20 November 2006

Monday Miscellany: The Queen is Dead

I have shared before some of my family's continuing battle to keep beasts of the field from grazing in the fields of our home (see here and here). Our efforts have not always been successful though this has been the first year in several that I have been able to walk to my car in the dark without fear of becoming ensnared in the web of a spider large enough to eat me.

It now appears that our home, indeed our entire neighborhood, sits over a raging hellmouth of Formicidae (ant). One of our new bus stop friends has informed us that the entire neighborhood struggles with ant intrusions. We have battled occasion invasions for several years, usually with Max Attrax or Ant Kil. During times of rain, they take shelter in our cars. During times of dry, they invade our home looking for water. They rarely invade the kitchen. Frankly, I am a bit offended that they do not plunder the kitchen for food. Too good for our grub, indeed! Perhaps the phenomenon is merely a critical commentary on the relative rarity of food preparation in our kitchen. Lately, they have invaded our bathroom. Specifically, they have demonstrated a preference for our bathtub.

After a couple of weeks of intense battle, I thought I had them licked on Friday. Their numbers had trickled to a few stragglers when I noticed that several of them were huddled in the corner around a rather large mass. Large for ants that is. I looked closer and noticed that it was not a mass, but a super ant. The Queen. Had she come out to parlay or had I interrupted her and her attendants during their daily bath? My terms were unconditional surrender, but I don't think she heard me as a stream of hot water and shampoo washed her down the drain. I went to school elated in victory and sure that the ants would not soon return.

Today they returned en masse. I came home to multiple tracks of ants in the bathroom. Their chief objective seems to be the homemade soap. Dejected, I destroyed several tracks and laid out the baits again. The battle between man and nature goes on. At least I can rest assured that our ants are clean ants.


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