Feeds

iPod infestation almost dooms New Zealand

Small army on the march

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.