Fire Ants vs. Giant Spiders

I noticed the next morning, the fire ants
had been busy cutting out their own path of resistance. The fluon barriers I had placed to ensure
the ants remained secure inside the Selva de Fuego had weak spots. Over night, the ants had figured out that
the corners were easier to cling on to despite the fluon barrier. Oh no! So far, it looked like they hadn’t yet figured
a way to cross the upside down lip. But that’s not all! What I spotted next, caused me great concern. The rains overnight had naturally cued some
guests to emerge from the nests, and there seen on one of the frog bit islands were full
grown male and female alates. We didn’t have the time I thought we had to
prepare. The fire ants were now starting to have mating
flights! What was going to do keep all these fire ants
inside? It was then that a tiny movement in the corner
caught my eye. A tiny spider was lassoing some of the ants
that managed to get too close. At first, I asked myself, how on Earth did
a spider get in here? It must have come in with the plants. But what was more important, was that it was
at that very moment, that a crazy idea came to me, which would offer a great solution
to both my fire ant escape problems. Oh boy, this was about to get interesting. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! So AC Family, I know a lot of you out there
are arachnophobic as it is a very common phobia, but if you’ve read the comments on some of
the other videos of this channel, so many AC Family have expressed that these ant nature
videos helped them overcome their fear of ants, so if they can do it, so can you arachnophobes. If you are one of these arachnophobic people,
while watching this video, do take deep breaths in and out, feel free to press pause whenever
you need to, and grab someone’s arm to watch with you, especially at the ending, because
if you can get over the rather intense scene at the ending of this video, you can say that
you have officially conquered your spider fears. Now about the escaping ants, I know many of
you have mentioned, why not just add a mesh cover to the Selva de Fuego to keep the ants
in? Valid question, but the answer to this is
I can’t add a cover because these ants are small enough to fit through the space between
the glass edge and any cover I put on, and if I were to add some kind of sandwiched insulation
layer to block that space between where the cover meets the glass, the ants would be able
to chew through it and eventually get out. Plus, even with a tight fitting cover, what
about when I have to feed the ants, or do water changes and maintain the river? As soon as I would open that bad boy, the
ants would be ready to break loose. Basically, a cover was not an option, and
a barrier was the answer, even if it had to be a biological barrier. So AC Family, over the years a lot of you
have been asking and waiting for an episode like this, but never had I imagined I would
be in a situation that necessitated the meeting of two of my favourite invertebrates on the
planet in a single enclosure. But today, we were going to attempt the unimaginable. Spiders and ants couldn’t be any more different. Ants are insects, with six legs, they’re social
in nature living in huge groups, and they live in soil. Spiders are arachnids, with 8 legs, most species
of which live in solitude, in webs that they spin. For ants like these fire ants, a colony you
guys named the Fire Nation, their venom is injected from their stingers. Spiders inject their venom from fangs. Both fire ants and spiders however are notoriously
hated and feared by the world, and revered and loved by critter-lovers like us. Today, I needed a safe and ethical way, a
natural way, to keep my fire ants that have surprisingly managed to pass my barrier of
fluon in their newly created rainforest setup called the Selva de Fuego, from escaping into
my home. But it wasn’t only the crawling ants that
I had to worry about; it was also the flying ones. The Fire Nation’s army of reproductives called
alates, young queens and males produced by the main queen every mating season, were growing
in numbers now, ready to start their annual mating flights, to seed the next generation
of fire ants. I was surprised to discover last week that
the Selva de Fuego’s lush, humid, and rainy climate was the cue these reproductives were
waiting for to start these massive aerial breeding sessions. But I wasn’t going to let these fire ant nuptial
flights nor escapes happen. I was determined to use some special eight-armed
forces. My plan today was to release a team of hungry
spiders into the Selva de Fuego to hopefully serve as natural assassins of escaping ants
as well as air control for these flying reproductive ants! The plan was totally crazy, but at this point
I was willing to try anything. It was too late now to move the Fire Nation
back into their old setup. We needed our team of spiders now. So I waited for the dark of night to befall
the Selva de Fuego. Our aquatic creatures were retiring for their
slumber. Our wedded pair of ram cichlids, whom you
guys have officially named Romeo and Juliet, were snuggling with each other lovingly under
the moonlight. Our cleaning team of Corydoras catfish were
fast asleep. The Fire Nation’s night shift workers were
