Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Breaker! More Ants!

[The title is a reference to an Australian movie from the 1980's. That movie has absolutely nothing to do with ants. The cabbage does, though.]

The piece I published yesterday, The Ant & The Dishwasher, certainly spurred some of you to lengthy and interesting comments. Some agreed with my general attitude toward insects, while some wholeheartedly applauded MY WIFE for wishing to off the little buggers. I was amused by all, of whatever opinion, but one in particular brought to mind another ant story.

First, the comment, by Eva Gallant, of Wrestling With Retirement:

I had a bout with ants, years ago. We had just moved into a house and my in-laws had come to dinner for my son's first birthday. After dinner, I opened the kitchen cupboard to get the birthday cake, and my baby-blue frosting was black! The cake was covered with little black ants - hundreds of them! I screamed and screamed, and hubby grabbed the cake and threw it out onto the front lawn. No birthday cake that day! Luckily, at 1 year old, my son had no clue what had happened. We ended up getting the exterminators in and they found a huge ant nest in behind the dishwasher. No, no qualms about killing those suckers :-)

Aside from alarming me concerning the possibilities now inherent with my voluntarily having left an ant in my own dishwasher, Eva brought the following memory to mind.

In a previous home, we had ants. No big deal, though. We would see one every so often, but never more than one at a time. Whenever I saw one, I usually just let him be on his antly way. He wasn't bothering me, so why should I bother him?

Well, one evening I had made a New England Boiled Dinner. It was mighty good, too, and mostly finished in a rather expeditious fashion by the two of us. The next day, I had the little bit of leftover ham for a mid-morning snack. All that remained was a decent-sized hunk of boiled cabbage. We then went out on some errand or another.

When we returned home, I saw that I had left the bowl of cabbage on the counter, uncovered, rather than returning it to the refrigerator. And, when I walked over to the bowl, I saw that it was FULL of ants; thousands of them. I guess they really, really, really like cabbage.

Anyway, it made disposal of them quite easy. I took the entire bowl outside and left it there. And I'm delighted to report we had no ants after that - not even a lone straggler - for months. I can only come to one of two possible conclusions:

1 - Cabbage kills ants.

2 - My New England Boiled Dinner kills ants.

In any case, if I ever again find us infested with a large and troublesome colony, I will try to remember this lesson. I will lay out a large bowl of cabbage and see what happens. Rest assured that, when I do, you'll hear about it, in detail.

Soon, with more boiled cabbage (which drawing of, by the way, I got from Uncle Stinky. No, I didn't make that up.)

P.S. It just occurred to me that perhaps the ants all got vicious gas from the cabbage and then exploded. I still don't like killing insects, but if that's what happened, I wish I had seen it.

[Addendum having nothing whatsoever to do with ants: My Darker Gray Friend, Michelle, is having a contest and giveaway over at her place. It's a guessing game. Why not head on over and take a shot? Go HERE to play.]


Eva Gallant said...

As I read this, I could remember that cake with the boiling ants! It was so gross, and there were so many and they were busy moving which made it look like it was a boiling cake....aarrgghhh! Maybe that's why I never have birthday cake today.

Shrinky said...

You may be on to fame and fortune here Jim, your own humane ant expellor - way to go!!

IT said...

New England Boiled Dinner... with a side of Colcannon and Irish Soda Bread. Do you use the round or a brisket?

Aw... man, I'm drooling all over the keyboard.

Oh, from what I know about some kinds of ants, I'm not at all surprised they were attracted to the cabbage. It isn't the cabbage itself, but how it is prepared.

verification word is wookyd

Maggie May said...

I chuckled to think of the ants backfiring themselves to death over cabbage.
Mmmh...... cabbage can have that affect and ants are so tiny that they would explode. Have you tried them with broccoli?

Nuts in May

Ananda girl said...

I have two strikes against me with ants. One, I live in a mobile home, the underside of which makes a perfect winter-over location for ant hills. Two, I live within spitting distance of the dumpster.

Ants are ever present here. You cannot leave an ort of food out or the will come. You bet I'll try your cabbage theory.

Brian Miller said...

backfiring themselves to death...dying sides hurt.

