Our yard is covered with very mature trees. Approximately 20, if I recall correctly. (I only remember from counting when I had to meet with the tree commission years ago about how “we are all going to die” if I didn’t replace the two dead pine trees I removed from the end of my driveway. Because, as we all know, dead trees produce the oxygen we breathe. Without these dead trees, the oxygen levels in our town would reach critical levels, wiping out the entire population.) As such, we are prime real estate for carpenter ant colonies.
We had issues with a minor invasion right after we moved into the house. An exterminator was called, who dealt with the very large nest right outside our door. After he was attacked by several battalions trying to fight him off, they were vanquished. We have seen one or two foraging in the house occasionally. Outside of that, they have not made any appearances.
This morning, I was awakened by my wife, who was in the kitchen. It was 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, so the timing was perfect. She said there were about a hundred ants swarming in the kitchen. I came downstairs expecting to see about 10. Unfortunately, she was not exaggerating.
The 4-year-old’s grandma likes to spoil her. This means getting her all kinds of little treats. Miniscule toys that a grown adult would have trouble keeping track of. Yet, somehow, she manages to know where every one of these microscopic toys is at all times, directing you to their exact location, should one be left behind at bedtime. Books. And candy. A rock candy sucker was the culprit behind this morning’s insurgence.
There were probably 30 or so ants inside the package the sucker was in. The other 70-ish ants were meandering about the counter. Keep in mind, these aren’t the little tiny ants most people probably imagine. These are carpenter ants. Some were almost as large as the 4-year-old’s tiny toys she takes to bed.
How does that sucker taste without oxygen?
My wife grabbed a chip clip and sealed off the plastic bag containing the sucker and the main detachment. “I’ll suffocate the little f-ers!” she said, with vengeance. (She probably didn’t actually say that. But I’m sure it was something as badass as yelling “Something cool!” as you throw a grenade into a helicopter. Side note: Can you suffocate ants? My initial thought was no, but now I’m not so sure. Side side note: I didn’t actually read any of the results in that search. If you happen to, please let me know.)
I went to the garage to grab the “Home Defense” container of ant killer/repellant. As I returned to the counter with the gallon sized jug of liquid death, the ants scattered. I opened fire. As the poison hit the ants, they scurried in vain. “It’s a trap!”
Many made it to the edge of the counter. Most did not stop there. They leapt to the floor. These ants were so large that you could hear a dull “thud” as they landed on the floor. And it came at rapid fire pace as they all scrambled to escape the inevitable.
I watched as they ran away, many dragging useless hind legs, trying to find their entry path. For some reason, most of them headed towards the living room. This would be the longest path for them to take to get to the kitchen, considering the sliding door mere inches from the counter. I continued spraying. They slowed down. Those that were more persistent were rewarded with the sole of the shoe sitting next to the table.
The next several minutes were spent wiping up the pools of ant napalm and carcasses. I went through an astonishing amount. We washed off the sprayed areas to make sure we didn’t leave any residue. As we cleaned up, I kept my eyes open for any stragglers, still hoping to find from whence they came.
As we finished, my wife said, “There’s one on the wall there,” pointing to the wall above the counter. I looked up to see one lone ant crawling down the wall, headed toward the scene of the carnage.
He had a look on his face as if to say, “Hey, where is everyone?” Then I smashed him.