The secret life of fire ants

Thailand is gradually shifting from “hot season” to “rainy season” and one of the biggest indicators of this is the sudden increase in bugs. In the past few weeks we’ve witnessed a population spike in the beetles, moths, and most unfortunately, red ants, infiltrating our home. We’ve also had a surprise visit from a scorpion and a return visit from a domesticated mouse. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I am not really great with bugs. I usually get a little freaked out and squirmy around them, but if this year in Thailand has done anything, it’s squashed (excuse the pun) my fear of them. In fact, it has given me a deeper understanding of the term “coexistence.” However….

However, if there’s one invader I loathe to find within the walls of my abode, it’s red ants. They are everywhere. They get into our cereal, our peanut butter, our sticky rice, and even our water! They are constantly marching across all of our walls, so if I even brush up against one for a second or lean over the window sill to shout out to a neighbor, I’m quickly covered. I have to check my underwear every morning before I put it on because they’ve taken a liking to the cotton fabric, giving a whole new meaning to “crotchless panties.” Last month I had a horrifying experience when, unbeknown to me, the pesky ants had infested my bath towel and without my glasses on as I started to dry off…well you can fill in the rest.

I returned to Pla Pak to the relief that I’d finally be able to sleep comfortably in my own bed after bouncing from hostel to guesthouse to bungalow for a month. Every morning for the past week I was waking up to the sight of one or two little fire ants marching across my bed. I did my best to sweep the room of dead bugs (oh, because the bugs that do get into our house and night are promptly feasted on by these ants each morning-it’s quite cyclical) and ensure no food is in the room, but the problem persisted. Finally I decided to re-wash all my bedding in the hopes of ridding the ants; as I stripped my bed I saw, to my disgust, hundred of ants burrowed in my mattress pad, on my mattress, even in my mattress! That was the last straw. I was Caitlyn the Exterminator, ready to reclaim what was rightfully mine.

I did my best to spray the infested areas. I flipped my mattress. I changed my sheets. Now I suppose I will have to wait and see if my work is done, or if I too will fall into the cyclical struggle of a bug’s life.

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8 responses to “The secret life of fire ants

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