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Device Podcast: Ants In ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ Versus Ants In Real Life

In this 2004 photo, Argentine ants, an aggressive pest species introduced by ...

Photo by Alex Wild

Above: In this 2004 photo, Argentine ants, an aggressive pest species introduced by human commerce to California, attack a native Pogonomyrmex harvester ant.

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In "The Poisonwood Bible," author Barbara Kingsolver takes us to 1950s Belgian Congo via the Prices, a missionary family. While this novel is great historical fiction, it’s embellished scientifical fiction when a horde of driver ants attack an African Village. David Holway from UC San Diego gives us the rundown on local ant species while Michael Wall from the San ... Read more →

Aired: July 3, 2019 |

This month, "Device," a KPBS Explore Project podcast, is delving into the world of entomology, or the study of bugs. Specifically ants as they appear in "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.

UC San Diego biologist David Holway gives us the rundown on local ants and the problem with introduced species, while entomologist Michael Wall from the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park highlights why insect diversity in our city deserves appreciation ⁠— something Kingsolver could have been better at.

"The Poisonwood Bible" is about the Price family from 1950s Georgia who are woefully under-prepared for their missionary trip to the Belgian Congo. While this novel is great historical fiction, it's embellished science fiction when a horde of driver ants attack an African Village.

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