Thursday, July 22, 2010


In addition to animals in the house, we also have bugs in the house. The most recent addition is the ant farm Stella got for Christmas.  I am all for insects -- I'm pro-insect, you could say, and I vote. The exception would be yellow jackets. I am anti-yellow jackets, as they essentially fly up and sting you for no reason and then don't even have the courage to die as a result. In that regard they remind me of Tea Party activists, who also have been known to spoil a picnic.

I am all for insects, yet it seems strange to pay good money to bring ants into our house. The ants don't come with the actual ant farm; you have to send away for your ants and pay for them. I understand that you can just go out with a shovel and dig up a hill and populate your farm that way, but that approach would bring me into closer contact with the ants than I desire. So I wrote a check for four dollars, and the ants arrived in the mail six weeks later. In case you are keeping track, the cost was about $0.25 per ant. Expensive, sure, but these are quality ants. 

We put the ants into their farm, and they were immediately madly productive. In the first 24 hours, they had found the water, distributed the food, taken care of their dead, and already dug several tunnels. I know several individuals who haven't accomplished that much in their whole lives. If ants ever get ambitious enough to come out from underground and try to take over the world, we as a species are seriously screwed.

Unfortunately there was a security breach not long after the ants got in their new home; Stella knocked the farm down and ants escaped.  In a type of reverse Darwinism, the fast ants who looked like they might be getting away were stomped, while the slow ants were trapped under cups and returned to their home. 

Perhaps that short taste of freedom broke their will to live. Perhaps once they realized their captivity, they lost heart. Perhaps, just perhaps, you can't tame a wild ant. Whatever the reason, they all died soon after the escape attempt. They didn't just keel over. No, these ants died in a spectacular manner. For some reason the wall of the ant farm is covered in severed ant legs, so whatever killed them (and I fed them! I swear I did!) caused their appendages to pop off. For now we're calling it The Great Ant Genocide of 2010. 

I blame the yellow jackets.

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