Husband HATES ants with a passionate fury seldom seen in a reserved man of hard science. For his crusading pleasure, we have three wonderfully tenacious kinds of ants down here in St. Thomas (that I know of): ‘fire,’ ‘normal’ (how’s that for scientific?) and ‘sugar’ (or ‘Caribbean Crazy’). I first encountered fire ants when I stepped in a massive nest while looking at rental houses. It was startling, embarrassing, and stinging, but with no lasting effects (a bucket of water washes them right off, and the red bites faded). The second place I sometimes find them is at the toddler playground in the sand underneath the swings. When arriving at the “Tot Lot” in the mornings, one of the first questions invariably asked is “how are the fire ants today?” Fire ants are annoying, but avoidable.
Everyone knows ‘normal’ ants (and by normal, I mean the ones that resemble our old Maryland ants that wandered single file through our back door twice a year to escape some seasonal change); they are outside, on the pavement, in the dirt, and appallingly enough, suddenly all over your car when you least expect it. I allow the babies to eat in their car seats – snacks buying silence – but after a while, no amount of dust-busting will dissuade the ants from a buffet meal. The last straw for the car came when we turned around to find ants crawling all over BBs tan little legs. Horrifying. Second place horrifying: after buying BG a red velvet cupcake at the school bake-sale and letting her eat it on the way home (stupid, stupid Mother), I found the remains completely crumbed up and sprinkled all over her car seat when I went to unbuckle her. She told me she was feeding the ants.
And the worst, WORST, ants by far? Sugar ants, or as I have also heard them called, Caribbean Crazy ants – I still don’t know which is right. The teeny tiny black specks appear out of nowhere and inundate a completely random place (a section of wall, a sink, a table top). When we moved in, I wasn’t so bothered by the occasional ant. I figured it was a fact of life down here, something that irritated, but shouldn’t cause undue distress. Husband felt otherwise, and kept asking me to call exterminators. I pointed out that we kept things pretty clean (as clean as you can with our son eating like Cookie Monster) and they weren’t as bad as all that. Well in short order, first the car-seat-ants-and-BBs-legs debacle happened, which made me wonder if they exterminated cars. Then, the unthinkable happened, the absolute LAST straw.
One morning I opened my underwear drawer, and there, to my horror, were dozens of sugar ants, happily speckling my rainbow of Hanky Pankies. That was IT. I called in the big guns – “Professional Killers,” possibly the best and most apt name for an exterminating company ever. They are the go-to group in Orkin outfits, dressed like a suburban commercial (although one had a massive white capful of dreads), filled with knowledge about what ants like (water – which they don’t actually drink, but take home to their nest), and what they don’t like (poison, as far as I can figure). They sprayed, the babies and I vacated (I think the cats hid – wasn’t too worried as they evidently use something organic-ish), and we returned 3 hours later to a clean place. I even had them spray my car. The head “Killer” told me not to park in front of ant nests and not under trees, if I could help it. I try not to now (kind of difficult when there are trees everywhere and I don’t know what an ant nest looks like), and we are crazy clean, cleaner than we’ve ever been, but the ants are back. I called Professional Killers again this morning. They are coming tomorrow, and perhaps Husband can rest easy for another two weeks.