That's the question a group of scientists are asking after observing a particular colony of ants "working their little asses off" day after day just outside their offices next to the main sidewalk.
Dr. Jeff Dunkirk, lead entomologist in the new study, acknowledged a lifelong fascination with ants in particular. "Well, you know it all started with an ant farm kit I received for my birthday when I was 6 years old. I've been hooked ever since."
Specializing in myrmecology, Dr. Dunkirk has studied various species of ants the world over. From the parched semi-arid plains of Texas, to moist exotic places such as the Amazon Rainforest. However, one colony of ants has captured the researcher's imagination like none before: the one just outside his office.
"I guess it's because I'm confronted with them everyday," Dunkirk noted. "In fact, to be honest, we can't seem to get rid of the little bastards either," the Dr. continued. "We've tried poisoning them. We've lit the mound up with gasoline -- shoot, we've even stuffed firecrackers down their goddamn hole on the 4th of July, but nothing seems to work."
After visiting the research offices of Dunkirk and Associates, one senses the frustration of the researchers involved in the project. "See there, that's where the mound used to be," he informed pointing down towards the charred and cratered remains next to the sidewalk. "Now, see there? That's where the little bastards have moved -- 10 feet away!"
Sure enough, 10 feet away, but still next to the sidewalk, existed a busy mound of ants scurrying in and out their newly created hole as if unfazed by the researchers' recent assaults.
"We just want to know why," the Dr. explained. "Why must they persist like this? Why must they insist on setting up shop here, right here -- why not the alley, or some place else, like, over there?" he demanded while pointing towards Mike's Muffler Service.
For now, the answer remains elusive. Yet, perhaps with some persistence, the team headed by Dr. Dunkirk will eventually discover how to turn the ants' underlying "stubborn gene" to the off position. As the Dr. has pointed out, "it is not about the money. Really, it isn't."
We believe him.