Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I have always admired ants. I love the way they organize themselves into teams to get the job done. I love the way they leave an invisible scent trail behind so they can follow each other in a straight line. I love the way they communicate with each other by touching antennae. I love the way they can lift a billion times their weight. And I love the way they send out little scouts to find food, returning with a report of some new tasty treat that the queen will love.

In my house, however, I absolutely detest ants with every fiber of my being. They are disgusting little scavengers. They can’t be killed fast enough. They overtake the tiniest crumb left on the floor and then they scamper all over the kitchen without even a polite “Please, sir, can I have some more?”

I live on the very edge of suburbia. My back yard opens up to a lake-front development, whose homeowner association demands money of me every year, offering me a swimming pool in return, which I have yet to ever visit. My front yard opens to a hay field and other assorted agriculture beyond. Being on the frontier of civilization means that I occasionally have to tangle with miscellaneous vermin attempting to invade my domain.

None of them are as hideous as the ants.

My front porch is especially susceptible to their advances. Ants don’t eat good wood, but they sure love the taste of decaying carbon life forms. Through an unfortunate mixture of building code violations and generally bad engineering, I have needed to replace several boards on my front porch as they rot away. And each time I discover a new board that has “bit the dust” under a million layers of paint, I have discovered a nest of ants that have decided to take up a tasty residence inside. Evil, nasty creatures they are.

And somewhere — I still haven’t found it — there is a crack between my deck and my dining room. Every once in a while, a scout ant finds his way through that crack and starts snooping around in my kitchen. If he finds the smallest morsel available to him, it’s only a matter of hours before he has summoned a million of his brothers to form a conga line and enjoy the feast.

This isn’t intended to be a commercial, but I’ll swear, there is one and only one product that does any good. Forget the traps, forget the sprays, forget the bait. If you have ants like I do, get a tiny bottle of Terro Ant Killer. You have to get the bottle; the traps by the same name are worthless.

You get a three-ounce bottle of a thick, clear liquid, about the consistency of molasses. Put a drop of that stuff on a small piece of cardboard or paper and place it directly in the path of the ants. As soon as they discover it, the magic occurs. Their first reaction is, “Wow, this is really good stuff!” Kinda like the first time you discovered Krispy Kream donuts. They stand there and suck it up like pigs eating Twinkies. Man, it’s a sight to behold.

Their next reaction is to race home and tell all their brothers. Of course, in the process, they take home a present to their mom. And bang! Overnight the whole colony looks like the day after a frat party with no hope of recovery. A sweet sight to behold.

I keep a bottle of that stuff in my kitchen. If I see even one stray ant, I whip out the bottle and I make sure he “discovers” the meal I have created for him. I can’t afford to let them get out of control. No tolerance. One ant equals a drop of Terro.

Remember that name: “Terro Ant Killer”. They didn’t pay me for this endorsement, but maybe they should.

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