~jill said...

bad visuals of exploding ants...hahahahahahahaha

Uncle Skip, said...

Backfiring Ants WBAGNFARB

My mom used to call corned beef Irish Turkey. Here we celebrate St Pat's like a lot of folks do Thanksgiving, with as much family as we can gather from the distances involved. The ants aren't welcome at either gathering.
I probably wouldn't kill the little suckers except I don't know how to shoo them outdoors.
I suppose washing them down the drain gives them half a chance?

Angie Ledbetter said...

LOL. You're kicking off your Lenten season with a real bang, aren't ya? Like I said on Battle of the Ants Pt. 1, life's just full of little piss ants, isn't it? :)

PS Great idea/entry into my contest today. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I wish you had seen the exploding ants too!

hee hee

slommler said...

Gas exploding ants??!! LOL!!!! I would have liked to see that too!

TechnoBabe said...

Too bad you didn't set a camera out by the bowl of cabbage so you could show on You Tube the exploding ants!

Michelle H. said...

Backfiring ants? The dreams you left for me tonight. I don't know whether to laugh in thankfulness, or curse out your name.

I think I'll laugh. HA!

Karen said...

It must have been the cabbage... yup, probably exploded all over the yard and you missed it. It couldn't have been the NE Boiled Dinner, which I haven't made in ages and now that you've mentioned it, I have to have it! I always put some linguica in mine.

Jeni said...

Last night, while doing something or other in the bathroom, I found myself remembering your earlier post about the ants. We do have a smallish ant problem here but it is mostly contained to the bathroom area. (Probably because the area below the bathroom has a dirt floor and they come in from that seeking the warmth or some such a house may offer.) Anyway, I spied an ant moving about at about the same time as did Fluffer-Nutter, the tom-kitten -who like Sammy the dog insists on following anyone who goes into the bathroom! Seems Fluffer-Nutter has the same approach to ant disposal as you have. He was fascinated initially by the movement of the ant and even did try, sort of, to tap at the ant, to trap it. But when he hit at it a little harder, sort of trying to hit it and step on it at the same time, (and you know how difficult those little buggers can be to kill too, don't you?) apparently the ant got caught up, sort of, in the pads of his paw and was still squirming around a bit there. Fluffer's next move was to rapidly shake that paw about until the ant was dislodged and as it tried to scurry away to safety, out of range of the cat, Flutter-Nutter then decided he had had enough of the ant trapping/killing stuff for one day's work and exited the room quickly. Bet you never thought you'd hear about someone recalling a post of yours while in the bathroom now did ya?

Karen said...

No! The NE Boiled Dinner ingredients *can't* be changed! ;) That's why I always put linguica in mine... My Portuguese Mom made her dinner with linguica, cabbage, carrots, & onions. It's amazing that you can get so much flavor out of so few ingredients!

Buck said...

Mmmm. Corned beef and cabbage! Or "New England Boiled Dinner," which sounds MUCH more up-market. I can't let winter get by without doing at least ONE. Next cold spell...

Daryl said...

But wouldnt the stink, er, aroma of the cabbage make the house stink, er, smell less pleasant?

Suldog said...

Daryl - Well, I'll tell you the truth. I've never found cabbage an unpleasant aroma. I know I'm in a minority there, but to me it smells of home. I grew up associating that smell with family gatherings and holidays!

Jazz said...

This brings to mind the time I had ants in an apartment. The lady upstairs told us one day, be careful. This time of year everything in the pantry has to be sealed way because ants get in.

She was just a couple of hours too late, that morning I had poured myself a bowl of cereal, which was wiggly with ants. It was gross. Not the way you want to start your day. Though it DID wake me right the hell up.

Suldog said...

Jazz - Oog. How come the raisins in my raisin bran are moving? :-)

Never had that experience. Have had bugs in pancake batter. I think they were weevils. In any case, I had dumped some of the Aunt Jemima into a bowl, and already cracked an egg into it and added some milk, and was just getting ready to beat with my electric handmixer, when I saw them. Yuck!

I'm glad I saw them BEFORE the mixing took place. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have noticed them and would have had yummy weevil cakes.

IT said...

