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.”
And 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.