I Get Along With Them.

This weekend my wife and I were cleaning off the patio and under old grill I found a giant colony of ants. They all started running around, most carrying eggs, and I imagined them screaming, “Save the women and children! Save the women and children! What do you mean we’re all women?” because all worker ants are technically female, something we men should keep in mind. In ant colonies it’s women who bring home the bacon, and the leftover sandwich that someone left on the ground, and the last miniscule contents still clinging to the inside of a tuna fish can.

Actually the first thing that happened was the smell of formic acid hit me and I had a flashback to the first time I saw the movie THEM! and wondered how hard it could be to find giant ants in Los Angeles. I’ve since been to Los Angeles and it seems entirely plausible. Without a GPS I’m not sure we could have found our hotel and it was significantly bigger than even a giant mutant ant, but that’s another story.

And then I remembered this that I made after I heard about the death of Milton Levine, inventor of the ant farm. I didn’t find the queen but I did my best to save the women and children, sweeping them up and moving as many as I could to a back corner of the yard where I hope they’ll stay. And hopefully not turn into giant mutants. It’s a long way to downtown Los Angeles.

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13 Comments

  1. Laura - CaledonAcres

    I’ve always been somewhat* interested in ant cities and how people build them and study them.

    I am the superstitious type and it is said that if you kill ants rain will follow (a bad thing), so as a kid I was careful to not step on them while out on walks 😀 I can’t say the same about now when I find the random one lost in my kitchen…

    *I say somewhat because I’ve never looked further than what the TV showed during a documentary…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      They are fascinating creatures. I’ve never heard the superstition that killing ants will bring down rain before, but that seems like a good reason to avoid killing them. When I was a kid some of my more sadistic friends would burn ants with a magnifying glass. Since that requires sunlight it seems like it could potentially bring rain.

      Reply
  2. Chuck Baudelaire

    I hate ants. I’m not crazy about bugs in general, but ants piss me off. I don’t enjoy killing God’s creatures, but I’m pretty sure ants were created by a medieval alchemist who was trying to synthesize gold but spilled some sugar during the process and made the first ants.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      For some reason you just reminded me of fire ants which I think are the offspring of a hideous curse. I think they’re the wasps of the ant genus. If you knock over most ant hills the ants will just scurry around and rebuild but fire ants will come after you. For them it’s personal. They hold a grudge.
      It also sounds like you’re carrying the lingering influence of having read Leiningen Versus The Ants.

      Reply
  3. Spoken Like A True Nut

    This gave me flashbacks of the Deep Space Homer episode of the Simpsons.

    Reply
    1. Chuck Baudelaire

      I for one welcome our ant overlords…NOT!!!

      Reply
    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You discovered my secret. The real reason I saved them has nothing to do with childhood. It’s because I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Mayonnaise and honey is pretty gross, Chris. I’m proud to be part of your colony.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      To us mayonnaise and honey is pretty gross but I can’t imagine why ants wouldn’t find it an appealing combination. They’ve been known to eat worse things.

      Reply
  5. Sarah

    I haven’t been able to read many blogs this week, so I’m just catching up now! You’ve been busy–that’s great! 🙂 Okay, so you literally transported these ants and SAVED THEIR LIVES? I wish I could say I would have done the same thing. But, truth be told, I most likely would have stepped on as many as I could and then got a big bucket of water and wiped out the rest. I have nothing serious against ants, but mass quantities of them freak me out. Also, I saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids…and did you see the ant in that movie?? Of course, it eventually led them back to the house after they started using it for transportation. But, still.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Don’t ask what possessed me to save the lives of the ants. I’m pretty tolerant of most creepy-crawly things but normally that many ants all together give me the jibblies. But I just wanted them away from the house.
      I know I saw Honey I Shrunk The Kids years ago but I think I forgot it all about as soon as I walked out of the theater. I remember something about Rick Moranis eating Cheerios and Arsenio Hall calling it “Mom I Ate The Kids”, but that’s about it. There is this, though, on the subject of shrink rays.

      Reply
  6. Michelle

    We have ants troop into the house quite regularly in summer – they come in their favourite window in the master bathroom, then through our bedroom, the library and climb inside the island bench and raid the bin. I don’t spray them because they only come in before a big rain – they climb the poles into our house like it’s a tree, where their tiny ant brains very wisely tell them to go for refuge from flooding. They don’t eat much. And they certainly encourage me to clean up food messes straight away!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s an advantage of ants I never thought of: they encourage you to clean up food messes. Although they also leave little ant chemical trails that their little ant brains will tell them to follow even when the food is long gone. That seems to be what makes them so hard to get rid of. They’re like stray dogs. Feed them once and they’ll keep coming back.

      Reply

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