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5.24.02 Invasion

My heart is still pounding from an early morning ant chase as I discovered they were having a convention in my coffee maker.

The mild, dry winter followed by a cool, damp spring is a great formula for bugs. While I appreciate the contribution of ants to the biosphere, they don't belong in my kitchen.

Every two or three years the big busy wood ants decide to move in with us. They usually disappear after I set ant traps and spray the threshold of the porch door with insecticide, but this year they are vexing me. My ant traps are left over from last year -- they must be defunct.

Their habits and their goals defy me. For some reason they are making a path across the soffit between the porch door and over the stove and sink, high and vertical. Maybe it is the path of smart survivors -- the ones on the floor are too quickly squished. But apparently they decided they like herb tea, which was what I had last used the coffee-maker for. Or maybe the dark dampness reminded them of home.

The last time I had such an emotional face-off with these critters was in Bali, 1997...

This note was in my trip journal:

Our room is air conditioned but our bathroom is not. The bathroom sort of melds with the outdoors. It's fine except that it attracts giant ants, who then march exploring into the bedroom. Last night I went on an ant rampage and smashed as many as I could find before going to bed because the thought of them tracking around made me, well, antsy. But then I had a sleepless night. I've decided it was the spirit of all those Daughters of Durga that I'd annihilated come back to haunt me. The Hindu philosophy of this place is sinking in, I guess. So tonight I talk to the ants and make a deal: you can live as long as you stay out of my bed.

Well, that was mystical Hindu paradise. In Rochester we like our creatures in their proper place... or else.

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