Yes, it’s that time of year again. I don’t mean Christmas or New Year’s. I don’t even mean Winter Solstice (the actual, true & proper, physics-based holiday of the season). I don’t even mean Chillaxmas. I mean that the friggin’ Ants have once again invaded my demesne.
They have come every winter, except for the very mild one last year. I believe they come seeking water. Even Ants cannot live for more than a few days without water. My theory is: fuel prices being what they are these days, the poor Ants cannot afford to keep their tiny furnaces running. This leaves them unable to melt ice or snow, and so they come seeking liquid water.
This, then, is a tale of species war! One man’s fight against thousands of alien invaders!
In years past, I mostly just suffered their presence. I routinely live with Spiders; the only real rule being, “Keep out of sight.”
When they presume to
boldly foolishly cross my white walls or venture out onto the beige carpeting… well, maybe their replacement will be smarter.
Previously, the Ants had chosen to explore my bathroom. And they weren’t vast in legion, plus they tended to hug the edges, so I mostly went with the part of me that was fascinated. Kind of like having a free-range Ant Farm. (I’m not big on pets that need cages.)
But when they showed up in my living room, that was a bummer for us both. They found navigating the carpet an exhausting, life-threatening nightmare. I found their presence in my living room a nightmare calling for immediate and serious vacuum cleaner deployment (I know it’s around here somewhere).
It’s disconcerting to look down at your carpet and realize the bits of “dirt” and the tiny, tracked-in “rocks” are moving. The Spiders went after a few individuals, but the Ants had numbers on their side. The pile carpet was a challenge—you could sense their struggle—but they forged on (drawn, perhaps, to that old Kahlúa stain I’d never managed to fully clean up).
This was getting ugly. God’s Creatures and all, but I like to pretend I’m the apex predator around here, and this is my castle, and moving bits on the carpet just won’t do.
But it was only when they showed up on the kitchen floor that it became Def Con 1 all out war. Ants, Cockroaches or Mice in the kitchen calls for immediate and total escalation up to, and not limited to, the thermonuclear option.
Whatever it takes. The Place of Food is Sacred.
Desperately outnumbered, I had no choice but to resort—no to sink—to chemical warfare. (And for all I know, these days, it’s biological and genetic and maybe even a little radioactive, although radioactivity and Ants has been shown to be a non-ideal combination.)
Yes, I may have picketed you back in the day, but DOW Chemical … you’re my last best hope, I need you now!
It is, perhaps, a sign of our society and our times that weapons of species destruction are readily available without restriction at the local grocery store.
Wanting the war over quickly, decisively, I used an entire mini-crate (ok, a “box”) of four chemical bombs disguised as welcoming kiosks of free and delicious Ant Food. Here, take some home to your nest mates, we have plenty. In fact, why don’t you have all your friends come and share the goodies!
You can, if you wish, believe that Ant Scientists examined the new food—as of course they must examine all new food entering the nest; there must be standards after all. The examination would reveal the deadly peril, and they would immediately all pack up and move to a safer location. If it makes more sense to you that way, then no doubt that’s how it happened.
Now as many are aware, in reality the Ants won the war a long time ago. They suffer us to live—more or less undisturbed—in their world. They vastly outnumber us, and they even outweigh us! (Not per Ant, you understand. Most Ants are quite health conscious and exercise daily.)
The point is, this isn’t a case of some looming giant casually wiping out a harmless family of Ants who were just minding their own business.
Oh, no, this is a case of a lone warrior fighting a guerrilla war against overwhelming odds. Just trying to get a few licks in for my short-lived, warm-blooded mammal species before the next meteor hits.
I don’t feel the least bit guilty about the careless Spiders (I figure I’m doing the species a favor: learn to lurk better guys). Ants are even further down the scale of things I’ll easily sacrifice if it’s a case of them or me.
Or of me just being sufficiently annoyed.
Or of anything threatening the Sacred Place of Food.