Wednesday, June 01, 2005

It must almost be summer….

The bugs are back!

Yep, we have no shortage of bugs here in North Carolina and once the weather warms up, they begin the annual assault to take over our yard. Specifically I’m talking about ants, those incredibly industrious little insects that never seem to sleep, or stop procreating.

They invade the house, the trees, the cars… and even… yes, my garage! You see I can tolerate the occasional kitchen visitor as I can understand, you see my wife is a great cook; if I was living out there I’d be trying to get some good eats too.

I don’t really mind that they take up summer residence under every tarp, bucket, brick or rock. I’m not really going to use the log splitter again until the weather begins to cool down, they’re welcome to the shade under that tarp!

But when they begin to bite me, when I’m working in my shop, in the midst of enough toxic substances to kill most things (and I’m wearing a breathing mask!), and begin feasting on my ankles… well the line’s been drawn!

So every year, I start a little earlier, spreading all sorts of interesting, and often foul, smelling granular substances on the lawn. Placing ant ‘baits’ around the perimeter of the house, spraying ‘barrier’ treatments on the foundation and out three feet (like the directions say) around the entire house.

It works, well sort of… for a day or two, there’s a noticeable decline in any visible ant activity. (I think they’re just staying home and procreating) But then, just when I think I might be winning, they’re back!

You’d think they’d be back in reduced numbers, but no, it’s like they went out and recruited every other ant in the neighborhood to come join them! I’ve decided that statements like “continues working for up to 3 full months” on the package should carry the disclaimer “Except in your yard Bill”. Nothing and I mean nothing has ever kept them down for more than a week or two.

Do you think if I tried to negotiate with them I could get back my garage? The patio? And maybe the hammock?...

So… this past weekend, among other things I retreated the ‘estate’ for the little buggers, and it’s raining today… which means I can literally watch that $70 floating away as the weatherguy says “we need the rain folks”… Great, I’m almost afraid to go away for a day… they might start stealing my tools!!


Firehawk said...


There's been a huge ant colony underneath our flagstones in the back yard for years. They've mined out so much sand that whole thing has big peaks and valleys now. You're right. You kill 'em off for a day or two, but they come right back.

At this point, it's the spiders running everywhere that give me pause. That, and the mosquitos are eating me alive every night when I walk my dog! I'm so itchy that I feel like I have fleas!

Glad to know that everybody has bug issues. That being said--I still feel that the Northeast has some of the wildest bug seasons. Black Flies, June Bugs, Carpenter Ants...

Bill said...

I don't know.. I lived in the Northeast for 40 years, we had bugs... but nothing like these critters in North Carolina!! (When I lived in North Bay, the local county Conservation Officer once told me I had the most productive mosquito farm in the county)

The one thing I don't miss is the 'black flies' for that 2-3 week period when they're active, and you're anywhere there's pine trees, they can make mosquitos seem downright friendly!!

Carpenter ants... I see those here from time to time, but not nearly as often as up North... but then again the termites do most of the home remodeling here. So much so that I learned a new term when buying property "Termite Inspection".

Sounds like they line 'em all up and check for dirty fingernails...or you'd get the results as in:

"Yep.. I 'spected them termites and they's doing jest fine sir"

erin said...

You can't forget the Japanese Beetles...

Karyn Lyndon said...

Firehawk...we have what we call June Bugs in Texas--only they're in May!

And, to put it bluntly...ants SUCK! Termites are chased by ants according to our bug man. So if you have ants, it could mean your termites need their fingernails inspected pronto!

Stranger Ken said...

We have ants here in England, but they spend so much time trying to keep warm and dry that they rarely venture out! Your part of the world sounds worse than the Far East, where I lived for many years, but where the ants, though ferocious, did seem to know their place. Or maybe it was the cockroaches that kept them under control?

Bill said...

Thanks Erin, I had forgotten about them, they'll show up and begin eating whatever (high priced) vegatation the rabbits and deer didn't get! :)

Karyn... I totally forgot... that's another thing I never had up North a "bug man", ours comes by once a year and crawls around under, and around, the house for an hour and proclaims us termite free. Ants are worse than termites, at least there's a 'treatment' (poison) that kills them termites and keeps them at bay for 7-10 years! (or at least that's what the brochure said)

Ken.. the Far East.. Sunny SouthEast Asia? Now *they* have bugs... but it was a jungle after all, I was in their turf. :)

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and adding to my thoughts!

