Argentine Ant Control - Tom Junod on Ant Infestation - Esquire
I was never the first to see them until they became all that I saw. My daughter would see them before I did because she lived at their level and has good eyes. My wife would see them before I did because she was the first to get out of bed. I would wake up and go to the kitchen, and she would already be standing on a chair in her nightie, like the housewives in fifties sitcoms who were scared by mice. She'd have a blue bottle of glass cleaner in one hand and a roll of paper towels in the other, and she'd be engaging in a solitary orgy of prophylaxis. Everything from the pantry — the cookies, the crackers, the cereal, the dried fruit, the honey — would be sitting on the counter, sealed in ziplocks. Sitting next to them would be another half dozen ziplocks stuffed with paper towels stained blue as hydrangeas by glass cleaner and then flecked with brown. Some of the flecks were still alive and writhing; most were dead, stiffened into tiny spurs as individual as snowflakes. My wife would have looked like a scientist collecting samples for an experiment if she didn't also look like a soldier who had been at war for too long and was tired of the killing. The walls would be shiny with glass cleaner, which, since we were averse to pesticides, was our preferred poison, and the glass cleaner would be in the shape of the funnel clouds of alien invaders that had streamed from the outlets, from the tiny cracks in the walls, from the gaps in the window frame. The invaders scattered once they were under attack, leaving my wife to hunt them down one by one in corners and cupboards and on the countertop, revenge-movie style. It would be seven in the morning, and she'd have been already at the task of improvised extermination for a half hour or so, driven by the need to repel the invasion before my daughter woke up and saw it. The poor child grew up with her house under siege, but she still got pretty worked up by the knowledge that her house was home to not someone but rather something else — that she, an only child, had to share after all. She was never blase about it, especially when she was the first to see them running in a line along the floorboards or clustered in a blob in the bathtub. She would do what any sane person would have done, though she was still very young:
She would scream.
. . .
"We'll do population surveys at night. We'll go to a house and put out ten sugar-water stations around the house and another ten around the property. In the morning, the sugar water will be gone, and we'll have counted six hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand ants. And that's in a night."
. . .