April 22nd, 2011
I want to tell you a story about ants.
When Natalie and I first got to our apartment in Costa Rica, we noticed that there are giant ants in the house. One here, one there, one crawling on the counter, one of the floor. After a few times seeing them, it was no big deal. We were all able to co-exist, no one really bothering anyone.
So one night, there were a lot more ants than usual hanging around. And we looked down to a crack near the floor of a cupboard and we see a bunch of critters hanging out in one clump.
“That’s odd,” we think. “We haven’t seen that before, we should probably stop it before it gets worse.” I mean, right?
So we grab the cockroach spray that our neighbor had given us the week before and we spray the crack.
Now…I’m not a scientist, but to me, bug spray is bug spray. Like, I don’t assume that ANTS shouldn’t be killed with COCKROACH spray, but apparently this is some sort of unspoken rule among the jungle folk. As soon as we sprayed the crack, Satan descended upon us in the form of a wave of THOUSANDS of HUGE ants, pouring out the crack in record speed. They began to cover the floor in a sea of creepy crawly black and literally, we were unable to see the floor beneath. There was no sign of stopping them. They were moving, and moving fast. And the closer we looked at them, the more we realized that they had wings.
“HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!! Those aren’t ants…those are BEES!!!!!!!” we scream, as we see the terror in each other’s eyes.
I felt my face go white, my stomach drop, and my mind went to the movie “My Girl” where Thomas J. got stung to death by bees, and I thought that for SURE that was my fate. That my parents would be at my funeral crying over my closed casket looking to the sky saying “Why God, WHY!! It was just cockroach spray!”
We were paralyzed in fear. Just stood there staring at the moving sea of bees. “What are we going to do?! These giant bee ants are taking over our house and there’s no stopping them.” Pretty soon the only place there will be to go will be outside, in the dark night of the jungle, where there are snakes and frogs and (someone said they saw once) a PANTHER. What’s worse? Death by bee-ant or death by panther?? These are the decisions one needs to make in these moments.
So there was yet, one thing we hadn’t tried. As we just stood there, completely paralyzed staring at the sea of the black-bee-ant army, we decided to go the neighbor’s for help. It was late, and they aren’t usually up at that time, but by the grace of God, Dorothy next door, had to go pee. I walk over to her apartment and see the light on. In a shaky, small, little girl voice, on the verge of tears, I go:
“Um…Dorothy? We have a huge, giant problem in the apartment, can you wake up Marvin?”
In her soft, completely calm voice she says “what’s the problem honey?”
“Well, um, we have bees everywhere (thinking, “and OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”)”
She goes, “Oh? Let me come see. I can handle critters. Unless it’s snakes I’m not going to wake up Marvin.”
So she comes over barefoot, walks right in the house, looks at the sea of bee-ants and says “oh…ants. No big deal, just wait an hour and they’ll go away.”
Me: “So…ummmm…those aren’t bees? I mean, they have WINGS.”
Her giggling: “No…those are just ants.”
Apparently they don’t even bite.
She walks right into the middle of the sea, getting ants all over her feet, with a broom and starts sweeping the bee-ants outside, like it was NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER. Not acknowledging the fact that I almost just gave myself a heart attack while crying over my own funeral.
So we spent the next hour sweeping the (not bee) ants outside onto our patio, leaving a new sea of dead ants outside. Giggling about how ridiculous this whole situation was. And then we go to sleep.
In the morning, we wake up to some straggler ants dead on the floor in the kitchen. We get the broom, sweep them into a pile, and open the door to the patio to sweep them outside. When we open the door and look out onto the patio, expecting to see all the dead ants from the night before, we’re shocked when we see not ONE ant was on the patio. “HUH!?!” Less than six hours ago there were THOUSANDS of ants here. Today, ZERO!!! WTF!?
Me and Natalie, look at the empty patio, look at each other, then back to the patio, and stare at each other, confused.
“Wait…that actually DID happen last night, right?”
We checked with Dorothy and it did in fact happen. The mystery still remains however, about how those dead bee-ants disappeared.
And now…for the learning: 1) Never spray ants with cockroach spray, because all the ants will start to die, and then send of a warning scent to the other ants in the colony that there is danger and to leave the colony immediately, hence, ants pouring out all over your floor; 2) Never hesitate to ask for help, before you give yourself a heart attack about ants; 3) The fear of something is ALWAYS worse than the actual thing; 4) Stay calm and carry a big broom.