A Strange Hobby
Image: Best Worthy
For someone who didn’t understand the reason behind the madness, they might think a man pouring molten metal into an ant’s nest was a little crazy. There are definitely easier ways to kill an ant colony. However, when you see what the man digs up moments later, you will be shocked by the work of art hidden beneath the dirt.
The Viral Video
Pouring molten metal into ant hills first became popular when a 2003 video serviced on YouTube, titled “Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum.” While the video seemed ambiguous at first, it didn’t stop people from viewing and sharing it like wildfire.
Measuring the Mound
As the video begins, the unidentified man examines the ant hill and takes some measurements. Satisfied by what he’s found, he then begins to pour a silver liquid into the ant hill. What could it be?
The liquid in question was molten aluminum. What’s cool is as he pours the liquid metal you can see it spark and sometimes catch flame. After the contents of the container is fully emptied into the mound, the man steps back and waits.
The Mound Begins to Move
As the man waits, steam pours from the ant hill. There is no sign of any life, the ants now entombed in their aluminum prison. As the aluminum seeps deep into the ground, the mound moves and shakes, as if its come to life. Who knows what the outcome of this experiment will actually be?
Time to Start Digging
After the metal has had an adequate amount of time to cool, the man begins to dig. As the shovel gets deeper into the dirt, a strange object begins to appear. It’s the nest! Now filled with the metal that he poured down it moments earlier.
Washing Away Debris
After freeing the nest from the dirt, the man next begins to hose off the construction with water. As the debris begins to wash away, the intricate detail of the nest begins to take shape. It’s impressive to say the least!
The Art of Business
The video, which has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, was posted by user Ant hill Art. Come to find out, he spends time casting these colonies in aluminum and then selling them at auctions and on eBay. Pretty cool, right?
The Nests are Intricate and Detailed
One of the interesting facts about ants is they are very complex creatures and their nests are intricate mazes that connect the deeper they tunnel underground. Many of these pathways lead to chambers that the worker ants must maintain on a daily basis.
The Perfect Mold
This is why when the molten aluminum is poured into the nests, it creates such a detailed work of art. Basically, as the molten metal fills the tunnels and chambers, the artist is left with a perfect mold of the structure of the ant hill. We are completely blown away, aren’t you?
Unique Works of Art
Another neat fact about ant hills is that no two are alike. Every colony builds their nest according to their queen’s demands and it also depends on how many ants live in the colony as well. The artist who made the 2003 video, found the nest he uncovered was 18 pounds and measured almost 18 inches in height.
94 Million Views and Counting
You won’t believe how this aluminum ant hill captured the attention of millions around the globe. When the video first made its debut in 2003, there were just over 7 million views. Now, there are over 94 million. It seems ant hills are an interesting subject for people.
A Small Controversy
However, we have to mention that not everyone enjoyed the process in which the man makes his art. Some called out the cruelty of the video, due to the fact the ants were present when the aluminum was poured in. This would have killed all of the ants instantly.
Outrage Over Ant Cruelty
One viewer was so angry, they left the following comment: “Your video and art made me first sick to my stomach and then made me so angry. How can you call yourself an artist? Is murder an art?”
More Anger Against Ant Art
The viewer continued their tirade on the artist’s Facebook page. They accused the man of never growing out of his childish need to kill animals. The artist was also put on blast for destroying months of work the ants had done to create such beautiful colonies.
Animal Cruelty Accusations
Unfortunately for the artist, quite a few other people agreed with their fellow user’s assessments. They called him cruel for killing thousands of creatures in the name of “art” and believed the act was inhumane. Who knew there would be such a passionate outcry for the lives of ants?
Fire Ant Excuses
Image: Modern Pest
With the outcry reaching feverish heights, the artist finally came forward to defend himself. He explained that he targeted fire ant colonies due to the fact they give horrible bites and local authorities are trying to get rid of them. Therefore, his art was actually doing the area a service.
Abandoned Nests are Hard to Find
The artist followed up his explanation with this, “I try to find abandoned nests but it doesn’t always work out. Either way, I do it sparingly and the property is still overrun with them.”
Another Professional’s Opinion
One ant expert from the insect conservation organization BugLife had this to say regarding the artists peculiar antics. “If the nest is empty, we would support this casting as it raises awareness to the fantastic architectural prowess of ants,” he said. “However, if the ants are still present it is an extremely cruel way to kill them, of which we disapprove as they are effectively boiled alive.”
Business is Booming
Regardless of the criticism, the artist shows no sign of stopping his unique business. Despite what people may think, he believes he highlights the beauty of ant colonies and each piece is not only beautiful, but educational. What do you think?