Feeds

iPod infestation almost dooms New Zealand

Small army on the march

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The iPod's global popularity has been revealed as an agent of environmental destruction in which the entire country of New Zealand was only saved by a quick-thinking owner and his freezer cabinet.

A report on the Pestnet discussion forum, where people in the Pacific region gather to discuss, well, pests, reveals that an innocent Kiwi returning from Fiji to New Zealand bought an iPod in a duty-free zone at the homebound airport. What he didn't know until he got home was that the packaging was infested with Monomorium destructor, aka Singapore ants.

The trouble with M. destructor is that besides being a stinging ant (though not particularly dangerous to humans), it's also a serious pest because it builds large colonies in homes and other buildings. The worker ants prey on other insects and can chew holes in fabrics, plastics and rubber goods, including the insulation of telephone or electrical wires. "We're talking bad dude ants here," commented Adam C. Engst of tidbits.com, who first spotted the story. (See more about these evil things here - there's also a photo in case one tries to mug you).

New Zealand, by contrast, is a country whose economy relies on making food and commodities, and so has very, very tight rules to prevent non-indigenous species being imported by whatever means. (Its airports' sniffer dogs are more concerned with searching for food and fruit than drugs.)

When the (unnamed) owner of the iPod discovered the product's packaging seemed too lively, he got in touch with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which hit on a scheme that would kill the ants yet, with luck, not the iPod: put them in the freezer overnight. The low temperatures would kill them. The iPod - and this is where you get the "aah, happy ending" bit - did indeed work afterwards (as the iPod can survive the -20C of a freezer, while ants can't).

So with disaster averted, the only remaining question is: where did the ants get into the packaging? Any iPod buyer knows they come shrink-wrapped, so either the ants chewed through the plastic in the airport in Fiji, or got on board before the shrink-wrap came on, during manufacture in the Far East. We got in touch with Bob Macfarlane, of New Zealand's MAF, who posted the information to Pestnet, but he said there were no further details.

But on reflection, it might provide an alternative explanation to what's got into those iPod dancers... were they filmed in Fiji?

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.