Weevil cakes? That just ups the protein content.
What's really fun is to leave a dusting of flour on a counter. Then come back later to see the designs that the little buggers have left.

Golly, this has become a veritable entomology blog.

IT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lime said...

i gotta say i have zero compunction about killing bugs. in fact i pay mighty sums to eradicate carpenter ants since they do real structural damage.

but the theological ponderings and parallels do have me thinking...

Land of shimp said...

Yeah, we call those "policy violators". We have a strict policy of nonviolence in almost all things in life. Outside of the house? Live, let live, that's my firm policy.

But the moment any creature that could be termed vermin or pest by any stretch of the definition crosses my threshold? We are a household of Vikings. Pillaging, destroying. Death from above. Take no prisoners. That's the policy with the threshold.

All policy violators will meet with the wrath of Me. My brother was once on the phone with me when a creature with far too many legs to count, looking like it hailed from a prehistoric era went scuttling by, here is what he heard.

"Hold on." *drop went the phone* Me, in full battle cry, "HIDEOUS!!! Diediediedie...DIE YOU LITTLE FREAK, GET.OUT.OF.MY.HOUSE *slam, boom, crash* Son of &*@^X, you are going down!!! I retrieve the phone and my brother, after he stopped laughing his butt off over my plight, managed to gasp out:

"Please tell me that wasn't the UPS man."

HIm? I spare, but only as long as he remains on the proper side of the threshold, otherwise, there are few guarantees. This is an invitation only domicile.

But I respect your right to feel differently.

Don't ever move to Florida, Sol. Trust me.

My brother, the one who laughed his butt off as I went all Conada the Barbarian in my living room went to college there. The first night, after he turns out the lights, and settles in to sleep in the muggy heat hears:
His eyes pop open.
He lies there listening to what sounds like a bunch of tiny little helicopters, battering the walls of his apartment. He flips on the light, and meets a common Florida resident: The flying roaches, they swarmed out in a squadron to greet him.

He lost his security deposit that night, by the way. Dented the crap out of the walls, in his mad pursuit.

We're Scottish though, and a blood thirsty lot, according to history.

Cricket said...

Can't worry about the ants now. You and Karen both have got the boiled dinner on my mind. I forgot about the Fall River version....

Sul, no lie, you won't regret a trip to your local Portuguese market to get one of their awesome spiced smoked shoulders, then make the B.D. with that and some linguica in. Mmmmmm.

It won't smell like home but it will be dee-licious all the same. I think I had one once with a big piece of bacalao in it, too. Tasty, tasty.

And, damn you, tomorrow's Friday. Well, I can plan ahead for Saturday.

Suldog said...

Shimp - Too funny. Florida? Yeah, land of the Palmetto Bugs. Those things are ridiculous. I remember staying in a friend's house, many years back, and opening one of his kitchen cabinets to get some cereal. I was greeted by the sight of two of those monstrosities DOING IT on one of the shelves. It was such a freakishly hideous sight I just stared. One of them sort of hissed at me (or was in the throes of orgasmic buggy delight) and I wanted to run from the house screaming. Nasty things.

Anonymous said...

I try to be nice to all insects that invade my home, as long as they do not have fur, create slime or have six legs.
In Mexico we put down rhubarb leaves to deter roaches and I have just heard from my grandson that spiders will not cross a conker[horse chestnut] so I shall definately be hunter gathering them this autumn. Meanwhile, if they enter chez moi, thery're for the squash.Under my shoe that is.

Jenn said...

It is my firm belief that anything with more than 4 legs should be banned from the planet so to that end I am definitely siding with your WIFE. That many ants in a bowl of cabbage and I never would've eaten boiled dinner again; a shame because its among my favorites! Do you do turnip in yours? Vinegar or mustard on the cabbage?

Matt Conlon said...

You've reminded me of another ant story as well...

My wife had a medium coke from McDonalds on her nightstand when she'd gone to bed. The little buggers had all sniffed it out, climbed down her straw to drink the sugary goodness, and drown.

I don't think I have to tell you how surprised she was to find them down there in the middle of the night when she went for a refreshing sip.

/shudder... gives me the willies just thinking about it.