Our latest theory is that the ants have colonized the ground beef. One small step for ant, one giant leap for ant kind.
They also appear to finally have taken an interest in the bacon.
Yesterday, Ms. Mellymel pondered whether the cold weather is inhibiting maggot implantation. I had been wondering the same thing, so I decided to make an inquiry at The Insect Question Page:
Hi, this is a rather odd question: I need to know if flies in the Massachusetts area will still be around to lay eggs on a meat specimen left outdoors in early November. This specimen is a compilation of beef, chicken, pork and cat food. These meats are uncooked and are being kept moist. At this point our specimen has been left unrefrigerated for 12 days. Thank you!In less than an hour, I received a response from Doug Yanega, Dept. of Entomology at the University of California:
Yes, I rather suspect that flies will still be alive and well and active - as long as the weather is suitable on any given day...generally, flies will not be killed until there is a hard freeze. The problem is that their behavior and activity levels will be quite atypical...I'd be very surprised if the results you get running your experiment now would be similar to the results if you had started one month or more ago... Good luck!He didn't seem the least bit confounded by my experimental methods. I wonder he's a Stinkymeat fan in hiding...
So the flies are still out there! That's great news! The problem is that the ants appear to have exiled any flies that may have been present. Like bouncers at some exclusive insect night club. Either that, or perhaps the flies did lay eggs, but the resulting maggots have since been devoured by the ants. I can see why--they looked so juicy and nutritious in the original Stinkymeat experiment. Don't knock it till you try it.
Seriously though, at this point I would recommend eating maggots over eating this meat. For those who may disagree, I would like to point out that the meat has been sitting outside for four days now, and no animal has dared to touch it.
One thing we've been noticing over the past few days: the area of the plate being overrun by ants is becoming increasingly... sandy. Or at least we think it's sand. The ground beef especially, with its many cracks and crevices, seems to be holding a lot of these white grains. One may at first point to the wind as a likely culprit, but the plate is in a fairly shielded location. Besides: the chicken, pork, and cat food have been affected very little by phenomenon. We have concluded that the ants are carrying the sand over in an attempt to to give the plate a homely decor.
The meat isn't smelling as consistently awful as when it was left to stew in its previous stink tank. Don't get me wrong--I think God would condemn us to an eternity in hell if we put the plate back into someone's ceiling at this point. Nonetheless, it's just not as bad out here. I suppose the wind is shifting the smell to and fro while we visually document the progress of the experiment, because I have definitely caught some foul, foul odors in my olfactory nerves while moistening the meat.
It's incredible how much rotting potential the meat still has. Almost every item is still basically intact. Even the ground beef seems to be withstanding the ants' assault with surprising fortitude. Perhaps it's about time we start poking around a bit...
Continue to Day 14