‘Tis the season for ant invasions, fa la la la la

16 12 2009

Our house must be cursed. No, it wasn’t built over a proverbial Indian burial ground (at least, not to my knowledge), but I am convinced we’re living atop a massive, endless anthill, teeming with millions and millions of the little buggers. Every winter, when the rains come, they erupt out of the depths like so many vengeful spirits, one room at a time, in search of warmth or food, making human lives miserable.

I don’t like getting rid of ants. We try not to harm any living thing; we catch bugs in cups to take them outside. I’m an arachniphobe, but even I learned long ago to trap spiders (with a lot of yelping) and carry them out. But when you walk into a room and see the carpet covered with ants, see them crawling up the walls, getting into the bedclothes, even scuttling around on the computer keyboard…well, there comes a time when there’s no recourse but to treat the horde like enemy invaders, and get out the heavy artillery. In my case, Simple Green and the vacuum cleaner.

Complicating the annual adventure, we have a cat and a dog, so we use insecticide extremely rarely, only as a last resort when it’s impossible to seal up the spot where the invaders are getting into the house, such as behind a bookcase, or under a cabinet where the construction has left huge open gaps. I swear, when I become a contractor and start building houses, I will budget for caulking and make sure each domicile is ant-proof, for the sake of war-weary homeowners.

After each attack has been cleaned up, I recheck each battle site periodically, to see if the little monsters have found a teeny pinhole of an opening that I missed, and returned to plague us again. My rounds have grown longer and longer with each new onslaught. Since the invasion season began in earnest a couple of weeks ago, they’ve hit the bathrooms six times, the bedrooms another six, the dining room twice, the kitchen three times. Today it was a three-pronged attack: bathroom, bedroom, kitchen pantry.

Naturally, this all makes me a little paranoid. Every dark splotch must be examined, just in case it’s a pile of ants celebrating over a newly-discovered morsel of food. My skin crawls for days, even weeks… Phantom Ant Syndrome, I call it. And I don’t dare walk around the house in bare feet or socks any time soon.

There is one advantage to all this grief, though: the house gets noticeably cleaner.

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