Jun 15th
    'Is that you little brother?' Bug looks at the bugs.

    ‘Is that you little brother?’ Bug looks at the bugs.


    ‘Have they come to your house yet?’ asked our neighbour whilst standing in the street a few days ago. She had just emerged from spraying her house with bleach. 

    Yesterday they appeared at ours.

    A swarm of black dots from under the skirting board. Attack of the ants. These things don’t make the headlines but they do in our house.

    Our dog, Bug, was amazed to see something smaller and blacker than him (‘we’re wearing the same dress to the same party!’ said Bug with silent fury, ‘yeh, but at least we ARE bugs’ said the ants with pride) and so Bug pawed at the floor repeatedly and the ants did their little dance.

    ‘I’ll deal with it’ said Ann briskly

    At first I quickly agreed. Urgh bugs…etc. But then, realising I am meant to be compassionate (and sometimes I forget) I asked later, sheppishly, ‘Can we kill them humanely?’

    Ann’s shoulders sunk in a now familiar way. ‘They are ants.’

    We’d been over this territory many times now  – spiders, slugs, flies, and I was beginning to see her point better than the insects’: how far can this compassion thing go? Do I not fart in bed for fear of killing a bed mite?

    ‘I don’t know,’ I said,  ‘but perhaps we could put some food somewhere else… or put a sign up and ask them to leave?’ Ann looked at me unimpressed. ‘Or…’ I said having a proper idea ‘ could we get the sexiest ant and take it outside so they all follow’ That’s what they do with bees right?


    The hoardes

    The hordes arrive. It really was more scary in real life.


    Spray time

    ‘I’m getting some spray’ she said.

    Then I did what I always do when I’m morally confused. I went online. I’d advise it next time you aren’t sure of your life’s true direction.

    Healthypages.co.uk had a forum about humane disposal of ants…naturally enough

    Someone called ‘Nishira’ wrote (with what appears to be a catholic icon/photo above her name…or was it Buddhist?):

    “I tried to do some mental praying to the ants to let them know that danger lay ahead and that they are not welcome, and if they don’t leave – i’ll have to spray and bomb the area – and if they don’t  heed my mental warnings i’m afraid i’ll have to resort to killing them’

    I wondered what Nishira looked like. Perhaps it was a man. Other comments were on similar  lines of ‘either we pray or we murder them’. Maybe it was a catholic thing but I felt there ought to be a middle ground between godliness and global destruction. Nevertheless only one other person had another suggestion on the forum and that involved scattering polenta on the floor .. although apparently this mande the ants stronger and come back for more.

    I too like polenta.

    And so does Bug.

    I sat in the other room and winced a little as I heard Ann spray the area next door. But truth be told …I have to tell you, I don’t find it easy to care for ants. Especially if they emerge in their hundreds from the floor screaming your name with blood in their voices. OK…they emerge from the floor.

    My compassion stops short at flies.

    This is probably a weakness but it I feel it illustrates an important point: we all have a boundary to our compassion. That is not right or wrong, it’s just the way it is. No doubt I should extend mine but for now the elastic has stretched as far as it can go and if I go all the way to ants I fear it will snap back into my face.

    I’m with Ann on this one. Hate me if you must but I am but weak.

    Ant burger anyone?


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    1. My rule is “if I can catch a varmint and take it outside I won’t kill it”. So hordes of ants fall outside of this rule. But, even so, I feel bad everytime I kill them. My neighbor is still laughing about the time I caught a fly and took it outside.

    2. My rule is if it does potential harm to me that in it is ok to send it on its way.Flies carry germs and ants bite.However this doesn’t entirely work with rats as they carry disease but I like rats.Also I am a committed carnivore who wants to be veggie.I guess I am as crazy and mixed up as you when it comes to gods creatures.

    3. Some one once told me to put some honey outside and tell the ants to go and get it. If they ignore you I guess it’s death. How about sucking them up in batches and letting them go? Not sure if the sucking would kill them though. Sigh. It’s hard

    4. Put a few drops of peppermint (essential) oil in the vicinity of the infestation for a humane to ants. Tried and tested 🙂

    5. Next time,try using talcum powder. It won’t kill them,although a few will curl up and look dead for a minute, but they HATE it and will all run away in a panic! I think it blocks their spiracles. Mostly, I just let ants live their little lives, but if there are too many and all racing for my dinner, I sprinkle some talc and they rush off,then I put a line of talc across the doorway or wherever they were entering and they don’t come back.
      You can also use diamotaceous earth to kill any insect – it’s not KIND, but at least it kills them physically, rather chemically. I use it if a cat or dog gets fleas or lice. It has sharp edges and slices the carapace of the insect like tiny swords. It’s great for chickens, as a dust-bath.

    6. thanks Kate, some useful advice!

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