• Question: I have been amazed to see ants emerging safely after being in a microwave ( usually after hitchiking a ride on my cup), how can they survive this?

    Asked by danrumford to Cat, Daz, Holly, Johnson, Pamela on 21 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Pamela Lithgow

      Pamela Lithgow answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi Danrumford,
      Did you have any ideas why this might be?
      I think it is because ants are so small, in a microwave the microwaves do not actually fill up the space the bounce around (or something like that) they are powerful and if there is something in their way, like your cup (with hot chocolate in I hope 🙂 ) the beam can heat it all up. But as an ant is so small it is unlikely to get in the way of the beam and if it gets close it moves.
      This is my guess for what is happening
      Maybe some of the other scientist know the answer
      Pam 🙂

    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi Dan,

      Well I’ll admit, I was shocked that they could survive so I did a bit of research and this is what I found:
      The ant can detect the areas of high and low heat being emitted by the microwave and can actually navigate between them! So a single ant, or even a few ants, can simply walk around between the
      waves of energy, making their way from one safe area to the next, and avoid getting zapped! I think it’s only work on a very small number of calm ants and if you throw a cup load of them in there and make them dash about in a panic, they’ll probably all die. But, PLEASE DON’T DO THIS!!!! Someone has to stand up for the poor ants 🙁

      Hope this helps 😀