The Antithesis of a relaxing bath

Gah, I just had a second wonderful long bath ruined by inconsiderate ants. Nothing is better for insomnia but reading in a nice long bath (I’ve noticed we’re both a little rank lately so the longer the better really). I borrowed Clive Barker’s Galilee from the Chills guys, and after a dozen afternoons in the hammock and a few long sleepless nights, there is no sign of nearing the end of it. It’s… well it’s a long book anyway. Good weight to price ratio I guess.

So after like five hours of turning my toes to prunes and remarking at the amount of gunk in the water that wasn’t there when I got in, I’m finally feeling peaceful and sleepy enough to go to bed. I get out, towel off, and spy a blurry line on the wall opposite.

Red ant on cornflower bud by Lord V
I didn’t take this,
I only wish I did
I get closer – no glasses – ants! And of course it would be those nasty red guys; they bite like a bitch if they get between your toes, unlike the mostly harmless tiny ones that seem omnipresent here and don’t form lines so much as spontaneously generate on an abandoned food source. I don’t know how the red ones got there and I don’t know what they expect to find, but they’ve been foraging like this around the bathroom for weeks. This time the line seems a little denser, so I follow it to see if they’ve finally found something.

The ant conga goes up around the shower then across the wall, passing behind my toiletries bag that is hanging from a hook there. I see a few of them on one corner of the bag where it touches the wall and I go to brush them off with my hand. This is when the bag – a large black travel bag with zippered compartments – finally comes into focus.

It is fucking crawling with the little devils. The line on the wall is maybe four ants abreast, but there are hundreds upon hundreds crawling over the face of the bag looking for an opening. Ug, I realize, I’d put an opened Halls package in there the other day after I found an ant investigating it. I disloge a bunch of them with a brush and unzip a corner of the biggest compartment to confirm the worst. What the hell, did they decide to move their whole nest in there or what??

And so my wrath was upon them! I sprayed that bitch down with the shower, sending thousands of ants running furiously away. Thinking I’d got most I grabbed the bag by the hook, then realized almost too late that they were hiding on the underside – coating it like a shiny undulating mat – as they came running up the hook to my hand.

Red ant attacks by AlieN
I didn’t take this either,
but this is how pissed they were
Cunning maneouver, yes, but nothing against one who has mastered the use of tools! I sprayed it down again then used a mop handle to move the mess into a bucket and put it outside on the deck. I considered freezing the bastards as I do sometimes (it is most effective on the tiny guys if you don’t mind a little anty “seasoning” on your salvaged food) but it was too big. I’m just hoping they’ll all have wandered away by morning, unless their queen really is in there snacking on ginger Halls.

Yes, I did consider taking a picture before I gave them the hose, but I had such a reaction of sickness and anger to the squirming mess that I acted in kind of a rage. I don’t know why ants get me like that… I guess it must be the same way it is with spiders. I really like most insects and would usually be happy to sit and watch such an example of nature’s ingenuity, or what have you. But when they’re all over, and in your stuff like that, not to mention on your skin and biting you (only one bite on my foot this time luckily, and he suffered greatly for it).

Erg, I get the shutters just thinking of it. I’m still finding the bloody things crawling on me (or at least feeling them). I am sooo happy I didn’t go looking for lip balm or something and blindly stick my hand in the bag before I saw them; I can’t belive how fast they can coat your skin when they are pissed off. And I swear they wait until one ant gives the signal for them all to bite at once. I’m more okay when this happens out in the woods, but Sarah will not abide their presence in her home!


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