Phase IV (1974)
A pair of researchers try to figure out a way to make peace or war with sudden intelligent ants.
Phase I, "That spring we were all watching the events in space and wondering what the final effect would be. Astronomers argued over theory while engineers got pretty excited about variables and magnetic fields. Mystics predicted earthquakes and the end of life as we knew it. When the effect came, it was almost unnoticed, because it happened to such a small and insignificant form of life. One biologist, and Englishman, Ernest Hubbs saw something, got nervous and started investigating. While I was playing around with number theory at the university, Hubbs was already onto something. Ordinary ants of different species were doing things that ants don't do, meeting, communicating, apparently making decisions. By summer the rest of the world had moved on to other things, but Hubbs kept making notes while the threat grew. Only fragments of what he knew got out, he kept most of it to himself, so when I got into it I didn't know a damn thing."
An Ant moves through the colony mound to the Ant Queen and communicates with it. The Ant Queen then communicates to the rest of the Ants. Dr. Ernest D. Hubbs writes a letter to R. Flanders Smith, the secretary of the National Science Foundation informing him of a sort of truce that has been formed between different species of ants in Northern Arizona, while at the same time, their traditional predators have disappeared in the area. He requests a laboratory be built in order to control the problem at the location of the most recent discovered phenomena, near Paradise City, Arizona. Dr. Hubbs and James R. Lesko arrive at the laboratory location and find a group of large obelisk like ant hills. As Dr. Hubbs is taking photos of the ant hills, he is watched by the Ants. They search the area and find a series of crop circles and dead animals. Mr. Eldridge shows Dr. Hubbs and James a trap he made in case they are attacked by the Ants, consisting of tanks of fuel pouring into the canal which they can then light on fire. As Mr. Eldridge is telling Dr. Hubbs how most of the residents started leaving, James stares at Kendra Eldridge. Mildred Eldridge joins the conversation and Dr. Hubbs gives Mr. Eldridge an evacuation letter telling them to leave.
Phase II, the facility is built and the experiment begins. A Radio Announcer complains to Dr. Hubbs about the cost overruns. James asks the Radio Announcer to contact Mrs. Dobson and tell her not to fly to Las Vegas yet. Dr. Hubbs destroys some of the ant hills and James picks up a lot of of noise on his receiver. During the night the Eldridges' horses are attacked and Mr. Eldridge tells Clete to set the fire trap. Mr. Eldridge shoots the dying horses and the Ants attack the house, forcing the Eldridges and Clete to escape in their truck. James starts to decipher the Ants communication and explains it to Dr. Hubbs. Mildred notices some of the Ants made it onto the truck and Mr. Eldridge crashes it. The Ants destroy the generator to the laboratory and Dr. Hubbs counters with a large stream of insecticide that sprays out of a cylinder. The next morning, Dr. Hubbs and James find the bodies of the Eldridges and Clete, who were in the path of the spray. When they open the clenched hand of Clete, they find a group of Ants hollowed him out in order to protect themselves from the insecticide. They collect some of the Ants and find Kendra hiding in the basement. They take Kendra with them and start studying the Ants they brought back. James wants to send Kendra back, but Dr. Hubbs is worried what will happen if the government finds out what happened to the Eldridges. Kendra breaks the testing maze Dr. Hubbs had made when she sees the Ants in it and Dr. Hubbs is bitten by an Ant. An Ant drags some of the pesticide into the mound and then dies and another Ant continues the task before it too dies and is followed by another. Radio Announcer asks Dr. Hubbs if he has come into any contact with the Eldridges and he lies and tells him no. An Ant drags the insecticide to the Ant Queen who eats it and then produces a mutated larva. During the night, the Ants produce new ant hills which start to reflect light onto the laboratory. James tells Kendra that they will get her to safety that day. Dr. Hubbs shows James the new ant hills and the new Ant mutation which is immune to their insecticide. James realizes Dr. Hubbs didn't call for the recovery helicopter and as he tries to call for help, the radio explodes due to Ants attacking the circuit boards. He then stares at Dr. Hubbs' increasingly swollen hand where he was bit. James counterattacks by sending loud sound at the ant hills, causing them to collapse. An Ant gets inside the air conditioner and starts to chew through a copper line, but is eaten by a preying mantis, which is then attacked by the Ant that communicated with the Ant Queen, causing the preying mantis to fall into the air conditioning unit and shorting it. A fire breaks out and James turns on the sprinkler system, which causes the equipment to malfunction. The dead Ants are collected by the other Ants and brought back to the mound and appear to be mourned. James sends a message to the Ants based on the principles of math. The communication Ant climbs onto Kendra and Kendra tells it to go away. Dr. Hubbs accuses Kendra of working with the Ants and sees the communication Ant and starts chasing after it. He corners it and squashes it.
Phase III, Dr. Hubbs tells James if the Ant Queen dies, then the colony collapses. The Ants send back a message to James with a modification of a circle and dot. James then realizes the Ants are using them like rats in a maze to test their intelligence and their message means they want someone. Dr. Hubbs tells James he has located the Ant Queen. Kendra leaves the laboratory to offer herself to the Ants. Dr. Hubbs tells James that he must be the one to destroy the Ant Queen and James tells Dr. Hubbs, the Ants want him. Dr. Hubbs walks out of the laboratory and James tries to stop him. Dr. Hubbs falls into a pit trap and is surrounded and eaten by Ants. James puts on a protective suit and some blue colored pesticide and heads towards the Ant Queen lair. He predicts that if he doesn't kill the Ants then they will shortly start attacking the neighboring cities. He goes inside the lair and finds Kendra still alive inside, but now mutated. James is then mutated and he and Kendra are let back into the world.