Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ants In My Pants

...or rather, my T-shirt.

In addition to the small, black ants we usually have around the property, this summer we have been dealing with red ants.  They are larger and more aggressive.  My first encounter with one was when I was weeding the raised beds along the driveway wearing flip-flops.  I felt a pinching, stinging sensation on the top of my big toe.  When I looked down, I spotted a red ant.  When I tried to fling it off, it stuck.  I had to pick it off by hand.  

This afternoon, I was out and about, securing some tomato plants, replanting squash (again), digging out a dahlia dying of mysterious causes (water-logged?  Frost-bitten?), and hoeing the peas.  I came inside to have a drink and felt what I thought was my bra pinching.  I ignored it, until "it" pinched harder, in a different place, and then pinched again.  Off came the T-shirt and I started batting at the area where I felt the pinching.  Some kind of bug fell to the floor.  I thought that was it, until I felt another pinch.  Off came the bra, and I had to really whack the second critter because it had a good hold on me.  Onto the bathroom counter fell a big ant.

How are these things are getting under my top and into my unmentionables?  Crawling all the way up my leg and then my shirt sleeve?!  *shudder*   I have red marks under my arm and along my ribs where they got me.

These menaces have also taken over one of our compost bins.  Open the side hatch, and out falls dozens and dozens of them, along with their pupae.  Delightful.  The way a horror movie is delightful.  That is to say, NOT AT ALL.  We have been using copious amounts of diatomaceous earth to try to keep their numbers down.  I'm not sure it's working.  We could use poison, but then we wouldn't be able to use that compost and would have to dispose of it.  I hope they stay confined to that bin until mid winter, when we can drag the contents out in -35 degree weather.  Hoping to high heaven they don't/won't hibernate in there.

Time to do some online research.

Butters, my assistant for the afternoon:

Here are some pictures I took just before 4am this morning.  I should have waited until 4:30am, when the sun was up and shining brightly!

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