Braleigh said...

Thus far, I have encountered one mere mosquito. Um, and it was free from malaria. So all's well this ocrner of the globe. :D

RealLady said...

Thanks for the laugh sweetie! I love your humorous view of our un-invited house guests!

Master of None said...

I have my share of ant problems, only now it's getting worse. I woke up yesterday morning to find them in the kitchen. Second time this year.

Spirit Of Owl said...

Man, I'm LMAO! Sounds like they might start stealing your cars if they really get organised...

Stranger Ken has already pointed out that our UK insects are a little less intrepid due to our foul, horrible cold weather. Clearly frustrated by this lack of insect pestering, Brits spend a lot of money travelling to places where they can encounter far more numerous and dangerous insects with more deadly stings, bites and diseases than they can get at home.

That wasn't good enough for us though. We figured that if insects wouldn't come in to our house of their own accord, we'd bring them in. So, me and my sons built a modest ant farm and put it, with some concern from my wife, in the kitchen.

It was fantastic what those little pesky things did in there. Amazing. We watched them endlessly. The boys dropped in water each day, and a little food of some description, and watched their frantic antics. Imagine. We had ants as pets in the kitchen!

Then, one day, suddenly, there were no ants. Someone had left the top open, and overnight they'd vamooshed. They'd even taken all the eggs with them. We never found out where they went.

Maybe ants just don't like English kitchens? Or is it just ours...?

Trevor Record said...

They apparently went on an all-out mosquito genocide at one time here in BC, so there aren't many bugs around these parts.

jenbeauty said...

Very funny take on the little buggers!! The ants are our big problem here in Ohio!

Ick and those creepy centipede like things. I killed a huge one in the garage the other day and my kids were dying laughing at me. My daughter said I did a "karate move" and put the hurt on that thing!

Cylithria™ said...

Oddly enough Bill, While I don't miss most of the bugs in NC.... I do miss the hum of the secada's...cicada's (Sp?) I definately don't miss the FIRE ANTS....those bloody hurtful bastages LOLOL

But I do have to agree with you, there is no state i have ever lived in that could top NC's bugs...... i guess it's part of NC's charm? hahaha

Cylithria™ said...

Oh egads and I forgot my personal favorite bug of NC....the wood roach...... those suckers get so big they can carry off your young. and they hiss at you if you try to squish em....especially the ones bigger then an inch and a half long.......

Firehawk said...

When I lived in Vegas, they had a sort of roach called "water bugs". These suckers could get three inches long, I kid you not. They'd fall in a pool and stop moving around, and you'd think they were just big chunks of wood or something...until they latched onto your hair and climbed atop your head as you stood in the shallow end!

They didn't seem terribly concerned about coming inside, but they'd congregate underneath our door mat. You get a dozen of those big suckers shooting out in all directions when you step down on the welcome mat, and that'll give you a shiver.

Bill said...

Braleigh: That’s one of the wonders of the areas North of us… the bugs don’t really get “underway” until later, and, they disappear for winter sooner!

RealLady: What am I gonna do? I’ve got to laugh or they’d drive me crazy!

Master of None: It’s time to get serious!! It’s only a short time now before they discover your computer!

Spirit of Owl: They’re not gone! They’re simply regrouping for their attack… be afraid… be very afraid! :)

Trevor: Here all this time I thought it was because of the cooler temps… Maybe we could get your ‘mosquito experts’ down here for a season or two?

Jen: We have those too! They appear at the strangest times too… one evening last summer one came slithering out from under the TV and attempted to scurry across the living room… he met the same fate as yours!

Cyli: Charm? Heh-heh… not exactly the word I’d use… but hey, they do give me something to do besides plot against the neighbors!

Firehawk: The first time I was in Florida, we were heading back to the house from dinner when this bug the size of a B-52 smacked me in the forehead… it freaked me out at the time… My brother-in-law simply said “Just a Palmetto bug, you’ll learn to duck soon enough”. I did!