Me vs. Carl Sagans of Ants

A few days ago, I came home to find a weird convention of ants circling my kitchen light. It was weird because there are no food crumbs in my kitchen, especially in the light sticking out of the wall three inches from the ceiling. They seemed very intent, as ants usually do. I wiped down the entire area with bleach and soapy water, and those who weren't sopped up began to disperse.

*Psychepedantic Rob Coafman told me he has the foolproof method for ant killing:
You need water, sugar, and Borax.  It must be Borax.  Great success.  
Boil a couple cups of water and keep adding sugar until the water is supersaturated with sugar.  It should begin to appear more viscous even when boiling.  Once you can't get any more sugar between the water molecules add Borax.  I add a fair bit, maybe 2-4Tbsp per cup of water.  

Once that dissolves, take it off the heat.  

Put that shit out near where the ants are.  Once they find it they will lose their fucking minds over it.  

Now, here's the rub.  You are going to attract ALL THE ANTS.  You're going to have a fucking National Geographic documentary on your kitchen counter whilst they feeding frenzy on the sugar.  The Borax is slow-acting and the ants bring it back to feed to the rest of the colony.  You see where this is going- genocide.  You kill the whole colony.
 Here's where I have a problem: I am really anti-genocide. I'll get back to this point in a bit.
You have to be prepared to not freak out if you turn on the light and see a solid black line of ants in your kitchen; that means it's working and leave them alone.  This is usually a once a year at most treatment.  A new colony may move in over the summer and you'll have to repeat.  Holy shit, it's creepy the first time you do it.  For me it was in FL so there were Carl Sagans of ants(billions and billions)(he never actually said that) 
Sounds legit, but for the genocide bit.  And the next day, there was no convention, not even a delegation, so I figured whatever business the ants had come to do was done, and I went to bed.

And then somebody bit me.

I woke up in the morning with one eye disappearing under an enormous fleshy bulge in my face. I took Benadryl and hied me to Urgent Care, where I was given steroids to stop my face from swallowing my eye. It seems to be working. But I am a vengeful god.

I'm angry, but I feel a little sick about this. Even when I kill a cockroach because I know they're remorseless birthing their children in my home, I get sad.  Ants are social creatures with hierarchies.  Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson explains how ants are neighbors in the global community and a valid part of our ecosystem. They build civilizations. They work with purpose and they follow instructions.  They have a queen, dangit, and I am going to take her down, too, like the crap chess player that I am.

Maybe they sought retaliation and attacked me in the night for the bleaching of their kin. I don't care. NIMBY, very little  brother. You should have stayed in the back yard.

I bought the Borax on my way home.  I should mention that I have on my bucket list a tour of Boron, California -- source of Borax. It's spectacular on the horizon as you drive through the desert, and I half expect Mad Max to come rolling down Twenty Mule Team Road (yes, that's real.)

I also bought sugar, because I didn't have any in the house. My primary use for sugar is baking, and I just haven't been.  I prefer raw sugar and I don't care what the ants think; it's not all for them, just 1/4 cup at most.

Vintage Borax and Organic Raw Sugar rolling up the checkout conveyor probably made me look really hipster. I don't care - as long as my face still itches I have motive, and there's killing to be done.

The ants are marching - not Carl Sagans of them, not yet  - but this movement needs to be squashed. The Borax is dissolving into ant-candy as I write. Leave the bodies where they fall.

I joke. I will entirely bleach my kitchen.

Astro Burger, just past Boron, CA
Carl will probably get here before breakfast...
Further Reading:

More Ant Advice from cartoonist and videographer Steve Sumrall:


  1. In this context, my choice of words makes me sound rather unhinged.

    This is probably accurate. Carry on.

  2. Ask Rob whether it kills the little teeny tiny ants, too. The ones that are so small you almost need glasses to see them. We have an invasion of sorts and the bait boxes I've set out along the edge of the outside of the cottage don't seem to be affecting them. (Bait boxes are the commercial form of Rob's bait. I get them every Spring. Outside of my house them crawl in, crawl out with crumbs of the bait, and after a couple of weeks they are all gone.) Except, this year, the tiny ants aren't.

    1. Hey, Mari - I just remembered something I'd forgotten: there are sugar ants and protein ants. Run a test and see whether they prefer sugar or peanut butter.

    2. Peanut butter!!!! They are out instantly when the Skippy coms out of the cabinet!

  3. I want to add a picture here of the koolaid party at my house so you can compare, but it doesn't seem to be an option. I'll add it to the post.


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