Despite being a largely failed gaming handheld, there are still millions of PlayStation Vitas out there in the world. Many are collecting dust. Some are waiting to be sold to new buyers who have yet to discover the niche beauty of one of Sony’s wilder hardware experiments from the previous decade. And at least one has been completely overrun by an entire freaking ant colony.
“Today I found out that my PS Vita became a colony for ants to store their eggs,” wrote user mutdualeo in a recent Reddit post (thanks Sports Illustrated) that sounded like Gandalf describing drums in the deep during the fall of Moria. “They crawl out from every corner (speaker, charging ports,etc.) which is terrifying. I’m afraid [they’re] gonna bite some components in the Vita.”
The handheld owner asked fellow PS Vita fans if they had any “experience in repelling ants from electronic devices.” The device had been sitting on a bookcase shelf for a couple of weeks unattended. At one point, mutdualeo started to notice a few ants in the room, and then a few more, before eventually deciding to follow them. But they weren’t leaving the house. They were going home to the Vita.
Mutdualeo even included video footage of the hundreds of little black flecks scampering across the device’s intricate wires and circuit boards. “Please help me,” they wrote. “Killing it will be my last resort because they still have eggs inside.” We’ve been here before with PlayStation 4s and roaches, but this was an entire society of bugs taking over.
The reactions started flooding in. “This is horrifying,” wrote one person. “A true Hellscape,” wrote another. Honest advice quickly followed. “Maybe try some compressed air, take it outside and blast them,” read one suggestion. “Zip lock bag then put it in the freezer for a while,” went another. “REMOVE THE BATTERY FIRST!” a commenter urgently clarified.
But mutdualeo didn’t want to kill the colony, so more research was needed. One commenter, AholeBrock, said this happened to their girlfriend’s Macbook when a bunch of juice spilled on it. Maybe the ants would naturally tire of the Vita after a few days? But mutdualeo clarified no spillage was involved, and pointed back to the fact that there were eggs everywhere. AholeBrock wrote back that if those were eggs there must be a queen ant somewhere.
“Now you mention it, I did see the one ant that is bigger than the other,” mutdualeo wrote. “I think this is the queen ant.” They shared a picture. “Looks to be,” AholeBrock wrote back. “Holy hell. This vita was still turning on?”
Fortunately, one commenter showed up who was really into “social insects and retrogaming,” and attempted to help identify the insects. Their take on the situation was as follows:
These pics are not clear enough for me to even attempt to identify these ants BUT they are enough for me to say you actually got lucky because they are NOT tawny crazy ants, which love electronics and will chew them up. They could have bricked your device! Another thing I can say is that this species, based on the shape and size of your queen, is fully claustral. What that means is that once the queen had mated, she found your device and said yeah this is my dream home and she lived in it for a few weeks or a few months. Up to a year! She only needed water, which she likely got from condensation or from just nearby your device or both. Then, she started building her colony from scratch. She started with a few workers from her initial eggs and then built from there, with those workers bringing her all your doritos and Domino’s crumbs to feed her growing empire. All from the single ant queen crawling into your crevices.
Whether they were actually Rasberry ants, as another commenter suggested, or something else entirely, it ultimately didn’t matter. While mutdualeo hoped he could blow on the ants to get them to leave and carry their eggs with them, things didn’t quite go as planned. “I followed some of your suggestions by using a hairdryer but maybe mine was too hot so it accidentally killed the ants.” they wrote in an update a day later.
It gets worse. Mutdualeo elaborated. “Ants seem furious after I blow them away, they gnawed and killed their own queen.”
So much for the ant colony. The PS Vita, however, is apparently fine now. Mutdualeo finished disassembling it, cleaned it, and put it back together. “In the end, my PS Vita is still working properly and there’s no damage done to the device,” they wrote. “Thank you for your support and suggestions in cleaning this mess!”
A lesser handheld probably wouldn’t have survived the ordeal. Vita fans are used to overcoming the odds though. Maybe Sony should make a second one after all.