Posts Tagged "ants"

Ready for a Picnic? International Picnic Day

Dear Kid,

Happy InternHappy International Picnic Day! DearKidLoveMom.comational Picnic Day. Think hot dogs, pasta salad, and watermelon. (And cookies—it’s also National Splurge Day so have a couple.)

The first picnic (I wasn’t there, but I have it on good authority) consisted of an apple—which wasn’t all that filling but had far reaching consequences.

Other sources (like The Wiki) indicate that picnics date back to medieval times (they haven’t really done enough research).

In fact, the modern day picnic was invented by Sir Francis de Pick Nick. Sir Francis’ family unwisely over-invested in red and white checkered fabric. S.F. wasn’t keen on being outfitted in big checks (remember the outfits made from drapes in the Sound of Music?) so he created a marketing campaign starring picnics and checkered tablecloths. (And yes, Jenny, I spelled it right this time!)

Ready for a picnic? (Around here, most picnics will be indoor events since significant precipitation is predicted.)

Don’t forget the ants. Or the pick-a-nic basket (extra points if you get the reference).

Love, Mom

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Animals Like You’ve Never Thought Of Them

Dear Kid,

Well, we’ve had quite an animal-filled week. Wombats, dead fuzzy duck and dead TV, and Rodney the Bird. (If you think a dead TV isn’t an animal, you probably haven’t been paying attention.)

Also, I’m pretty sure our house is alive.

Last weekend I spent a LOT of time cleaning. I don’t mean my standard “It’s been 3 whole minutes, it’s as clean as it’s ever gonna get” lots of time. I mean serious hours. Measured by the clock. I removed pounds of ick from our house. I put things away (crazy, right?).

Today, you would never know someone even thought about getting the house in order.

Elephant Trunk. DearKidLoveMom.comI’m pretty sure it’s the house’s fault. No one who lives here would even consider leaving clutter around.

And the ants have invaded again. You remember them. They are the little bitty black spots with too many legs that like to invade the sink (full of unclean pots and dishes) looking for a bit of free lunch. Heebie and Jeebie.

Guess what is going to be on the pismire menu for dinner?

If you guessed ant traps, give yourself a gold star.

Is it weird that my grocery list is chicken, tomatoes, eggs, ant traps?

Have a great day and enjoy studying for exams.

Love, Mom

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I. Have. Had. It. | Enough is Enough and Other Terms Lacking Endearment

Dear Kid,

For the record, I hate ants. Loathe them when they are inside (by the way, the ant traps did a reasonable if not stellar job of getting rid of the ants that were in the kitchen). And I have now found a new way to hate them outside.

I thought I was good with the “wildlife belongs in the wild” approach to critters. Turns out, I needed to work on the definitions. For years, I’ve assumed that “the wild” meant anything outside the confines of our home.

This weekend, that changed. Spectacularly.

“The Wild” now means “anywhere outside our house where I’m not.”

Evil. Horrible.Awful.Painful. Biting. Nasty. Ants. We are now at war. DearKidLoveMom.comAnd it wasn’t coyotes, or wasps (yuck), or any other critter you might normally think of when you think of wildlife. No, no. it was the ants. The picnic ants.

I was weeding (because that’s just how we live it up here on Father’s Day) and I disturbed an ant colony. I hadn’t meant to, it just turned out that several billion ants had taken up residence under a huge clump of weeds near the holly and as I moved rocks and removed weeds they objected.

Normally, I think of “ant objection” as lots of tiny ants running all over the place. Which I don’t entirely love, but live and let live. This was different.

Seven billion ants swarmed around, crawling on the rocks (the sight was enough to make me reconsider eating lunch today), running hither and thither on the driveway, and (wait for it) crawling on me.

At first I was relatively tolerant. Off you go little ant, I thought brushing a black speck off my leg. Seriously, get off, I thought brushing two off my arm. Get The @#$%@ Off!! I thought as I moved away from the area.

I yanked a few more weeds, told Daddy he could rip out the last few in the ant infested area, and went inside.

After showering off six pounds of dirt (I am not a neat gardener) I discovered that this particular ant colony had not just sent out scouts and scavengers. They had sent out the warriors. Well-armed warriors.

“They bit you?” said Pi.

“They bit the cr*p out of me,” I said. Please excuse the language, but the hydrocortizone hadn’t kicked in at that point.