busy going about their various tasks around the kingdom. But what the Selva de Fuegans didn’t know
was that above them, awaited secret teams of skilled beasts preparing for what we will
call Operation: FEAR… Flying & Escaping Ant Regulation. Behold! Our eight-armed forces for the job. AC Family, here I have prepared two teams. Meet Team A, a group of four Neoscona punctigera,
orb weaver spiders. This was a stout team of female assassins
who create impressive orb webs in jungles, which are super effective at capturing prey. They were a perfect size because they were
not too big which meant they might be able to safely touch Selva de Fuego soils without
being noticed in case they need to secure webbing from ground attachments. They wore camo and could blend in perfectly
with any branch, leaf, or rock. Next, AC Family, I’d like you to meet Team
B, the brawn and muscle of our Operation. In the event of Team A failure, meaning death
at the mandibles and stings of the aggressive Fire Nation, or abandonment, or even death
by each other, the plan was to then send in these spiders of Team B. They were also orb
weavers, belonging to the widespread genus Argiope. Unlike the spiders of Team A, these ladies
were giants! And unlike Team A there was nothing discreet
about them. Shiny silver and yellow patterns adorned their
backs, designed to reflect sunlight to attract insects into their grand orb webs. They were scary-looking, except maybe this
one. It seems this spider came to me in the middle
of shedding and had hardened in a very distorted manner. The poor thing. I’m not too sure what I will do with her. All eight of these spiders, by the way were
recruits sent to me by local children here in the Philippines were I currently live. You see a long time popular activity for Filipino
kids for decades has been spider fighting, something my dad told me about as a kid, where
kids would go out and catch these spiders from the forests and keep them in match boxes
until they were ready to be put up against each other on sticks, to fight to the death,
sometimes betting money. These spiders hopefully won’t be killing each
other, though. I hope they will be preoccupied with picking
off the ants. There were however so many uncontrollable
variables I could foresee with Operation: FEAR. First, there was no way to control where the
spiders would build their webs. As a kid growing up in Canada, I used to release
an orb weaver spider at my window sill indoors and they would obediently build a web right
there on my window by morning, where I continued to feed them until they died by Fall. My hope was that if I released four of these
orb weaver spiders into the Selva de Fuego at all four corners of the territories, they
would each build their web on location, and take care of ants escaping at these corners. This was the best case scenario! Second, there was no way to tell if their
webs would be effective at catching all flying reproductive ants or even escaping ants. Third, nothing stopped the spiders from simply
crawling out of the Selva de Fuego and wandering off somewhere in my ant room or even out a
window. Fourth, I had no idea if these spiders would
be able to survive the wrath and blood-thirst of the Fire Nation. In fact, nothing has ever been able to survive
the Fire Nation. In other words, AC Family, this entire thing
was 100% experimental and unpredictable. But, again, I was willing to try it! Here we go. It’s time to release our four members of Team
A at their individual posts within the Selva de Fuego, but first we needed to give the
spiders a leading advantage at the space. We couldn’t have the spiders attempt web building
while fire ants were all around, so I reinforced the corners with baby powder mixed with alcohol
barrier, to keep the ants temporarily off so the spiders could web build undistracted
and in peace. Next, I prepared wire clips from which each
spider’s container would hang. Here we go, AC Family 1 -2 – 3! releasing
our first spider, and then our second. Third, and fourth. AC Family, let’s watch! The spiders immediately emerged from their
containers and began to wander the premise. This spider felt the need to release its built
up feces before embarking on its journey to who knows where. I watched as it came close to a nearby spider
but took another route above it, accessing our rain system. Another spider stationed herself in a discreet
spot along the edge of the tank, where fire ants came dangerously close but didn’t seem
to notice. This spider decided to hang out and clean
itself. Look at that webbing! Can we marvel at this creature for a second. Take a look at her. I find it just incredible that evolution has
created such an animal, living exclusively on webbing produced by spinnerets on the tip
of its abdomen. Spider webs start off as a liquid and solidifies
into a sticky substance when in contact with air. What’s amazing is that this spider can control
the types of silk webbing produced, depending on what the webbing is for. In this case, it’s a life line to hang from. Webbing used for wrapping prey is different
from the webbing used to build webs, which is different still from life line webbing,
like this spider’s here… woops! AC Family, get this! Spiders can create up to seven different types
of silk for different uses, including webbing for pheromonal trails, reproduction where
