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The Ants Continue Marching

Ant_Receives_Honeydew_from_Aphid

In my last post I shared about my experiences with the ants that are occupying the kitchen. The adventure continues and it has become quite an engaging and fascinating one, IMO.

My hope was that with a cordial 1:1 conversation with the ants, explaining why they needed to leave and  using a Vinegar/Water/Essential Oil spray everything would be taken care of. The ants would see the logic and reasoning behind my case, be willing to graciously accommodate my request and I’d have my kitchen back.

Easy peasy, right? No such luck.

Life With Ants

Living so closely with the ants, I can’t help but observe them and be reminded of what incredible sentient beings they are.

Their work ethic is astounding. I have watched them go back and forth on the counter, searching for food, finding something and then toting it back to their nest. (I believe the nest is behind the stove, which I have not been able to pull out.) I *thought* the counter was clean, but apparently I was wrong.

The little guys even got into some herbs I’ve been drying and started tearing up the leaves. THAT’S determination.

I’ve witnessed them look at the boundary of cinnamon I’ve sprinkled heavily by the stove, scrutinize that obstacle and work out how to get around it. I am astounded as I observe their problem solving skills – the tenacity and resolve that goes into that is humbling, to say the least.

They solved the cinnamon boundary by going down the cabinet, across the kitchen floor (a good distance from the cinnamon I had sprinkled in front of the stove), climbing up the cabinet on the other side of the stove, crossing back over the stovetop and scurrying down the minuscule space between the stove and cabinet. All of this while carrying food.

In researching, I discovered this from The Incredible Ant:

“The work ethic of the ant can put even the most ambitious person to shame. All day long the ant labors in the hot desert, or a wet rain forest, or the cold tundra sniffing out his food and carrying back his load to the nest no matter how far the journey or how difficult the terrain. Never complaining and never taking a break, the ant works without supervision or direction until the job is done. Talk about a hard worker! You’ve probably heard that the load an ant carries around all day can be up to 50 times his own body weight! That would be the same as a human carrying around a medium sized American truck (7,000 – 10,000 lbs). What about the distance an ant travels? An ant walks all day long, from sun up til sun down, and while ants might not seem to move very fast when compared to us. It’s a whole different story when you put it into perspective. If an ant moves at about 2 inches per second (see: how fast do ants run?). In the course of a 12 hour day, an ant will cover roughly 7,200 feet (approx. 1 1/3 miles!). That may not seem like much, but 7,200 feet is 365,760 times the ant’s body length. For a human to equal that number, he would need to travel 415 miles in 12 hours! To do that you would need to run 34 mph all day long without stopping for a break or slowing down.”

I suppose I could claim entitlement to the kitchen and power over the ants by going out and buying a can of Raid and spraying the bejezus out of them, but I simply don’t have what it takes to do that. I used to be able to do that quite easily and unconsciously, but I can’t do it now.

Coexisting with other sentient beings is about finding creative ways to live and let live. This may sound naive, even foolish to some folks, but the point is using whatever means at hand to kill off the other species should not be the automatic first step we employ. We’re on a learning curve, a ridiculously high learning curve as we try to grasp what it means to coexist with other beneficial species without automatically reaching for the Raid.

The Cleaning Continues

Meanwhile, thanks to the ants in the kitchen, I am well on my way to having the cleanest, most sparkly kitchen in the state of Montana.

I’m going to up the ante with my cleaning routine – undiluted vinegar is my new BFF. The new cleaning regiment includes:

  • Keeping the sink both clean and dry, so they don’t have any water to wash down anything they may have eaten
  • Pouring a little bit of bleach down the drains
  • Graduating up from the using the Vinegar/Water/Essential Oil spray to wipe down the counters to using straight vinegar, as vinegar breaks up the pheromones that ants use to follow each other to sources of food
  • Vacuuming and moping the floor nightly, again using vinegar
  • Garbage is going out nightly, instead of waiting for the garbage bag to be filled
  • Call on some friends to help me move the stove out, as I believe the source is there

Wish me luck on this, and if you have any natural tips to share on corralling ants, please do, that is much appreciated!

Here’s To New Beginnings,

Janet

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