My husband John and I never intended to become mass murderers, which is what I’m sure most mass murderers say. How many of them, however, have been driven to their dastardly deeds by an invasion of their homes? None, I suspect. So, we’re hoping to get a small pass for our actions because of the recent, overwhelming assault of ants against the sanctity of our pantry. Besides, is it mass murder once you’ve declared war?
Living in Cambria’s backcountry in the Santa Lucia Mountains doesn’t make us any more or less prone to ant invasions than anywhere else, so we don’t claim a monopoly on this annoying problem, but we have felt a little singled out the past few weeks. Normally, a small pile of cornmeal, strategically placed, will eliminate ants, but this year’s army of ants just laughed at that solution.
We first noticed ants in the dog food containers in our pantry — containers we foolishly thought didn’t have to be airtight, as long as they were inside the house. Wrong. So we bought new childproof containers and hoped the problem would cease. Wrong again.
Even before we secured the dog food, the ants appear to have been analyzing everything else in the pantry as a possible food source. Then things really got out of hand. It looked like every ant got on its little ant walkie talkie and called up at least 100 troops. I think some ant general might even have posted our address on Facebook. We didn’t know ants had such a sophisticated military network, which is why we were so unprepared to deal with the relentless black army that attacked our kitchen like Sherman marching across Georgia.
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Because taking the entire pantry apart felt a little daunting, we started with a search-and-destroy mission. When that didn’t work, we bit the bullet and started, top to bottom, clearing every shelf, cleaning the ants off every package, killing the ants still running around, cleaning the shelves, spraying Black Flag along the perimeter, and eventually putting everything back.
It took half a day to do all this — hours that would have been more fun spent reading, watching a good Netflix movie, or getting to other important, if less pressing, chores. I can’t speak for John on this, but at the end of the cleanup, my attitude was that if any more ants decided to breach our Black Flag line of defense, they were not going to be taken prisoner and treated humanely.
So the Black Flag can stands on one of our pantry shelves as a visual reminder of what happened here. We hope any future ant soldiers who find their way into our pantry will already have heard the horror stories of what happened to their comrades and look for another battleground from which to wage war on unsuspecting homeowners. Sorry, neighbors.