Killer ants

September 27, 2008

The people in the southwest portion of the US were warned about killer bees slowly coming up from Mexico. We were all terrified. I can’t say I’ve seen any yet––just the mellow honey bees that are always hitting on one flower or another around here.

But what I HAVE seen is an amazing rise in killer ants. No, these are not really killer ants, but teeny little ants that are very good little eaters. Now, maybe I need to contact an exterminator, which I will likely do, but these little critters are out of control. These are protein seeking ants, not sweet seeking ants. If I leave out one teeny crumb of cheese or meat, there will be a superhighway on the way there within the hour. Likewise if I leave any protein-based garbage in the trash, a mega superhighway of ants is there in minutes. Calixto, our gardener, said that whenever these little ants are around, you don’t have to worry about termites––they eat all the babies and eggs. I told him that I thought they preferred protein, he disagreed: “they eat everything.”

Yesterday I was watering the yard and the ants HATE water, so they were crawling up my shoes, into my shoes, over my socks, up my legs and into, well, it was just creepy. I had to go take a shower.

There is an upside to this infestation. One of my neighbors seems to be poisoning rats. The rats then decide to come up in our basement, climb into the walls and die. This happened to us twice before with a disgusting 4 or 5 weeks of rotting rat wafting through your house. This summer, I detected that unforgettable smell wafting up from the walls. But it only lasted two days. I happened again a month later: two days and gone. The little varmints had eaten the dead rat. Halleluiah! This was confirmed when I saw the skeleton of a rat in my back yard, still covered by ants. Even the cartilage was gone! Just a fine little skeleton, splayed out across the dirt.

I bet that if I dropped dead in the kitchen, there would be very little left once someone found me.

Is this actually a cover-up by the authorities? They don’t want us to panic about a new infestation of killer ants?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brad Wood September 27, 2008 at 10:05 am

I haven’t had an infestation of ants for a few seasons now, but I was surprised to find that boric acid powder, a remarkably low-toxicity substance to us, does slowly but effectively wipe out ant populations. It has long been known to be good on roaches and silverfish, although again it is fairly slow-acting, but the ants are much hardier.

The secret is to put trails of fresh powder down where they will have to track through it, and then carry it back to the nest eventually. It takes a while, and you don’t have the satisfaction of seeing throes of bugs writhing in fits from highly toxic malodorous sprays and such. But I found it did work eventually.

After a while the powder agglomerates and doesn’t stick to their little manders, and has to be renewed.

OTOH having inaccessible carcasses stripped of putrid flesh is a nice service!

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