Wednesday, October 26, 2011

omg the ants

There are maybe a bazillion species of ants on this earth, I don't know, I'm not a scientist. I would guess that about three fourths of those live in Africa, and up until last week, three of them were battling it out with me over control of my house. Now, only two are.

Safari ants. If you have read Poisonwood Bible, you may remember a part where the ants come in the night and they have to escape across the river lest they be eaten alive. That is not too far from the truth, though my experiences have been thankfully less dramatic. The ants are migratory, and blind. Meaning they march right on through without a care to what they're marching through. Or, maybe they do care, I don't know. Either way, a few weeks ago I was finishing up doing a CRAP TON of laundry (it had been like a month and a half, at least) when I noticed that creepy spiders were swarming out of the rock piles near my door (totally safe to have rock piles around my house, nothing scary lives in those at all...) and up on to the sidewalk that runs the perimeter around my house. Confused by the sudden odd behavior, I went to find out the source of their terror - a basilisk perhaps? I was greeted by no less than 398,235,822 ants marching towards my house. My neighbors had spread ashes around their house that morning, so I should have known something was up, that's the traditional method for keeping ants out. Anyway, I got out my flip camera and started filming, though I don't think anything would be able to accurately portray the sheer numbers and determination with which these ants move. The single file line soon branched into several, which branched off even more. My yard was soon a black moving carpet of ants with jaws that can draw blood (not being dramatic) I sprayed Doom (Uganda's version of Raid) in front of my doors and hoped they wouldn't come in. Apparently they clean as they go, but I had just spent all day sweeping and mopping and wasn't in the need of a million army cleaning crew, but thanks. Of course, then the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. It was about to storm. Can I pause here to remind you that my month and a half worth of laundry was on the line, almost dry? And that vicious biting insects were carpeting my yard? I quickly fashioned some waders out of garbage bags, taped them around my knees, and shuffled out into my yard, looking like a crazy person, to rescue my clothes. Upon returning to my steps, I saw that there were no less than 50 ants clamped onto the plastic bags. For the next week or so, the ants stuck around, though not in the same ferocious craze. They mostly stuck to the edge of the yard and my garbage pit, which means that walking around took careful planning and a watchful eye. About a week later, I saw a long line of them marching away from my house, each one of the billion ants was carrying an egg. Weird.

millllliiiions of ants. I wanted to see how fast they'd clean the jar

Trails of ants through my yard

Trash bag leggings!

Little red ants. These things are the bane of my existence, they are invasive to my life and they are ruining everything. Ok, that was all exaggerated, but I am super annoyed. Somehow, for the first 5 months I lived here, there were no ants. Then, all of the sudden, there are ants in everything. EVERYTHING. I brush my teeth, I have to pick ants out of my toothbrush first. I go to put on my retainer, I pick ants off that. I look at pictures on my wall, I see a line of ants marching up the wall. I shake amazing American Parmesan cheese that my mom sent me on to my pasta, and 50 ants come out with it. This morning I found that they had some how gotten up around the threads of my nutella (my NUTELLA!) over the top of the jar, and were stuck in the chocolaty goodness. What do I do when I find ants in every delicious food I have? I eat them. I am like a mean giant. Ants in my brown rice? Hang them in the sun, kill them, and eat them. Muahaha.. (Fe Fi Fo Fum?) I don't know if I could munch down as happily and with such gusto on the giant white ants that were brought to me upon my arrival, but the tiny red ones that are the most f*cking annoying things ever in my entire life? Yes. I will eat those. And I will do it with glee. (I don't pick them off the walls and eat them, just so you know, only if they're in the food already. I'm not that crazy...)

Little red ants in my american food. Of course I ate this. 

Regular ants. Lastly there is a colony or something of the normal black ants in my yard. They're not as organized, annoying, or invasive to my life as the safari ants or the little red ones, so I kind of just watch them sometimes if I'm on the phone outside and they're scurrying along the edge of the table. I think they were in my house a few weeks ago, I noticed a bunch that were all carrying a larvae. I quickly moved some furniture, sprayed, and swept, making sure to let them know this was not a place to set up home. They got the message and I haven't seen them inside since. Every now and then I'll watch the red ants marching up the wall outside meet a line of the haphazard black ones. They do battle sometimes and it's like the nature channel right on the wall of my house, it's a 15 minutes well spent, watching them go at it. Sometimes a spider gets involved and I have to text someone about it :)

*Edit* this evening when I was doing my dishes, I noticed an inordinate number of these black ants... doing a kung-fu battle royale on my steps. They were all scattered hither and thither, and were literally slinging one another around and clamping down with their jaws of death when they met one they didn't like. It was one of the oddest things I've ever seen ants do, I tried to get pictures but the battlefield and its warriors were much too little.

1 comment:

Barbara Boddie said...

Wow, it looks like there are bajillions of ants in that pic you've posted. You'd do better watching out for the next time the neighbors are going to spread ashes to ward off the ants. You can also try using other inexpensive repellents like lemon juice or black pepper. Ant battles sound like fun! Well, as long as it's not inside the house.

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