Oh, really? Hurrah?
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
I dare say the unknown composer of this song never had a colony marching one by one across his kitchen counter or there'd have been no "hurrahing" going on.
Sure, ants are a rather fascinating pest, what with their big ole rearends and their admirable work ethic. And they are strong. I've been working for months to be able to do one respectable chip-up, while an ant can lift 20 times its own body weight without even the buttress of a personal trainer.
If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can, he could run as fast as a racehorse.
Ant jaws open and shut sideways like a pair of scissors.
The ant has two eyes — called compound eyes — each of which is made of many smaller eyes.
The ant abdomen contains two stomachs. One holds food for itself, the other holds food to be shared with other ants. Now that's altruism.
Ants are clean and tidy. Some worker ants have the job of taking rubbish from the nest and putting it out to a rubbish dump. Getting trash to the curb is a challenge for many a human household.
All this, and an uber-efficient, matriarchal social structure to boot.
Fascinating attributes aside, ants are pests, and are best observed outside. Not in the kitchen or any other indoor location.
When ants invade the home, one option to expel them is to hire an exterminator. Walletpop.com reports that the two most popular extermination companies in the United States charge a fee of nearly $700 per year for the roach, ant and rodent package. For a serious ant infestation, or if you've got more than just ants going on, it's worth consideration. But there are alternatives.
If chemical use doesn't concern you, ant baits or insecticide sprays run about $5 or less and usually are effective in staving off a small invasion. Home remedies often are more affordable and equally effective.
The following agents reportedly kill them:
- Boric acid, sugar and water. If you have young children or pets, try baking soda, powdered sugar and water. Mix and spread.
- Dishsoap and water. Spray a 3 to 1 mixture for fast results.
- Oatmeal, corn meal, cream of wheat or grits. Worker ants carry flakes to the queen. When she consumes water, the flakes expand, causing her stomach to burst.
- Table salt. Sprinkle a trail where needed, particularly in the home's corners and near the foundation.
- Red pepper or chili powder. Shake directly on ants, or make a paste with water and apply at entry points.
These substances are said to repel ants:
- Talcum powder, peppermint oil, bay leaves and cinnamon.
- Lemon juice squirted fresh from the lemon or sprayed in a strong mixture from a bottle.
- Cucumber or citrus peels scattered along suspected routes.
With any luck, the little buggers will all go marching down. To the ground. Which is where. They belong.
"Boom! Boom! Boom!"
Alicia Notarianni is a reporter and feature writer. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.