Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the OTHER roommate- ANTS

Right now, at this very second, I have the feeling that something is scurrying the length of my forearm- and very fast- actually, it seems to be on my shoulder now. There’s another sensation on my ankle. Umm, maybe a mosquito, we have a few of those here, but no, these feel familiar.

These ‘sensations’ started around 3 years ago and drove me NUTS. When I would search the body part the sensation was coming from, I saw NOTHING. Of course at the time, I was in denial I needed reading glasses, so I wouldn’t have seen anything anyway. Regardless, I was seriously questioning the messages my sensory receptors were sending my brain. Something was amiss, and although I experimented, I knew I hadn’t done THAT many drugs.

That was then and this is now, I’ve learned a thing or two. I now know those weren’t ‘false’ sensations; there really was something, or a bunch of somethings roaming around my body, and pretty much at will.

The sugar ants moved into our apartment about the same time we did, probably drawn to it for the same reason- the view of the park from our bedroom window. Actually, I think it’s the wood furniture, as they seem to prefer Guanacaste (a tree here) wood even more than sugar (maybe Guanacaste Ant just didn’t roll of the tongue as well). At first, we did what any gringo would have done- we sprayed the SHIT out of them. I’ll be damned if we’re going to have ants taking over our apartment, besides, it’s not like they were paying rent or anything. Now, if they’d just confine themselves to a few out of the way locations in the apartment, then maybe, just maybe, I’d let them stay. But NOOOO….sugar ants are so controlling.

If you know anything about sugar ants, you know they’re really tiny, not your garden variety ant- which is a good thing if you gotta have ants in your apartment, cause here, some varieties can be Schwarzenegger (pre 1995) big. We sprayed, And Sprayed, AND SPRAYED. We concluded that spraying was merely a band aid approach of getting rid of ants, with no real lasting results. Subsequently after spraying, we tried leaving the little dead ant carcasses scattered around the kitchen counters, hoping the surviving ants wouldn’t be able to bare the devastation of it all and just retreat to our neighbors apartment.….really, it seemed sensicle at the time (who wants to stick around where a murder has taken place). Of course it didn’t work. Then we tried bleach on the counters- nada. We even consulted our good friend the internet and mixed two drops of apple-cider vinegar into a cup of dish washing liquid- again, no effect, although I did notice the ants appeared to have a shine about them that I hadn’t noticed before. If these (so-called) remedies were having any effect, it wasn’t apparent. Personally, I would have left voluntarily if I knew I wasn’t wanted, but these little boogers wouldn’t pick up on any social cues.

Anyway, that was then….

Every house in Costa Rica has ants- yeah, I said it. They may leave for awhile, but they always come back. Don’t like ants? Don’t move here. You may adjust to culture shock, learn tico time is a way of life, hell, you might even learn how to combat gringo pricing, but you will NEVER, EVER, rid your house of sugar ants, so you had better learn to be ONE with them- I know I have. Okay, I’ll admit to ‘thinning the herd’ every now and then, usually right before company comes over; some people just don’t appreciate moving parts in their salad. Personally, I don’t mind the extra protein.

Right now, at this very second, I have this feeling……………oh shit, that’s not an ant!

Next article: So you’ve become one with the ants, what about the other big ass bugs!

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