Thursday, January 20, 2011

travels with my ants

I was watching and listening to Dorothy Loudon's rendition of Losing My Mind and You Could Drive a Person Crazy on Wednesday night. 

The woman could convey madness with a glance.  Carol Channing with a Norma Desmond complex.

And I was just about there along with her this week.

We have been battling leaf cutter ants around here for the past month.  Not just a nest here and there.  We have ant condominiums.

For those of you who have not dealt with these devils, you cannot possibly know how aggravating they are.  For those of you who have (and I know several of you have blogged on the topic), you can sit in the amen corner.

First, let me make on thing perfectly clear (as the opaque Richard Nixon liked to say).  I admire ants.  I like ants.  I even love some ants.  They are an amazing social machine.  And these leaf cutters are unique in their determination to survive. 

A single nest can strip an entire bush of leaves in one night.  I wish I had a better camera to show how magnificent their lines of battle are.  Carrying their leaf trophies, they look like triumphant legionnaires returning to Rome with Celtic plunder.

But what I admire is what signs their death warrants.  Because they are so efficient at stripping leaves, they inevitably attack a plant in the garden that is the visible result of a gardener's love and nurturing.  Tamper there and there is a good death for you.

The problem is that these ant colonies are harder to kill than a vampire.  I have tried powdered poisons, poisoned nuggets to be taken back to the nest by foolish workers, and even the ultimate frustration weapon: Raid.

I have dead ants all over the place.  But they seem to keep right on coming.

I was feeling a bit smug on Wednesday night -- thinking I had wiped out all of the nests in the yard and around the malecon.  To celebrate, I invited The Professor out for dinner at Melaque's best restaurant.

The walk home was made easy by one of the brightest full moons I have seen in a couple of months.

As I walked along, I keep thinking of words associated wit the moon.  Lunatic.  Lunacy.  Things like that.

The words were prophetic.  Because when I got back to the house, the ants were taking advantage of the lit night.  Line after line of them.

I half-heartedly dropped a few pellets for them to take home to their young.  And went to bed.

There is time enough to fight that war.  If I spend any more time thinking about the ants, I will be doing my own Dorothy Loudon impersonation.

Note:  If you want to see the late great star performer in action, you can watch her at:


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