Thursday, November 05, 2009

the ants go marching

I'm cleaning up a few nights ago when J walks over to the verandah and opens the slider. Immediately he leaps back and streams of black ants come piling in covering his feet and crawling up his legs. He slams the door and starts jumping around, expletives abound.

I run over and flip on the outside light and the porch looks as if it's alive, a black swarming mass of moving floor space. Marching ants. Holy shit.

We quickly stomp on all the ants that made it inside and brush them out of J's hair and after some looking around, it appears that the ants are not only on the porch but climbing up the house. We've heard about these things in jungle folklore before, the marching ants come in the millions sweeping through areas eating everything in their wake. Some of our neighbors think they are a good thing because they clean out all the other bugs as they pass, the black swarm comes and goes in a short amount of time.

But I can't quite embrace their calmness. What the fuck is this I say over and over, watching the blackness puddle and swoon like a funhouse mirror gone very wrong. We realize this side of the house is fairly safe but we have no idea what cracks or holes exist in places we cannot see. After a while of sitting in somewhat bizarre stupor it hits me that the right side of the house, where the little buggers are heading, has no such reinforcements. The space between the door and the floor is ample enough for ants to come in riding on each other's backs. In triple. Shit. I say as much to J and so we head over and tentatively open the door and here they come, their blackness swarming towards us. Foolishly, I grab a towel like I was taught to do in those old fire safety movies back in the 70's. I wet it and stick it along the door jam to keep the smoke out. Or in this case, ants. I do this quickly and feel triumphant until the towel seems to slowly start to move. What happens if we can't stop them? Will they slowly overtake our bodies leaving only heaving black mounds of flesh?

Danger Will Robinson. Oh, and holy shit get me out of here.

M is asleep, thankfully and blissfully unaware that we are about to be consumed. J and I go on defense, I am spraying bug spray at the door frame and we are stomping in abandon. Somehow or perhaps it was never meant to be it works and the ants slightly shift course and we see them marching their massive way across the driveway. Our dog comes out of hiding. J looks at me and says you'll have to blog about this one and I laugh. Not until I'm sure we aren't waking up covered in ants I say.

I wake up the next morning ant free and nervously eye the porch. We tell M all about it at breakfast and she's filled with dismay at missing the escapades of the night before. She's a brave one, my kid. I tell a neighbor about it who laughs and says they came through her house a few days ago. Sprinkle water on them next time she says, they don't like the water. Later I come back from taking M to school and from the market and walk out onto the porch when I see them, a marching black wall coming over the lip of the porch from the ground, a good three feet long and about a foot onto the concrete turning it black. Being a secret double agent, I grab the hose and turn it on and let out a screech and a jet spray so powerful it's like washing thick mud off the side of a house, the blackness goes flying backwards onto the grass and I'm going Apocalypse Now on the little fuckers, spraying and spraying until the porch is clean and the fortress is intact. I peer over the edge of the porch and the ground beneath is fully alive, the marching ants are still marching. Several dogs have now taken refuge on my porch and they all look at me expectantly, watch the gringa, she's crazy and I think about spraying them too but I pull myself in check.

After way too much water I finally concede that maybe I've won this round, those little bastards are 0-2 now but I know and they know that they'll win sooner or later, whether it's 2am or when we aren't home, you can't stop nature from running it's course. So I can only hope that they've moved on down the village, making their way far away from here.

In other news we are bracing ourselves for the first real storm of the season, the hurricane to the south of us will bring us rain and I reminisce about last year when the entire village was flooded and I hope that like the ants, the rain will go easy on us too.

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14 comments:

Kyla said...

FREAKY! I'd lose. my. shit.

kgirl said...

Oh. My. God. I freak out when there is a spider in the bathroom. Halloween came a few days late, huh?

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I had ants in my house in late summer -- not like you describe but still, it made me feel crazy, seeing this line of ants walk through my kitchen.

Lay a nice thick line of baby powder or baking powder in front of them. They lose their scent trail. You won't kill them but you can get them to walk a different path -- like, AROUND your house instead of through it.

slouchy said...

You? Are a warrior woman.

Me? Not so much.

deb said...

I would have lost it. I don't mind ants, but that many, feels way too much like those movies that were all the rage in the seventies.

deezee said...

You have just convinced me not to move to the jungle.

flutter said...

this made me itchy just reading it

Defiantmuse said...

"I'm going Apocalypse Now on the little fuckers"

the image of you with the hose - I could see it so clearly and it made me nearly pee on myself from laughing so hard.

awesome.

;)

mamatulip said...

Dude. Swarming Marching Ants and a hurricane on the way? I honestly couldn't do it.

painted maypole said...

eek. but I love the image of you on the porch, spraying and screaming.

oh, hurricanes. I know. sending you all the best thoughts and prayers...

soccermom of 4 said...

My daughter and soon-to-be-son-in-law had problems with ants this summer. They didn't want to use any bug spray in their apartment because of their dog, so they googled. They found that ants do not like cinnamon, so they sprinkled cinnamon in their sliding glass doors and wherever else they were coming in. It seemed to work for them. I'm not sure how much cinnamon you would need for an army of ants though.

Best of Luck,
Lesa

alejna said...

Wow, Jen. Just wow.

Oh, and, yikes!

krista said...

sonofamotherlover. for real?
dude. DUDE.

just reminded me of when i lived on maui and came home from work one night to find the ceiling in the hallway of my house PULSATING with termites. thousands of them. my roommates screamed and left the house so i had to deal with the little bastards by myself. i totally feel your pain. sort of. they didn't come back.

carrie said...

I'm in awe of your reaction.

I so would have peed my pants.