I can fully appreciate myrmecologists and their preoccupation with ants. Ants are fascinating creatures. Just a pity that usually my encounters with them will end in one of us spraying the other one with insecticide.
You might remember that not too long ago, I had a pretty interesting encounter with an ant colony that invaded two empty drink cans I had left on the ledge, in the outside part of the kitchen. Big mother ****ers those ones, and the thought of any of them surviving and coming after me was quite scary.
I happened upon some more ants yesterday, but seemingly nothing interesting. Run of the mill, normal sized ants, just going about their business, collecting food for the non-existent winter. Technically, being in the northern hemisphere, we’re heading for spring, but seeing as how we’re only 6 degrees north of it, it’s a moot point as summer always reigns supreme. For all the cleverness of ants, they’re pretty stupid when it comes to drawing a black line of marching ants, like a highlight, straight to their nests.
Besides being infinitely interesting and a huge potential source of entertainment for somebody without a TV (or a computer, or a book, or a blunt butter knife and an ingrown toe nail), they’re also endlessly annoying. Not only do they multiply at a rate I can’t fathom, but they get into everything and everywhere. Even my fridge; god knows how.
My urge to terminate their existence therefore overrides the one to study them. It was thus with a very nonchalant wave of the can of death, as I’m sure ants refer to it, that I assumed the role of Archangel Michael over this clearly marked trail of ants and the entrance to their nest. Hundreds of little ant souls were ripped from little ant bodies.
It resulted in a predictable reaction: hundreds of ants more suddenly dashed from various openings in the stairs (into which they previously disappeared), running for their dear lives. Running to where? The can of death passed over the openings on various sides, and every ant, running and otherwise, was snubbed. I sprayed the openings just to make sure that if any more followed, they would cross the line and go to ant heaven too.
I went upstairs without giving it more thought. Later, on my way down, the ant tomb had been revived. In the 30 minutes or so I had been upstairs, a mass, emergency evacuation saw a huge heap of survivors and their precious cargo spill out onto the top of the step underneath which their nest had been. All the survivors, clearly the IQ impaired of the colony, where now out of their nest, eggs in hand – wide open, with death looming 6’2″ above them.
I briefly admired their will, determination and team work. Oh, how much we can learn from the humble ant. I took a snap, the flash didn’t bother them. The sweeping, double barralled, quick ejecting super can of insecticide did. A lot.
The colony survivors, eggs in hand, with probably the queen in there somewhere, died where they were standing. It was quick and painless. I slow-sprayed onto the wall, the result of which is a liquid running into the openings, killing whatever is as far down as gravity would take it.
I suspect the survival rate was low to zero.