Saturday, June 25, 2016
2016: The Battle of The Sidewalk
I have a healthy colony of these precious little guys living under my brick walkway. It has been there for at least two years, despite vigorous attempts by yours truly to evict them. They like it here.
In the beginning I held off attacking them because I thought my grand-kids would enjoy watching and learning. In actual fact they enjoyed watching them for about ten seconds, a couple of times. In the space of one summer the colony grew into a monster. (Let me put forward this disclaimer: I have nothing against red ants. They can live anywhere on the farm except in the yard close to my house...or in my sidewalk.)
All the grandkids have now learned to give the ants a wide berth. It has been a painful lesson for each of them. Some of life's lessons are more painful than others. I began trying to boot the ants last summer. I made no headway at all, so I did some research. Did you know the colonies can spread up to 10 feet down and 20 feet in all sideways direction? That means this particular colony is EVERYWHERE.
Last Fall I began trying to 'get them to leave'...if you catch my drift. The white poison powder that I got at Atwood's might as well have been talcum powder for all the good it did. The ants stood around with their hands on their knees laughing so hard I thought they were going to be sick.
Since vinegar is the be-all-do-all in the world, I poured some of that down the entrance hole, just for the heck of it. Nothing. I think they liked it. They looked kind of bulked up when I next saw them. (gasp) Then I tried the super streaming wasp and hornet spray, which did knock them back a little. They moved the entrance, and then moved it again, and again and again as I continued to spray every other day. After awhile they ignored that too.
A couple of weeks ago I started using good old ant and roach spray. They don't like that. Their numbers seem to be dwindling. Or, (she squints her eyes) they might be down below, crowded into a cool, cramped room with the Queen, hunched over an Ipad (cause I know they're stealing my wifi), planning a nighttime attack on the house..and me. I can see them now, marching along in a line, all wearing their tiny night-vision goggles, silent as a tomb. They'll take out the cats first, of course. Then they'll climb up the porch posts, enter the attic and slip down through the air vents on long ropes. They will eat me alive as I sleep and I'll never know what hit me..umm..bit me. Aaaaarrrghh! Okay, probably not that.
One of them, a young hot-head showing off for some pretty little red-head, had the audacity to attack me this week as I was watering the Marigolds. He slipped into my shoe via the hole by my pinkie-toe. Before I could get the shoe off, he had bitten three toes. They swelled up and stung like fire all day. That particular soldier is no longer with the unit. He is no longer with any unit. What did he think he would accomplish with that ridiculous harebrained stunt? He broke ranks. STAND DOWN, SOLDIER!
I notice the chickens eating a few ants when they wander by. They make a tasty little snack in the middle of the day I guess. I also read that spiders like to eat ants, if they can get them. That spider in the trellis and I are on speaking terms. We need to have some speech, maybe over a meal. Decisions are happening over dinner. The spider, the chickens and I, in the room where it happens. Because we may be out-numbered but we will not be out-planned or out-gunned. We have chemical warfare and, speaking of numbers, if you have ever shined a flashlight across the grass in the dark of night, you know there are thousands of spiders hanging out everywhere. I don't know if they are on the same team as the guy in the trellis, but that is his problem. He's pretty charismatic. Honestly, when you have eight legs and most of the world as six, you would be well advised to close ranks, in my opinion.
We'll 'go to Atwoods for supplies, rally the guys, master the element of surprise'. One of these days I expect to see a 'young 'ant' in a red coat standing on a parapet, frantically waving a white handkerchief', to paraphrase a popular Broadway musical.
If only we had a family of Horned Toads we would be unbeatable. H.Toads are non-stop!