About a month ago I discovered the women’s bathroom at work was being besieged by ants. Lots of tiny, black, kinda cute, ants scampering about the totally spotless conch-shell pink tiles. I told the owner and he suggested putting out some of this poisonous gel we used last summer during a similar siege that the ants are attracted to, eat all up, then return to the colony to feed everybody else with and (unknowingly, I’m sure), kill. I started with a couple small squares of cardboard dotted with the gel and gently placed it near the moulding where they seemed to be entering, then went back to work. Later, when I needed to use the restroom, I saw the ants had come running, like pigs to a trough on a doll-house scale, to gobble up the goo. The next day there were even more ants! I thought they were supposed to leave but it turns out they told some of their buddies about the tasty booty and just weren’t ready yet to go feed the Queen and her demanding brood!
The owner, ever hesitant to call an exterminator, suggested I put out more, lots more, of the little blob-piled dinner trays. So I did. And I did. And I did. Over the last month I figure I’ve systematically killed every ant in the greater neighborhood; they kept coming, they were still hungry, so I fed them. It’s what I do! They did seem to be slowing down, though, and more than a few ended up under my foot, because cute as they are every time I sat on the toilet and looked over at them, wandering around dazed and confused (“where did everybody go?!”) they gave me the heebie-jeebies for about an hour after seeing them, leaving me scratching at the imaginary critters; like they could even come close to crawling on me in their near-catatonic state. Then I began to wonder if there was any beneficial reason for keeping them alive. Apparently there isn’t really when they’re inside, so I pushed aside my mild guilt at the blatant genocide I was solely responsible for, and soldiered on.
Then yesterday I saw there was only one ant left. And I felt sorry for him. Staggering around looking for food, for the other ants, for the sole of my clog. I didn’t put out more geno-food. I carefully stepped around him and left him for the day, seeing him as the valiant sole survivor of this month-long onslaught of chemical warfare. It was the Ant Apocalypse and this little guy was IT.
He was back today. With some comrades. They will survive.