some spiders create sperm webs, prey immobilization where some spiders squirt and mix their venom
with their silk, guideline webbing to help spiders find their way back to a previous
location, and this awesome thing called ballooning where spiders will use their silk to catch
winds to actually fly them to other locations! Yes, many spiders can fly. Isn’t it mind-blowing to think about how evolution
has produced such a creature? Many ants also produce silk, not these fire
ants of the Fire Nation, but ants that create cocoons, like our Golden Empire, or that build
silk-glued leaf nests like the Black Dragons, but ant silk is nowhere near as versatile
as that of spiders. Humans are studying the chemical make up of
spider silk to better understand how we can improve human items like bullet proof vests. Anyway, this spider eventually went on to
join this stationed spider on the risky edge, to sleep soundly for the rest of the night. It seemed like these spiders were not too
aggressive to each other. The other two spiders kind of just chilled
and cleaned themselves all night, and seemed unphased when the rains came rolling in. I actually tried to stay up all night to watch
the spiders in hopes to film them building their orb webs, but I ended up falling asleep
on the floor. When I woke up, I instantly jumped to check
the Selva de Fuego to see if the spiders had built webs. To my dismay, there were no webs. I saw spider one, two, three, and spider four
was nowhere to be found… oh, never mind. There she is. She didn’t survive the night. Oh boy! This all was going to be tougher than I thought. Later that day, another spider went missing. She must have fallen prey to the Fire Nation,
as well. That afternoon, I decided it was time to send
in Team B. I summoned Team B’s most promising members, and placed them into the Selva de
Fuego. These spiders were absolute giants! I loved watching them for hours as they moved
around the top of the Selva de Fuego. The one thing I did notice though was that
they spent a lot of time, and I mean a lot of time, cleaning themselves. I had no idea spiders were such germaphobes! By night, I saw something really interesting. Check this out. It seemed one of the Team B spiders had set
up the framework for an orb web, but it seemed to be bouncing back and forth. When I looked down to where it had attached
its support line, there was a member of the Fire Nation trying to climb up the web to
get to the spider! You see how fearless the Fire Nation is? Man! Anyway, the spider seemed to be trying to
shake the fire ant off so it could continue with web-building. I was looking forward to finally seeing some
webs by morning. Morning came, and checking the Selva de Fuego,
I saw no webs, again. In fact, I saw no spiders at all, the only
place I did see webbing was outside my window! One of them had managed to find its way out
of my ant room. This unlucky streak continued when I tried
to release our third member of Team B, which I found later under a huge pile of Fire Nation
workers, and well, this deformed Team B member couldn’t even move properly, so I let it go. AC Family, this was the failure of Operation:
F.E.A.R. I felt terrible at all the arachnid lives
we had lost while trying, and what was worse: The Fire Nation had now found a way to cross
the upside down lip. The fire ants were now successful at officially
find their way out of the Selva de Fuego, and I had no way of stopping them now! I had placed a pane of glass I had laying
around, as a last resort at keeping them in, but I knew it would be no use. Soon these free ants would be going back to
the colony to tell them all about this new way out. I panicked and felt defeated. I couldn’t imagine the Fire Nation breaking
loose in my room! And then the unthinkable came to mind. Was I going to have to resort to exterminating
the Fire Nation myself with spray? No! Suddenly, clarity. It was then that I knew what to do, or rather
whom to visit. AC Family, who you’re about to meet now, is
someone absolutely legendary, someone none of you have ever met before, but whom I’ve
known since the beginning of time, well ant time anyway. In watching these ant videos, you’ve all come
to know the queens of this ant room, of our Antiverse, but what you guys don’t know, is
that before the Antiverse ever came to be, there existed the one, a goddess who ruled
this plane of existence. Actually, I’m surprised none of you ever asked
about what lay next to the Fire Nation, what laid beneath the Fire Palace. AC Family, it was time to visit, the goddess
of the Antiverse, who is surprisingly not even an ant. No, the goddess of the ant room is a spider. I approached the goddess’ lair with reverence
and caution. Opening the glass, and AC Family, brace yourselves,
as I present to you, in her splendid divinity, Imelda, the bird-eater tarantula, goddess
of the Antiverse. She has an 8 inch legspan and is a true behemoth. Just do as I say, AC Family and we will be
safe. No sudden movements. Every time I enter this sacred lair of Imelda,
I make sure to always show great respect and reverence in her presence, lest I lose my
fingers. Her water bowl, which I always make sure is
topped off and full, needed some cleaning. She telepathically commanded me now to make
