Well, it all depends on which side you’re fighting for…
Last weekend saw the release of the latest addition to the Marvel movie franchise – Ant-Man. This has encouraged many fans across to globe to take to the internet and discuss their thoughts, theories, hidden Easter Eggs which link it to the original comic book series and of course Marvel’s infamous post credit scenes, linking it to the Avengers series.
All this media attention around the latest superhero to hit the big screen got me thinking… Is Ant-Man a pest? He is based on an ant after all.
One first thought, being a supernatural superhero, Ant-Man is not a pest. Protecting the world and helping the human race conflicts with the views surrounding a pest. However, the inspiration behind this superhero is an ant.
However can the ant-like superpowers which Ant-Man possesses align him within the pest category?
Why are ants pests?
In order to discover if Ant-Man is a pest or not, we must first look into the reasons behind why ants are considered pests.
There are hundreds of different species of ant around the world. Much like termites, not all of them can be regarded as pests. It is the organic behaviour of some species causing a disturbance to man which makes ants a form of pest.
Finding ants in your house is usually the first sign of an ant problem, and is one of the main reasons behind them being considered as pests.
The most common species of ant is the garden ant. Although these creepy crawlies provides no real physical threat to humans, it’s their scavenger nature, along with their effect on agriculture, which makes them a pest. Garden ants will travel a large distance for food, especially items of a sweet smelling nature. Garden ants are usually the culprits you find in your home. Their sweet tooth guides them to invade kitchen cupboards and even agricultural settings for strawberries and other sweet fruits.
Fire ants are a major pest problem within both agricultural and urban settings. On top of the usual diet of sweet products, they also consume dead animals. However what really makes fire ants a pest is their powerful and painful sting.
A species more evident within America, carpenter ants differ from their cousins in terms of what makes them a pest. As their name suggests, carpenter ants love wood. But unlike termites, they do not feed off wood but use it to build their nests and live in. This requirement to live within wood is what makes them a pest, creating a substantial amount of damage to properties when constructing their homes.
How does this relate to Ant-Man?
For those of you who have seen the new Ant-Man movie, or even the multiple trailers which have made their way around the internet there are a few signals which point towards this pint-sized superhero being a pest.
One of the main attributes that define an animal and/or insect to be a pest is an opportunity to cause a disturbance to man. In some ways, Ant-Man does conform to this ideology (even though the disturbance he is causing is targeted towards people deemed ‘evil’).
Much like a fire ant’s potential to cause serious physical harm to a human, Ant-Man also possesses this ability. As seen in the trailer his superhuman strength allows him to inflict a great deal of pain towards his enemies. And much like fire ants, he attacks when he feels threatened and/or his home is in danger.
Does anyone happen to read our blog post about the Schmidt Pain Index? The most painful insect stings are that from a bullet ant. You can imagine, with his superhuman strength, get punched by Ant-Man is probably as painful, if not more than a bite from a bullet ant. Where do you think Ant-Man would rate on the Schmidt Pain Index?
As previously discussed, carpenter ants have the ability to cause a huge amount of damage to a property. In some ways, like most superheroes, Ant-Man is no different. Although he is protecting the world from evil, a side effect of this is buildings and homes suffer a good beating as well. Maybe he should be a little more careful when beating up bad guys as I don’t think home insurance covers superhero damage.
Is Ant-Man a Pest?
There are some strong indicators which point towards the idea of Ant-Man being a pest. However, at the end of the day, he is a superhero. His main goal is to protect the world. The pest attributes he has are only a resulting outcome of both his superpowers and his duties of being a hero.
You could argue that the evil he is battling are the pests – after all, his main nemesis is Yellow Jacket, and that Ant-Man is actually a pest controller. However, a good pest controller doesn’t inflict massive amounts of damage to the property they are trying to rid a pest from.
Ant-Man is based on an insect. The creators needed to include these well-known characteristics in order for people to connect with the character and make the association between the insect and superhero.
However this did get me thinking, in one way or another can’t we see all superheroes as pests? They all cause a disturbance to man in one way or another, ranging from introducing a large amount of pain to their enemies to accidentally destroying the city they are trying to protect. Anyone remember how Metropolis looked like at the end of the 2013 Man of Steel film?