Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Pink Panther Post*

So, as a result of Julia being sick and the girls being with me all weekend (I usually have them on weekdays), I finally caved and admitted to them that I had to get cable TV in order to get cable Internet, and that we can therefore watch cable shows on the computer even though I don't have a television.

They watched George of the Jungle 2 on the Disney Channel this afternoon, and I cleaned out a box in my closet.

That was the official plan, anyway.

In fact, I pulled the box about halfway out, saw about sixty million hangers-on, and remembered about the ENORMOUS BLACK ANTS I've been seeing in that part of the closet for several weeks now.

I pushed the box back in.

Alas, it was too late. I'd passed the threshold of plausible deniability - not to mention sounding the alarm throughout the Queendom of the Ants.

I decided to remove individual items from the box without removing the box from the shelf (shaking or brushing them off as needed) and proceeded to do that for a while. There was a lot of junk in there, some fabric scraps, and a couple of shirts I'd been saving for the girls. Some of it's been pitched already, and the rest put away elsewhere.

I thought the colony was behind the box (and, in fact, it was), but it was also in the box, with the mother lode of eggs (looking exactly like Rice Krispies) nestled handily in a child's t-shirt, just right for lifting into a plastic bag and then shaking (and flicking) off of the shirt.

There was another batch in a book bag in the bottom of the box.

When the box was empty (except for a little dish of boric acid and honey) and the girls' movie was over (Okay. Technically? The movie and the two shows following it), I took a break to make them a snack and get them into something besides television.

Then I went back to check on the ant activity, knowing there were still plenty of Citizen Ants between the box and the wall, and between another bag and the wall on the same shelf.

What I saw was a lot of egg-relocation activity. To another shelf.

Oh. Right.

Pulling out the built-in drawer below, I found a squatter community including at least as many eggs as I'd already dispatched, so once again it was pick, shake, set aside until the drawer was empty except for the ants.

This time I pulled the whole drawer out and took it outside to do the plastic bag maneuver - a good move, since the bag was smaller than the drawer and ants get pretty good traction on unfinished plywood. There were at least as many escapees as there were ants in the bag.

(For bonus points: The balcony is visited by cats, who pee there. It was an attractive scene.)

Meanwhile, back inside, the ants that were still trying to relocate to the drawer no longer found it there, so of course they headed for the next drawer down. I pulled everything out of that, removed it, and then cleared the shelf below, leaving them a big open space in which to do as they will.

There's still a colony behind the bag on that top shelf, and two little knots of them up in the corners of the big empty space.

I'm not sure whether to go after them tonight, or leave the job to the honey and boric acid (which I learned about not three days ago).

You don't think they'll come for me in the night, do you?

In closing, I will say this: If you ever find yourself in circumstances such as these, the ponytail that's looped half-up again to keep it out of your way, leaving stray strands that brush the back of your neck ever so lightly every once in a while? Not really the 'do you want in a situation such as this.

* DeadAnt, DeadAnt, DeadAntDeadAntDeadAnt, DeadAnt, DeadAnnnnnt...


Anonymous August 16, 2008 6:42 PM  

Ugh! I'd be going for the atomic option and going for the Raid and if I could find it, Dursban.

Neuro-toxin, Schmuro-toxin. We got BUGS!! Bitey bugs!

I never used to hate ants, until I moved to Georgia and now Texas and the ants BITE.

pidomon August 16, 2008 7:18 PM  

soylent green is ANTTTTTSSSSSSSS

Anonymous August 16, 2008 7:23 PM  

Now I itch. With itchiness.

Laylabean August 17, 2008 12:09 AM  

Ick! I hate ants. I've heard that if you give them cornmeal, they'll eat it but they can't digest it so they die. Worth a try anyway. Good luck!

gabi August 17, 2008 5:58 AM  

Great; not.

How can you prevent future colonizations? Will you have to keep whatever they found attractive sealed up in plastic bags? Or plastic boxes?

Considering you haven't lived in that apartment for very long, the ants sure got themselves established quickly.

quakerdave August 17, 2008 1:09 PM  

I hope you don't mind, but this kinda cracked me up. You paint quite the picture.

Hope the little'un's feeling better soon.

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