I remember when I first moved to Georgia and became acquainted with the fresh hell that is the palmetto bug (motto: we’re too genteel to admit we’re roaches!), at some point as I sat huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth and trying to find my happy place, I had this vaguely reassuring thought about how “at least they don’t have those awful little house ants.”
You know the ones I’m talking about, right? Every summer in New England, there would be a beautiful morning when you would wake up, listen to the birds chirping, go downstairs, and discover that your entire kitchen was now covered in ants. And let’s not even talk about that time when I was in grad school in California and I’d come home after a long day, flopped down on the couch with a box of Cheerios, and was on maybe my third or fourth handful when I discovered the entire box was FILLED WITH ANTS. (I am involuntarily writhing in disgust, just remembering it.) Palmetto bugs are at least easy to spot and completely unapologetic about how gross they are. Plus they tend to travel alone. But those tiny ants are all DUDES, PARTY THIS WAY, I FOUND A CRUMB! And suddenly you’re tracing the ant railroad from your kitchen counter, up the wall, along the ceiling, around the corner, and out the door.
But at least here in the south we have a Bug Guy, so no biggie, right? Uh, right. Except for the part where he’s not like Batman or anything, and after I make the HELP, WE’RE DROWNING IN ANTS phone call, we still have to wait a day for him to come spray (again).
So, um, yeah. The Bug Guy is coming tomorrow.
A couple of times this weekend we found a few ants in places they didn’t belong, and by “places they didn’t belong” I of course mean “anywhere inside.” One night they were all over the counter in the kids’ bathroom, so we drowned them in ant spray and then cleaned the bathroom the next morning. And one day they were congregating at the far end of the kitchen, on a windowsill by the table. Again, liberal dousing with ant spray, and I went through and cleaned thoroughly the next day. But we all knew what was coming, I suppose.
[Sidebar: What I really enjoy about having a Bug Guy, other than saying that I have a Bug Guy, is that in the six years I’ve lived here, we’ve had maybe four different Bug Guys—all the same company, just personnel changes or whatever—and all four Bug Guys talk about pest eradication like they really care about it, deeply. I like a person who’s dedicated to their job like that. And furthermore, every time we have a problem with ants, WITHOUT FAIL, the Bug Guy comes and tells me why the ants have come inside. I do not ask, mind you. They just volunteer this information because it’s important. So when it’s dry outside and we have ants, the Bug Guy comes and clucks his tongue and tells me that they’re coming in looking for water. And when it’s been rainy like it has been this summer, he comes in and clucks and tells me they’re trying to get out of the wet. WHICH IS IT, BUG GUY? How can ants come inside both to find water AND to stay dry? I never knew that ants were such a conundrum. Tell you what, though—if the Bug Guy comes tomorrow and says, “Hell if I know why they come inside. Probably because they’re aggravating little fuckers,” then I will give him an enormous cash tip. Pinky swear.]
So this morning I stumbled through breakfast and coffee with one eye open, and then a little bit later I returned to the kitchen to put some food in the slow cooker. I always feel very virtuous when I’m preparing dinner early in the morning, you know, and there had been this huge sale on ribs when I went grocery shopping yesterday, so I was feeling DOUBLY smug, because 1) early dinner prep and 2) delicious pork, and I wrestled with this enormous slab of animal to trim and cut it, first, and then I opened up the cabinet to start assembling spices for a rub, and…
… ANTS! The cabinet was overrun.
Nothing destroys smug like ants. Ants are the opposite of smug. Having ants in the kitchen makes me feel like a dirty, terrible housekeeper, even though I’m not, and EVERYONE has ants, and I know this, but still: INSECTS IN MY FOOD PLACE. BAD TOUCH.
My solution to this problem? Scream loudly, first of all. That totally helps. Then I smushed the ants which were crawling on the brown sugar canister, because I needed the brown sugar (obviously). Then I simply relocated my ribs operation to the kitchen counter furthest from the ant party and finished assembling my spice rub, dressing the meat, and setting it to cook. Then I called the Bug Guy to arrange for him to come tomorrow, and told my husband that I was squicked out and was going to stay far away from the kitchen.
As of this writing, Otto has not only completely emptied the afflicted kitchen cabinets, killed all the ants, vacuumed, and wiped down everything that was in there, he’s talking about rearranging the pantry because “it’s a mess” and “we keep talking about making things more accessible and optimizing where everything is.” I allowed as to how that was a great idea but I was pretty busy today, and he assured me he could take care of the whole thing, he just needs to run out for some more shelf liner, first, and then he’ll get to work on it.
Don’t tell him I said so, but this whole Antpocalypse thing is actually working out pretty well for me so far. Evidently the ants come inside because they’re appalled that my canned goods aren’t alphabetized and there’s expired spaghetti sauce way in the back of the pantry. I mean, probably they checked to make sure Otto was off work before they came in, right? So considerate.