Saturday, August 11, 2007

ANTS!! They're taking over the world

In my entry about our trip to Charleston I mentioned that we only really encountered one real problem -- ANTS!

Now, I'm not afraid of bugs. In fact, I'll pick up just about any kind of bug I come across. Well, let me clarify that I don't just go around picking up random bugs, but now that I've got kids I do pick them up occasionally so that we can examine them. For science, you know. The only kind of bug that I despise -- and I'm not really sure it counts as a bug -- is a spider. Ughh! Hate 'em. I hate the way all 8 legs move independently of each other -- completely weirds me out. But I try to be fair even to spiders. We have a rule -- if he's outside, he can live. If he's inside, he must die.

And I'm trying to teach my kids not to be afraid of bugs, but that's actually harder than you'd think it would be. You can't just say "All bugs are okay" because they're not. You don't want your kids to pick up just any old thing, right? What if it were a scorpion? Or a cockroach? ((shudder)). But you don't want them to be deathly afraid of every little six legged critter they come across either. It's a very fine line you have to walk.

It's been hardest with ants. In the first house we lived in when we moved back to the area we had fire ants. And it doesn't take but once getting stung by one of those to terrify a child forever. Bubba was only about 16 months old when we moved back and he quickly learned to spot ants wherever they were, whether they were just regular old black ants or fire ants.

In that house, and in this one too, we had quarterly pest control visits. And EVERY time, about a week after the guy comes to the house, we are OVERRUN with ants inside the house. And so we have to call and have the guy come back out and retreat. EVERY TIME. You'd think that by this time the guy would just go ahead an put out the ant traps when he comes for the quarterly treatment. But no. I guess hope springs eternal even in a jaded pest control employee.

So anyway, we picked up the camper from my dad about a 5 days before our actual trip and we parked it beside our driveway. When Mr. Daddy went out the next day to open it up and air it out, the thing was COVERED in ants. If you accidentally bumped the camper the ants would come boiling out, running in circles like something you'd see in those "Insects Attack" nature shows. I mean, you've never seen so many ants. Or seen a Mr. Daddy lose it quite so spectacularly in the front yard. To say that both of us are just over ants would be an understatement. So, I got the broom and Mr. Daddy got the 409 (which works wonders on killing ants, by the way) and we managed to get rid of them all. We moved the camper into the middle of driveway and put ant poison around all of the wheels and all was well with the world.

On Thursday night, Mr. Daddy, being the super efficient person that he is, went ahead and hooked the camper up to my Jeep Liberty. Friday morning we left in the pitch black and it wasn't until an hour or so down the road that we noticed our entire car was crawling with ants. The ants had used the hitch from the camper to the Jeeps as their little ant bridge and had taken up residence in my car. Anybody with children's carseats knows how many crackers, cheerios and general crud gathers underneath. It was like an all you can eat buffet for the ants. And poor Punkin' -- she's still slightly scared of ants -- she was trapped in her car seat with ants crawling all around her. "The bike me, they bike me" she cried. We stopped and managed to kill all the ones we could see and finally continued on our way.

During the trip we continued to see the random ant or two, but we managed to smush them as we encountered them and we even taught Punkin' to do the same. We'd be riding along and hear her pipe up from the backseat "SMUSH!" and know that another one bit the dust. But on the way home -- good grief! We stopped for lunch, and as I mentioned, it was about a thousand degrees that day so when we got back in the car Mr. Daddy turned the air on high. All of sudden he looked down and he was covered in ants. They were blowing out of the air vent! Now, it's not exactly like having a bee in the car, but having ants crawling all over you is still a very disconcerting feeling. I know because it happened to me again on Monday night. It's a good thing there was no highway patrol around either time because I'm sure we would have been stopped on suspicion of DUI. We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned the car and I even have ant bait traps under my seats. We seem to have gotten rid of most of them, but I still see the occasional ant.

People always say that cockroaches will be the only thing to survive a nuclear attack, but I think that ants are going to do them one better and just go ahead and take over. But my family, we'll be ready for them. SMUSH!


Laurel said...

Freaky! I've never really encountered biting ants until we moved here to Mesa. My kids are terrified of ants because they've been bitten so many times by "sugar ants." Little tiny, black ones that look innocent but pack a whollop. I hate them! And any animal--even cute ones--in large numbers freak me out. I don't think I would have come home sane from your trip. You're a brave lady.

Mir said...

Uuuuuuuugh reading that made my skin crawl. Must go shower.

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