Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Mexico: Invaded by Ants


When I moved to Alamogordo last September, I noted the superhighway of tiny red ants marching incessantly in an organized, two-way swath on the sidewalk in front of my apartment.

Diplomatic policy

I've kept my eye on them throughout the year, but my insect policy is: You don't bother me and I won't bother you. And. Stay out of my house.

They didn't come to my house and I left them alone.

But last Thursday, I noticed a tiny red ant in my bathroom. Hm, I thought. A few hours later, I saw another tiny red ant in my bathroom. Hmmmmm, I thought.

Unprovoked invasion

On Friday morning, I went into my kitchen and discovered I'd been invaded overnight by tiny red ants. They were all over the place, "place" being my kitchen counter.

What happened to our deal, you tiny red ants? You, you scoundrels!


Yes, I annoyed the ants with vinegar and Lysol (and someone later suggested cut cucumbers would drive them away), but both were only stopgaps until the exterminator arrived.

I was impressed with the exterminator's judicious application of his fluid weapons. I also liked when he said he leaves a certain kind of spider (I forget the name), vinegaroons, and geckos alone - as they eat other insects.

It turned out that many people have called him recently and it's because of the rain. The rain pushes some of the insects inside. He's had an uptick in calls related to ants and scorpions.

And big surprise: He said the ants in my house might not be the ants out on the sidewalk. A different kind of tiny red ant.  

That was an interesting revelation and it reminded me of this story:

Watch out for superficial affinities

In Georgia, my cultural interpretor and hostess, Neli, told me that back in the day, when Georgia was at risk from yet another invasion from one force or another, they had a choice: ally with the Russians or the Azerbaijani?

The Georgians chose the Russians because they shared Orthodox Christianity, whereas the Azerbaijani were mostly Muslim. The Georgians thought this affinity with the Russians predicted a good alliance. Of course, they were wrong, and Russia later turned on them. A good lesson: Sometimes we have more interests in common with groups that we think are very different from us, than with groups we think are like us.

So these ants that invaded me might not have been my guys out on the sidewalk after all. Mea culpa.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

Azerbaijan wouldn't have been much of a bulwark against Russia, tho.

Mzuri said...

Possibly true! But Azerbaijan wouldn't have been the aggressor against Georgia. ..... [smile] some Georgians might say that Azeris are conquering Georgia more quietly via immigration.