I have noticed numerous times that fuse boxes and electrical extension cords with bad insulation seem to attract ants. Are ants really attracted to electricity, and if so, why?

We don't know about all ants, but fire ants in particular are attracted to electrical fields, for reasons not yet understood. Research is ongoing, because the ants do a great deal of damage, but nothing has yet been devised to stop them. One device, purported to zap the ants with electricity, was found to be used by them as a nest!

Last 7 Days

What is the difference between jelly, jam, and preserves?

Jelly is a mixture of fruit juice and sugar and is clear and firm enough to hold its shape. Jam is made from crushed or chopped fruit and is softer than jelly. Preserves are made of small, whole fruits or larger pieces of fruits in a clear, thick syrup.

Do bumblebees sting?

Yes, they do. Although their stings are painful and they aggressively defend their nests, they pose less of a threat to humans than honeybees because they form smaller nests. Bumblebee stings may become more common, however, now that bumblebee colonies are being used for crop pollination.

How many trees does it take to make a cord of wood?

Well, that depends, of course, on the size of the trees. Here are some examples: It would take 50 trees 4 inches in diameter, 10 trees 8 inches in diameter, or 3 trees 14 inches in diameter to make a cord of wood.

Who invented toothpaste?

The development of toothpaste began as long ago as 3000 to 5000 B.C. in ancient China and India. According to Chinese history, a learned man, Huang-Ti, studied the care of teeth and claimed different types of pain felt in the mouth could be cured by sticking gold and silver needles into different parts of the jaw and gum. This and other theories led to the development of dental cream. During the years 3000 to 5000 B.C., Egyptians made toothpaste using a recipe of powdered ashes of oxen hooves, myrrh, powdered and burned egg shells, and pumice. Directions were given that all should be mixed together, but there were no specific instructions as to how the powder should be used.

Do female Florida alligators make the same loud roar as males do?

The loud roar of the Florida alligator (more appropriately called the American alligator) is part of the male's mating behavior and apparently not done by females. Both sexes do, however, hiss at enemies and each other. The female is most likely to be dangerous to humans when she is guarding a nest of eggs.

Did Niagara Falls ever stop flowing?

Yes! On March 29, 1848, Niagara Falls ran dry. A South-West gale blowing off of Lake Erie caused ice to jam and dam up at the mouth of the Niagara River causing the water flow over the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls to be reduced to a trickle. On the morning of March 30, 1848, the river flow returned to its normal rate.

When did the first automated teller machines (ATMs) come into use in the United States and Canada?

The first ATM was installed in 1969 by Chemical Bank at its branch in Rockville Centre, New York.

Subscribe to Question of the Day