Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Life on an Ant Farm

For the past month, my kitchen floor swirled with an ever-changing pattern.

Little brown ants tripped lightly across it, each one's path seemingly ruled by chaos.

My floor hosted a great battlefield, where the bodies of dead ants formed solid brown lines along the baseboards and clumps in the corners, awaiting my burial services.  They died of their own accord.  I know not why.  Every other day I swept up the dead, then tossed the contents of my dustpan lightly upon the earth at my back door, antses to antses, dust to dust.

My kitchen counters, too, sported their own contingent of wanderers.  Yesterday I had the strange but interesting experience of slicing celery on my acrylic cutting board while gazing at about 15 ants who cruised aimlessly about underneath it.  I tried to focus on enjoying this spectacle, as I am guessing that if an ant-farm cutting board were marketed by some trendy catalog, it would sell briskly, and here I had this great opportunity absolutely free, with no effort on my part.  Plus, as none ventured to crawl about on top of the cutting board, I realized I should count my blessings.

After all, I had tried ant traps, cans of ant spray, and even diatomaceous earth.  Nothing stopped them.

A week ago, worn out from my ineffectual efforts to be rid of them in time for a party we were hosting, I determined that the ants were sent to me by God and resigned myself to discerning his will in the matter.  I focused on growing in the virtues of patience and perseverance.  I figured I was on the right path when I realized that I heard the word "ants" in the second syllable of each word.


My husband did not share my perspective and yesterday announced that he "could not live this way any longer"!!!!  Throwing himself onto his Harley, he roared away to a poison shop where he described our intruders to the experts and received battle strategy and specialized chemical weapons.

He returned armed with the information that our enemy is the Tawny (Rasberry) Crazy Ant, an invasive species that deployed in the Houston area a little over ten years ago.   You have to spray prodigious amounts of poison outside along the foundation of your house and include a swath of ground about ten feet out, including the underside of any movable objects, which is where they like to build nests.  You must also spray inside.  And pray.  And do it on a regular basis.  And do your best to hold out till winter, when they mostly die off, if you have sprayed and prayed consistently and well.

Today, the ant armies appear nearly beaten.  Only a few struggle on across the tiles, but we know they are out there in the deceptively peaceful-looking yard, quietly re-grouping in their secret camps.


Emily G. said...

Oh my. I hope you get them!

Once when I was younger, my mom had a persistant ant infestation on her kitchen counters. There were always ants crawling on the bananas or getting stuck in the butter plate if someone left it out. We could not find out where they were coming from. My mom always keeps aloe vera plants on her windowsill over her sink. She asked me to repot one, and when I gently pulled the plant from its pot, I found the pot held very little soil and the plant appeared to be growing in a swirling, soilid mass of ants. We shook them out and replaced them with real dirt, and the ant problem was over. Obviously your problem is different, but that's the best ant-ecdote I had to commiserate with. :)

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I hope you can get them under control! We've had more this year but I think it's because it never stops raining.

Wendy Haught said...

That was a good ant-ecdote, Emily! Thanks for sharing! Kathy, Herb sprayed again yesterday, and today I have found nothing but dead ones. Deo Gratias!