Solomonic Advice

Written by | January, 2014
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FROM THE FIELD                                                           September 19, 2013



“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” Prov. 6:6 In Nigeria we saw the African garbage man readily at work when crumbs were carried away by the diligent little ant. I didn’t mind them so much in our house there. Outside of course it was a different story when you’d come a cross a different kind of ant called the army ant. They moved in long columns and woe to anything that got in their way. Hurtful bites would occur worse than that from fire ants we have in South Carolina. The Army ant was aggressive to say the least. If you have never read “Leiningen versus the Ants” by Carl Stephenson, you should. It is a classic short story and one that pits man against the ants.


I don’t class myself with Leiningen in his battle in the Brazilian rainforest against the hordes of very aggressive army ants. Yet I have had my little scrap with the domesticated type up here on the seventh floor of my apartment building. ‘Aggressive’ is one sure word I would use to describe them. I can well learn from them to persevere no matter the odds.


Here is my most recent battling encounter. They were coming in the corner of one window wanting of course to take up residence and develop a colony. I sprayed them cruelly leaving their seared bodies for their compatriots to view with fear. A day later they in turn tried to come in from the other corner of that window with their column heading for some crack behind my kitchen sink. I sprayed this foray of the enemy leaving again the dead on the field to deter. It did not deter for they are too numerous. A day later in they came from a crack beneath a different window searching again for a safe home from which to partake of my foodstuffs. I countered yet again with that deadly spray. No further evidence of invasion from that window gave me a reprieve from the spraying. Even though the can says it has a fragrant odor, yet if it kills the ants on contact, is it safe for me? What about second hand spray? A couple days passed. Walking into the kitchen I saw a long column of ants going from that aforesaid window to the other end of my kitchen looking to fortify themselves in the cracks of a door jamb. Unbelievable, a column clear across the floor carrying what I assumed were ant eggs, little white burdens. They had pulled out all the stops. It was all or nothing now for them. I met their aggression with the killing spray which laid them out deader than a doornail. Had I finally won with so many of the enemy army decimated on my kitchen floor? Not necessarily so. A couple days latter there was a column of them coming out or going into a wall switch plate near my toaster. My spray can is getting low, I will need more ammunition before long. I had enough though to stop this group in its tracks. Five days have now passed with no evidence except for a couple showing up near the wall plate. Scouts for yet another attack? I can well learn from the ant, though I would prefer it to be a memory retained rather than a near daily lesson.