Sunday, June 9, 2013



I have been at war for the past week. For a while I was losing the battle, but now I think I’m finally winning.

It all began when I dozed off on the sofa the other night while watching TV. When I woke up, I felt a pain in my mouth, on the inside of my cheek. I ran my tongue over the painful area and felt something unusual – kind of like two hard bumps.  

Puzzled, I headed to the bathroom mirror and checked out my mouth. There, attached to the inside of my cheek, was a big black ant.  After I jumped around and screamed for a few seconds, I removed the ant and gave it a burial at sea (well, septic tank). I figured I must have fallen asleep with my mouth open and the ant crawled in. Then I must have shut my mouth and held it captive. I don’t know what the critter was doing in its attempt to get free, but it felt as if it had used an ice pick and a hatchet. 

The incident left me feeling so paranoid, I pictured myself waking up with ants between my teeth the next morning. I even contemplated duct taping my mouth shut when I went to bed that night.  But I quickly dismissed that idea when I figured the ants probably would take and alternate route and climb up my nose instead.

I finally convinced myself that the ant in my mouth had been just an isolated incident – that it was a loner that had become lost and disoriented and probably had smelled the peanut-butter cookies on my breath and crawled in.

The next night, I took a basket of clothes into the laundry room so I could do a load of washing. When I flicked on the light, I stopped and gasped. Ants were scrambling everywhere – up the walls, across the floor, into the sink, swinging on the chandelier (OK, so I don’t have a chandelier in the laundry room). The place had been transformed into party central for ants.  I ran and grabbed the flyswatter, then spent the next 15 minutes swinging it at everything that moved.

I then checked on the Internet to see if there was a natural method in which to get rid of ants. The thought of spraying the house with pesticides didn’t appeal to me. One website said that ants would not cross a line made of cinnamon. Another said they wouldn’t cross a chalk line. So I rushed down to the store and bought a big can of cinnamon and box of chalk.

When I got home, I proceeded to draw chalk circles everywhere in the laundry room. Then I filled the circles with cinnamon. It wasn’t long before a few ants appeared. I sat there, holding my breath, waiting for them to approach the chalk and cinnamon, and then make a hasty retreat back to wherever it was they’d come from.

The ants walked right across the chalk lines and then through the cinnamon. And when my dogs came in and sniffed the cinnamon, they ended up having a sneezing contest. I spent the next 20 minutes sweeping up the mess.

So I went to the hardware store and bought three different brands of ant bait with really fierce names like “Ant Combat,” “Deadex” and “The Enforcer.” All three said they were guaranteed to kill an entire colony. The ants were supposed to take some of the poisonous bait back to their queen and feed it to her. When she croaked, all the other ants also would croak because their whole reason for living – serving their beloved queen – would be gone.  Sounded good to me.

The directions said to locate the ants’ point of entry and put the bait there. It said it would be easy to find their trail because they would be following each other in a line from wherever they were entering – kind of like an ant safari.

Well, I don’t know which sadist wrote those directions saying finding the trail would be easy, because after pulling the washer and dryer away from the wall and crawling behind there, and then removing everything from the cabinets under the laundry sink and wedging myself under there, I was ready to feed the guy some of his own ant bait.

I finally located what I figured was the ants’ point of entry – an area in the back corner of the inside of the cabinet under the sink, where I thought I saw a couple ants’ heads poking out. I plunked down all three brands of ant bait there. Then I waited.

It wasn’t long before a procession of ants approached the bait – and I smacked them with the flyswatter.  That’s when it dawned on me that if I swatted them, they couldn’t very well take the bait back to their queen. So I forced myself to just sit there and do nothing – which was torture.  I mean, allowing anything smaller than a dog to crawl around my house was completely against my nature.

I finally decided I’d probably feel less stressed if I didn’t watch the ants. So as a distraction, I went out to the kitchen to have a snack – a toasted blueberry bagel. I took the brand new package of bagels out of the cupboard and immediately noticed something strange about them.

The blueberries were moving.

The package was full of ants.  That did it. The ants could party in my laundry room, crawl into my mouth, or swing like Tarzan from the rafters, but when it came to messing with my blueberry bagels, well, that was the final straw. The battle was about to turn into a full-scale war.

The irony of the situation was that just the week before, I had found dozens of dead bugs in my garage and had wondered what mysterious force had killed them all. Now I was wishing that whatever it was would make a return appearance and take care of the ants.

I knew that if the ants were coming in through the cabinet under the sink, then their main nest – and the Queen Mother – had to be somewhere in the basement. And seeing that the only living things in the basement have six legs or more, I decided it wouldn’t hurt anything if I sprayed some ant killer down there in the area directly beneath the laundry room.

So that’s what I did, cackling fiendishly as I sprayed. And I haven’t seen an ant in the house since.

Now, I just have to deal with the hornets’ nest in my mailbox.




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