If you added up all my blogposts since 2003, you’d have something like 7,200 separate articles. Only about 650 are actually searchable on morganica.com right now. Tried to import the rest, but so far can’t figure out a way to do that without spamming the heck out of the 1,500 or so subscribers who asked to be notified when I publish something new. So…for the time being I’m getting reeeeeeealllly picky and just adding in the old posts that tickle my fancy. I’ll publish a couple a week; with luck, I’ll have most of the good stuff on this blog by, say, 2020.

This one is dated June 29, 2012.

This morning started out like any other: Awaken, stumble downstairs for coffee, get attacked by ants…

Ouch. Huh?

Yup. They’re baaaaaaack. A few hundred tapinoma sessile were investigating my kitchen counter, apparently in a very bad mood and perfectly illustrating why kitchen counters should never be made of black granite.

I’d leaned against the counter to pull out the coffee grinder, and they took that as an invitation to swarm my fuzzy dark-colored bathrobe and chomp me on the clavicle.

I let out a howl and invented a whole new form of break-dancing which ended up with my robe in the dining room, my body in the gallery and the ants in full possession of the counter. I moved in with chemical warfare, i.e., the Windex bottle, and cleaned them up, then headed back up to the bathroom to tend my wounds.

I am apparently rather sensitive to ant venom; my collarbone looks like a well-beaten strawberry.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Terro is an unsuccessful ant eradicator.

My friend Tami showed up about an hour later. “…and they were ALL OVER the counter!” I said, still shuddering.

She looked down at the counter and pointed. “Like that?”

About 20 ants skittered across the granite. I shrieked. “I think I know what they’re doing,” she said, “This happened to a client…”

She lifted up the coffee-maker, uncovering about a thousand little antmonsters. Some carried tiny white crumbs, “Ant eggs,” she assured me, “They’re making a nest in your nice warm coffeemaker.”

I lost it. I grabbed the coffeemaker (getting a couple more antbites), opened the door and tossed it, carafe and all, onto the back deck.

Not a proud moment, I’ll admit.

The coffeemaker landed on the wood and exploded, sending coffee grounds out into the pouring rain. I fervently hoped that coffee grounds were toxic to ants and the explosion decimated the ants, their children, and their children’s children. Painfully. (When you get right down to it, I’m just not a nice person)

On the whole, though, I doubted it.

When I returned, dripping wet and covered in coffee grounds, Tami was applying bug spray behind the counter backsplashes. “There’s an open space between the granite and the cabinet, that’s how they’re getting in. I’m just putting poison inside your wall. That’ll take care of them.”

“Uhm…Tami. The last time you fixed my ant problem, the ants simply moved…here.”

“It’ll be FINE. Gee, what is it with you and bugs? You know, the ants were here first, you know.”

“Yeah, but I’m the one here NOW.”

I don’t have a problem with bugs in the wilderness. I LIKE bugs in the wilderness. I take pictures of bugs in the wilderness, coo at their cuteness (as long as they’re not actively attacking or climbing into untoward cavities). If they bite or pinch or stab or whatever it is cute little bugs do, it’s my own bloody fault.

I figure that if I’m dumb enough to commit some buggy social faux pas in their territory, I deserve what I get. But the obverse is equally true: Any bug dumb enough to trespass in MY territory becomes a tiny smear on the wall.

I get that this isn’t an enlightened, peace-loving, sustainably green view of the ecosystem in which I squish. And I do try to be fair. If a bug has been honestly led astray by intemperate companions, or took a wrong turn and wound up in my house screaming “where the hell am I?”, I’ll do my best to help it safely regain the outdoors.

I know that most poor little bugs are simply trying to survive, in their organically multilegged way, and that by eradicating the natural fauna of the house I’m simply opening the door to bigger invaders (like houseguests, I suppose). So it’s not like I truly, really, really TRY to give these guys a break, show them the error of their ways.

Ants, though? Ants I purely don’t give a damn about.* Come into MY kitchen, ant, and you are Dead Chitin Crawling.

Fair warning.

Somehow, though, the ants appear to be winning. Every year I have to eliminate more to keep them at bay.

  • Five years ago all foods–especially sweets–were banned from kitchen counters.
  • Four years ago the cat food started to be served in moats.
  • Three years ago I went to handsoap in bottles instead of bar soap on the sink (ants apparently like eating soap).
  • Two years ago I started using laptops instead of floor-standing desktops.
  • Last year’s ant invasion eliminated sugar from the kitchen (the small packet that’s left for baking and such is kept hermetically sealed in the freezer).

This year’s invasion just eliminated coffee (or at least coffee-makers; I think I’ll look into getting a french press).

Heaven help me if they figure out how to open the fridge or work the microwave.

For most of the day I’ve been working with one hand scratching imaginary bugs and the other clutching the Windex, waiting.

Dead Chitin Crawling, guys. Remember that.

*And silverfish and large spiders in my bed and hornets and scorpions and cockroaches. And centipedes.