolofants.org, is calling on teachers, students and citizen-scientists of all ages to help catalog the kinds of ants that live in urban areas: at your school, where you work or outside your front door.
They supply a collection kit that comes with nine vials pre-loaded with cookie crumbs. Just plop a few vials on the lawn and some on the sidewalk, wait an hour, and then ship your samples back to the scientists. They’ll identify the ants and load the data onto an interactive online map where you can see your specimens and check out the biodiversity in your backyard.
You could turn up a something special, like the elusive Bigfoot Ant, North America’s rarest ant species. Or be the first to find a common species unknown in your area. Either way, the ants you mail off will never crawl up your leg again.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]