Friday, September 18, 2009

Jeepers Creepers, We've Been Invaded!

One of the (many) downsides to hot, dry Texas summers is that the critters often start coming inside in search of both water and an escape from the blistering sun. Everything from rodents to arthropods begin to infiltrate domestic domiciles.

This summer, our house was no exception as all manner of ants began peeking their heads out of various hiding places in search of food and water. We didn't think much about them at first b/c there were only a few who would run around for half a day and then disappear for days on end. One morning though, Dori was very agitated about her food bowl. We thought it was b/c it was empty. But upon further investigation we realized that Dori was upset b/c her food was covered in ants. Derek took care of the army of ants in Dori's food dish with wasp spray, of all things, and we didn't see anymore of that particular type of ant for a while. But we were also careful to move Dori's food bowl everyday and to pick it up if she didn't finish eating promptly.

Ants can crawl around on my cabinets and just generally be pesty without raising the alarm, but when you begin invading the family food supply, well, you've just declared an act of war. So I called out the big guns - Dad and Demon. Dad came over and sprayed the exterior with the kill-all nuke. We opted not to treat the inside b/c of the cats and dog. In the end, this would be our fatal error.

For about five days after the mushroom cloud cleared, we saw nary an ant in the house. It seemed that our resident formicidae had been eliminated. Little did we know that they would soon wage an indoor assault so vicious that we would resort to all manner of "earth-friendly" eradication methods, including but not limited to spreading freshly ground pepper on every surface on which they trod. Each day the enemy sent out battalions of invaders in greater numbers. It wasn't until they besieged the freezer that we finally put up the white flag of surrender. We called ABC Pest Control - enemy, beware!

The folks at ABC were nice as could be. I just wish they didn't have to do a consultation visit before they treat. I mean, when someone calls you and says "HELP - we've been invaded!" it most certainly means that they need your service not just your advice! But whilst we're on the subject, here's how our consult went:

Dude: (As he walks in the kitchen) Oh my .... you have ants!
{REALLY?! I just thought I'd have you come out and tell me if I'm crazy}
Me: I wasn't kidding when I told the receptionist we had a lot of ants.
Dude: (As he's shining the flashlight along the Great Wall of Ants traipsing across my kitchen) Wow ... Oh my ... WOW! I've never seen this many in a kitchen before!
{Huh, me either}
Me: I know. That's why you're here.
Dude: I'm gonna pull some strings and get someone to come out and treat this afternoon.
{You better, dude, b/c I might just have to club you if you don't! I'm tired of getting a glass of ants every time I try to get a glass of water from my fridge!}
Me: That would be great!!!

It was an all-day affair, but in the end, we did have our house treated the same day. But this would not spell the ultimate end of our six-legged invaders. While they dwindled in number that day, they did not cease to send reinforcements in the weeks to follow. On the upside, the troops were no longer marching in formation to surround us. We had blocked all but one path of assault, but they used it with gusto. Naturally, it was the path to the fridge, the little vermin. Each time I went for a glass of water, I continued getting six-legged floaters. Each time we got ice from the freezer, we were met with frozen foe. I resorted to covering the water spigot with self-seal sticky wrap and a rubber band for extra sealage. Take that, foul demons! Of course, each time we went for water, the sticky wrap always got the last laugh, as I'm sure the ants did, as well. It wasn't until they had the gall to begin moving their nest, queens & eggs and all, that I decided we had no choice but to wage a second assault.

So ABC came out a second time. Wouldn't you know the sorry little b*****ds retreated to the foxholes while the guy was there to inspect?! But that did not deter us from planting a mine field. This time we would not be satisfied with merely laying slower-acting powdery poison. No sirree. This time we would lay a trap so foul we knew the enemy would be unable to resist - we put out The Gel. Think Sleeping Beauty, except permanent.

Ah yes, my little formicidae came piling out of the lairs in which they lay hidden. They tackled and elbowed each other in search of the heavenly honey that wafted on the breeze like a temptress from the sea. They lapped up the delicious poison. Some were so greedy in their lust for it that they actually drowned in it and their carcasses had to be carried away by others to make room for the line of hungry others waiting for a turn at the trough. After taking long drinks, they dutifully carried extra back to the minions waiting for dinner in the nest. That's right, my pretties. Share with everyone. There's plenty to go around!

They annihilated one solitary mine. There are many others waiting for any stragglers who may still be hungry. But I can tell you that in one short evening we finished them off. We've seen nary a tiny crawler since. Ah, sweet victory is finally ours!

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