They took over Los Angeles after a radiation accident in a 1950s sci-fi B-movie.
Now an army of ants has Scotland’s biggest city in their sights.
A cast of thousands of the creepy crawlies has descended on Glasgow’s Tramway to take a starring role in Them, the latest production by the National Theatre of Scotland.
In a Caledonian remake of the cult classic 1950s Warner Bros black and white movie, which was directed by Gordon Douglas and starred James Whitmore, Edmund Gwen and Joan Weldon, theatre director Stewart Laing has given roles to a huge colony of leaf-cutter ants in his multimedia stage version of the film.
The ants will feature in a production which veers from the set of a Graham Norton-style chat show, to a club night at the end of the world in the NTS piece exploring issues of race, class and cultural identity.
The cast includes Australian actor Kiruna Stamell and the production also includes music from indie favourite Carla J Easton as well as music from Glasgow favourite Eugene Kelly.
For ant specialist Andrew Stephenson it’s all just another day at the office.
Zoologist Andrew has presented ant documentaries for TV, and worked on numerous film projects including Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johannson.
But this is the first time he has delivered the ant-apocalypse to the south side of the country’s largest city.
He said: “The National Theatre of Scotland asked me to provide ants which will go into a model of Glasgow, creating a hustle and bustle around the city, making the place look really busy at a certain part of the production when the public are in.
“Them! was a fantastic film, even if it was a bit before my time. I always remember seeing it when I was a boy. So when they asked me I thought it was a great opportunity.”
Andrew delivered seven cases of ants to Tramway over the weekend, with an estimated 150,000 insects getting ready for curtain up on Thursday.
“For full activity they need a period of time to acclimatise.
“Leaf cutting ants are really interesting. They are the only other animals other than ourselves that don’t actually eat the food they’re harvesting.
“They use it as a fertiliser and they’re growing a crop, a crop of fungus which they eat. They cut the leaves, carry them into the nest, convert them to fertiliser and then grow this fungus on the leaves. So they’re farmers. That’s what makes them incredible.”
Theatre goers at Tramway can relax, however. The ants will be running in a huge encased tubing and scale model of the city.
Ant man Andrew, from Bonnybridge, has travelled the world gathering insects throughout a 30 year career, which has taken him to Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and French Guayana in the last 12 months alone.
When not rehearsing ants for theatre productions, he designs and installs zoo exhibits around the country.
One of Andrew’s more unusual jobs was getting actress Scarlett Johannsen used to ants in the film Under The Skin, which she filmed around Scotland in 2012.
He said: “Ants and flies and things were crawling on her.”
Them! Tramway, Glasgow, From Thursday to 6 July