Sunday, November 20, 2011

Army (cleaner) ants

Seems I just keep going from one crisis to another. I'm going to preface this by saying that prior to moving here, we lived in the mountains or Oregon at 4200' elevation. That meant we had very few bugs. No fleas or snakes and because they sprayed in our area, no mosquitos. Now, fast forward to Belize. I've been chewed and nibbled on by a whole range of things from tiny no-see-ums to mosquitos and an assortment of flies. OK, if I pay attention and put on repellent, my pale gringo skin is relatively safe.

It was dry here for a couple of weeks and now it's started to rain a little. During our tree cutting operation I noted a line of ants moving down the hill. Rene said that that's because it's going to rain. OK, they're down there, fine. Yesterday they were back on a new path, going between the bodega and our house. Funny, for a bit they went one way, then an hour later, they were going the other way. Finally, they went the first direction again and by nightfall, they were gone. Whew!

Well, today, as I was eating breakfast on the veranda, I noticed a couple of ants on the table. When I looked down there were lines of them marching along the edge of the house. Here I have to say that I've heard from lots of folks about the cleaner ants and that if you just let them in the house, they don't damage anything, they just eat dead bugs and bits and clean your house and move on. Ick! Ick! I just couldn't handle that, altho' heaven knows I'm not a very good housekeeper. Maybe that's it. I could imagine them keeping busy for weeks! I couldn't bring myself to kill them as they're just doing what they're programmed to do, but I didn't want them in the house. I put Bailey out on a line as they were starting to swarm around him and he was totally confused and then I got the spray. I sprayed the doorways and at the base of the house and in front of them on the side of the house to discourage them from going those directions. I then sat back and watched them trundle the length of the veranda, down the pillar and within about 15 minutes they were gone.

Every day is an education in the bush.

1 comment:

Dave + Dianna Rider said...

They not only eat the dead ones, but they prefer the live ones. You're kidding yourself if you think your house is bug-free. Better to get over the ant phobia and let them do their thing. You really will have fewer bugs after they're done. They will leave your cookie crumbs alone. They're not interested in people food.

Better luck next time.