Wednesday, July 8, 2009

• Ant Attack

Now I could cope when they were only in my little garden at the side of the caravan. I even put up with the fact that when watering the roses they invaded my Crocs and bit my feet, injecting their stinging formalin, because I was told they eat the aphids. However, I knew that as we lived in a caravan with many small holes underneath to admit the services, it was only a matter of time before the army of ants found their way inside.

The attack started as a small sortie into the kitchen on Saturday night but as my husband had just brought in some freshly dug potatoes from our vegetable plot, I thought maybe they had come in on the bottom of the bucket; besides we were going out to see our favourite local band, Giri and I didn’t have time to investigate thoroughly.

Imagine my shock and horror on our return well after midnight to find the kitchen had been thoroughly invaded by the creatures. The scouting party had gone back to base and told all their comrades in arms that there were rich pickings to be had and led millions of them back to our kitchen. They were processing along the worktops, marching over the cooker and the sink and climbing the walls. I tell you they were not the only ones climbing the walls, as metaphorically so was I. It was late at night, I was tired from boogying and wanted my bed. The last thing I needed was to make a counter attack on a load of ants.

I moved everything edible, sprayed all the surfaces, washed away the corpses and went to bed with a sigh of relief but that was not he end of it. Oh no!

I awoke the next morning and on taking out the packet oats to make our usual healthy breakfast of porridge, I found the next wave had invaded the food store; they were all over the honey, in the ketchup and covering ever other jar and packet in a black frenetic wave. I had to remove everything, get out the fly spray again, and after a successful hiss of nasty spray, clear away yet more corpses, clean all the foodstuff containers and return them to the cupboard. All this before starting my usual morning routine as outlined in my previous blog, ‘And don’t forget the apple for the pig……….’

Feeling more confident that this was an end to the ant invasion and having fed and watered the livestock, I took our Bernese Mountain Dog, Berto to have his summertime sheering at the dog parlour. It’s too hot here to leave his coat in it’s usual lush state over summer so although he looks a bit odd he is more comfortable once it has been shaved off.

Little did I realise that ants don’t give up that easily and even after the annihilation of thousands of their buddies they still came back for more. This time they were in the dry store cupboard, marching all over the flour and invading the open bag of sugar, which I had to throw out. This was getting past a joke so after looking in the English to Spanish dictionary to find out how to say ant powder, which I learned is polvo mortar hormigas (powder to kill ants) I hot foot it to the Fereteria (iron mongers). I had only got as far as saying ‘polvo’ when the man behind the counter finished my sentence by saying ‘para hormigas’ (for ants) at which point I realised I was not alone and that there must be a local epidemic.

Armed with the bag of killer powder I planned my attack. The instructions on the packet said, ‘don’t use in the presence of domestic animals’ so I bided my time until after dark when the dogs and cats were indoors and settled for the night.

After making a shaker out of a jam jar with holes in the lid I snuck out under cover of darkness and covered the ground all around and under the caravan with the deadly poison paying particular attention to all the places through which they could climb inside. I went to bed with dreams of final success.

Joy of joys by next morning there was not an ant to be seen in the caravan or its immediate environs.

Now I’m not unreasonable and I’m happy to share our 20,000 square metres of land with many creatures wild and domesticated but everyone including ants must learn the boundaries and STAY OUT OF MY KITCHEN.

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