it clean. As you wish, my goddess. I took a deep breath and with my hand slowly
made my way to her water bowl. Got it. Removing the bowl to wash it free of its stains. The next requirement of me was a peace offering
of some sort. I was not allowed to enter her lair without
bearing a gift, fit for a goddess. She waited patiently. I came with the fattest, most delectable cockroach
from my cockroach farm to offer as my appeasing sacrifice to goddess Imelda. I had hoped this gift would suffice. She always loved to eat the male roaches. I approached slowly and deliberately to give
her the cockroach. Oh man! Alright, it seems she’s not hungry at the
moment. I had fed her a few days ago, so I guess she
was still content food-wise. She’ll be eating our gift later, but the good
news is we had her blessing to remain here for a short time. So now, the reason I came here. I needed Imelda’s silk. Tarantulas like Imelda here cover their entire
living space with a thick carpet of silk. On some nights, I will catch Imelda meticulously
going over this entire terrarium with a fresh layer of silk. She blankets the decor, the ground, and even
the glass with this divine mattress. In fact, she refuses to dig tunnels like most
tarantulas and demands that she be kept in a big space like this to treat the entire
space as her cathedral of silk. I’ve kept her in different setups before in
the past, over the years, but she has shown me that she is most comfortable living in
this huge palace of webbing. The reason tarantulas lay down these carpets
of webbing, especially during feeding time is because in their natural habitat ants are
common nuisance, including fire ants. Imelda is also a South American species, and
the smell of feeding time easily attracts a barrage of various ants to her den. This silk makes it hard for ants to invade
and enter her territory, and I was in need of this godly material. I proceeded to harvest this webbing, and using
some glue, I attached it to the corners of the Selva de Fuego. And wanna hear something absolutely crazy? It worked. To my utter surprise, the Fire Ant escapes
stopped. The webbing made it hard for the fire ants
to cross! I couldn’t believe it worked! I resolved to continually harvest sections
of Imelda’s silk and attach it to the corners of the Fire Nation’s kingdom to ensure there
were no escaped ants. Now as for the flying reproductives, another
idea also came to me. Who needed teams of spiders when I had the
best teams for biological control – the ant colonies of the entire Antiverse. So my solution? Black lights set on at night to attract the
flying alates into the adjacent kingdoms of our other ants who would then proceed to have
a feast. I was completely elated that we found a solution
to our fire ant escape problems. It could have been so easy to resort to some
kind of chemical warfare to combat the Fire Nation, but deep inside, I just knew Mother
Nature had an eco-friendly solution to my problems somewhere. I just had to figure it out, and today I felt
as though I had cracked a grand code to a Mother Nature’s rubix cube! And as if Mother Nature was giving us a pat
on the back for all the great work, in the night I spotted something that filled my heart
with such joy and amazement. Romeo and Juliet, were engaging in the ancient
dance performed by ancestors millions of years before them. AC Family, they were spawning… It was absolutely beautiful to witness, and
also assuring because from my research, Ram Cichlids will mate when water conditions are
just perfect! AC Family, brace yourselves, it looks like
we were about to be witnesses to the great miracle of life. AC Family, things are looking bright for the
future of the Selva de Fuego, but honestly speaking next week’s episode was one of the
toughest episodes emotionally I’ve ever had to film on this channel. You will not expect what’s coming up, and
I most certainly didn’t! So trust me on this guys, you won’t want to
miss it, so hit that SUBSCRIBE button and bell icon now so you don’t miss out on this
epic ant story, and hit the LIKE button every single time, including now. AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, for more on the giant spiders in this video. They are just fascinating and awe-inspiring,
and will always be one of my favourite creatures on the planet! Also, I’d like to plug my daily vlogging channel. I upload daily vlogs of my travels around
the world and this particular vlog here is a complete vlog of how I built the Selva de
Fuego from scratch. Go check it out, and don’t forget to subscribe
while you’re there. Alright and now it’s time for the AC Question
of the Week! Last week, we asked: Why does the Fire Nation queen take her time
when moving out of an old nest and into a new one? Congratulations to Kyler Bentley who correctly
answered: The Fire Nation queen takes her time when
moving out into a new nest because she needs to make
sure she knows whether or not the new habitat is
safe. Congratulations Kyler, you just won a free
ant t-shirt from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: Name three things spiders
use their silk webbing for. Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free e-book handbook from our shop. Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

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