News Flash: Ants Are Actually Better Farmers Than We Are

Here's a revelation that will give the words "ant farm" a whole new meaning: ants not only actually farm—they sow, weed, spray, and harvest huge gardens of fungi—but they do so with public health and safety standards that put our own to shame. According to Smithsonian entomologist Mark Moffett, if ants were in charge there would be no oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In an interview with Civil Eats, Moffett outlines what we can learn from our agriculturally gifted little friends:

The ants have evolved a much more serious understanding and ability to deal with environmental issues in their little scale than we have in ours.

The gardens are precisely regulated, their temperature, the humidity, any weedy things that enter in to their system are removed instantly, any diseases are micromanaged and they do things that might be impractical for us ... they put their gardens into hundreds of separate chambers so if any one of them has a problem they can cordon it off, and keep it separate from the rest of their society. Everything about their organization has a redundant fail safe to it.

Read the full story at Civil Eats.

Presented by

Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

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