The Revenge of the Ants

Thank heavens it’s Friday! It’s been a long while since I felt relieved to be at the end of a week, and hopefully at the end of the sort of stresses, that while minor, accumulate until you want to scream in treble ratio!

From lights not working, to being overrun with ants, doors jamming, windows refusing to close to the electric gate developing a will of its own this morning, and randomly opening for no apparent reason. Although I’m convinced I do know the reason. The electrician had to programme a new remote yesterday. He couldn’t see the dial for the ants, and so he gave them a good taste of the blue death.

It would appear they have now moved to the other side of the gate and made a mound of soil, high and firm enough to convince the gate it should remain open.

I have never lived in an area as infested with ants as this. Piles of debris line the skirting boards of the house every other day, phalanxes of tiny red colonists wander through the house and swarm over dead moths, cockroaches, and heaven help me if I leave crumbs or unwashed eating utensils overnight. My usual tactic of politely putting crumbs out on the lawn, and other titbits that I think they will enjoy as an incentive not to take over my living quarters have all failed.

So I’m in a quandary. I am averse to using poisons. About twenty years ago I decided the organic route was the one to go, and implemented it where I lived at that time. It was tough. Certain plants survived without all the doctoring with malathion and karbadust and all the other chemicals we used to protect them from predators. Others curled up and died. It takes time to get the balance back – every time we use a spray or douse whatever into nests, we disrupt some fine ecological happening, which results in us having to use more and more noxious substances.

Ant tracks (591x800)

But once the birds that eat the insects return, and spiders that feed on ants, and snakes that feed on spiders and, you get my drift, things settle down, and co-existence can become a way of life. In this case, I don’t think I have the time to wait for that balance, and my garden is too small to have any real impact on this environment. The amount of debris that I sweep out along the wall of my bedroom has me genuinely afraid that I will wake up one morning buried under a pile of rubble.

My usual concoctions have had zero impact, so I have given in and bought those products that I never thought to see on my shelves. My lungs contract whenever I spray, I watch anxiously for little avian corpses, or lizards, or geckos. So far so good, but I am judicious in our use of these poisons, and it seems slowly tipping the balance against the red peril.

It was one of these that was used on the ants in the gate motor yesterday, and I have no doubt the strange behaviour of the gate today is the manifestation of the revenge of the ants! Many years ago I watched a film at the Drive-In in what was then Salisbury, called Phase IV, in which the ants took control of the area and almost managed to destroy the people living there. It made a big impression on me, that movie did.

So now when I look up, and the gate has silently opened, and I have not pressed any remote to make that happen, I find it unnerving. Have I looked closely to see if I can see any obstacle along its pathway. Oh, yes. And I can tell you quite categorically that the ants are there, evidence by the many airholes.

And I worry that they are plotting their ultimate offensive deep underground!

Enjoy the weekend!


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