I’m not a fan of biting, never have been. And while I won’t go out and get ant poison or anything like that—they are after all in their rightful area (by which I mean they aren’t in the house)—any mercy I might have shown in the past is now a thing of the past. By which I mean I’m sending out invitations to birds to stop by and have a snack.

At least I plan to once the itching subsides.

Love, Mom


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The Ants Go Marching One By One Zillion

Picnic ants belong outside at picnics not in my kitchen. DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when picnic ants forget that picnics are supposed to be outside and they advance in droves into the house. Into the kitchen, to be specific. Into MY kitchen to be even more specific.

And it really is that time of year. Last time I wrote about picnic ants was May 21, 2013. Funny how that works, huh? Especially since that was about ants being outside…

As we have established, I’m in favor of wild life—in the wild. When it ventures inside, that’s a whole new ballgame. When it ventures into the kitchen (into MY kitchen to be even more specific), war ensues.

Guess who spent yesterday morning (or at least a part thereof) killing picnic ants?

The thing with ants is that the more you kill, the more reinforcements are called up. Wave after freakin’ wave of them. Ew.

I tracked an entire outpost of them to the dishwasher. To inside the dishwasher to be specific. To the inside of MY dishwasher to be more specific. Heebie jeebies galore. I ran the dishwasher. I’m pretty sure all I accomplished was teaching the ants to swim.

Do you remember that pismire means “peeing ants”? Really, child, someone ought to pay attention to me since it’s a fair bet that I don’t.

Shout out to University of California at Irvine whose mascot is an anteater. Wish you lived closer.

Which makes me wonder if Thane Maynard and the Cincinnati Zoo would lend me an anteater—just for a day or two. Guaranteed he’d be well fed.

Must investigate.

Love, Mom


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Ants | Pismire Politics Plan World Domination

Ants Pismire College kids

Dear Kid,

Only the English language could come up with the word “pismire” which means ant, but literally means “peeing ant.” Who thinks of these things?

I was doing some planting yesterday when I unknowingly dug up a major entrance to an ant hill. Within seconds, there were enough picnic ants swarming around to keep an anteater family fed for many a day. As you know, I LOATHE wildlife in the house, but I don’t mind it nearly as much when it is in the Great Outdoors where it belongs.

There are ant species that have specialized soldier ants that use their heads to plug the entrances to their nests and keep intruders from gaining access. I’m fairly sure there are college students that do this as well. Personally, I think it would be easier to put out a sign that says “this colony protected by ADT” but as far as I can ascertain no ants have thought of this yet. Or maybe they’re just having difficulty teaching intruders to read.

I thought the ants swirling around were kind of interesting and I called Booker over to show him this wonderful natural phenomenon. He dutifully trotted over and looked for something to sniff. I showed him the ants. He kept looking for something interesting to sniff. Finally, he gave me a look that clearly said, “Puppies don’t care about ants. Just for the record, we don’t care about rocks either” and went back to sit in the sun.peter-anteater-university-of-irvine-college-mascot

The total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on Earth. This is because ants do not care whether they have paved roads, cell phone reception, or indoor plumbing and therefore live all sorts of places humans don’t particularly care for.

To the best of my knowledge there is no college or university with an ant for a mascot. The fighting ants! Go Pismires! Wave those antennae. I’m thinking not so much.

Update: Alert Reader Jennifer has now pointed out that the University of Irvine’s mascot is the anteater. Peter the Anteater. Another good reason not to have an ant as your mascot–especially if you’re in the same division…

Some ants form “supercolonies,” massive communities of ants that can stretch for thousands of miles. It’s possible they have learned to travel very quickly from one location to another (inside our house they travel practically at the speed of light—or more specifically at the speed of “someone get that ant!”).  It is therefore possible that in the ant biomass census, scientists counted the same ant multiple times.

I totally now have the heebie jeebies. Blech.

A little later the yellow-possibly-feral cat slinked slank slunk happened to pass by. This was much more interesting and—now on high alert—Booker went chasing after the cat. As Dad said, the only thing he actually caught was a glimpse of fleeing feline.

Just remember, kid—it is fine to go chasing after things you can’t possibly catch in life. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you can climb a tree if you’re a dog. (I just made that up. You may feel free to quote me.)

Love, Mom

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