Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Swarming

The opening titles to the movie World War Z contains an interesting scene where the audience witnesses ants swarming. The scene, which foreshadows what will happen later in the film, is so brief that it wouldn’t surprise me if folks missed it. Later in the film, the swarming happens again, but this time the creatures are zombies.

Zombie Horde [Photo Credit: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]
Zombie Horde [Photo Credit: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]
For today’s Monday Mayhem series post I would like to talk about zombie swarming—how it takes place, who is susceptible, and why. It’s all about theory today, folks. If you like to talk about the Horde Effect—I just made that up—then you’ll want to keep reading.

Ants are one of the most interesting insects in nature. They come together, disperse, forage, warn and even lead, all by a chemical built within their small bodies. The chemical they possess goes by the name pheromones. Simply stated, ants produce pheromones to assist their complex colonies in multiple ways.

Ants Eating [Photo Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos]
Ants Eating [Photo Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos]
For instance, when an enemy approaches their colony, ants spray pheromones to warn other ants of impending doom. They also spray their pheromones when they want to ward off ants from other colonies, in effect, protecting their territory. They do likewise if they come across something of interest. This is how they lead other ants to food sources. Have you ever seen how ants seem to follow each other in a straight line to and from a picnic table? That’s how they do it. They spray pheromones from the location of their catch all the way back home so that other ants can follow their trail. It’s quite interesting to see this process at work.

Now, as for zombies, they aren’t much different from insects. Similar to swarming ants, the “modern-day” undead have a way of communicating in order to get things done. I’m talking about their shrieks.

In the old days, zombies lumbered and dragged and lurched. They were slow. They were feeble. Today’s zombies, however, sprint, jump and ram. Hard to deny the power the undead possess when they’re in full attack mode. Their shrieks lead other zombies to potential kills, and the other zombies do the same. On and on it goes. I call it the Horde Effect, but you can call it anything you’d like. The point being, like ants, zombies lead each other to a food supply without knowing they’re doing it out of instinct.

I’m sure there are other similarities between insects and zombies. This post only concentrated on zombie swarming. Perhaps one day I’ll also look at the zombie dormant state and its similarity to bat behavior. Until then, ants can provide a great lesson for humanity, not only in organized social structure, but also in zombie swarming. It’s time to appreciate nature more than for providing us food and resources.


Have you seen ants lead other ants to food? Do you think zombies function the same way?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

11 thoughts on “Zombie Swarming

  1. The ant theory makes a lot of sense! It’s interesting to me when reading a zombie story, like yours :D, to figure out what type of zombie the author subscribes to. Because they vary so much. It seems to me the yours are a lot more cognizant then some others. Not as much as that remake of Day of the Dead where they learn, but still somewhat ambitious (for zombies) in their goals. That first Ranger Martin scene they seem to have a group think that almost gives them a strategy. And maybe these guys also retain some ingrained habit conditioning? Like opening doors? That’s something so basic, it makes sense that zombies could open doors but how f—— terrifying is that! Pardon my French 🙂

  2. The main difference is that ants seem to possess a collective mind, no doubt a neuro – chemical thing, while zombies are basically just mindless, possibly repeating actions they performed while fully alive, & their main motivation is seeking sustenance from human bodily tissues & fluids, preferably originating from the brain & spinal column.

      1. I saw some movie ( a ” one-off ” made for Syfy ) where some corporation was trying to bionically augment zombies for use as some kind of living – dead super soldiers. Scary thought…..

  3. Remember talking to an exterminator about how ants leave trails to food, which is why they sometimes look like they’re walking in a roundabout way. Now I wonder what it would be like to have zombies that release pheromone trails. Would something like that lead to various zombie colonies and territories? After all, ant colonies will fight each other and can tell the difference between members of each colony. Then again, zombies seem to be routinely tricked by people pretending to be undead.

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