Small, creepy bugs

Never mind the international strife. I’m convinced we are about to be taken over by small, creepy bugs. If it isn’t the head lice at school, it’s ants at my house, inside and out.

I have held my ground thus far, but a careless crumb or pat on the head could turn the tide. And just the mention of them makes me itch for days.

The resilience of head lice continues to astound me. We are not in the middle Ages. We are an advanced civilization and most of us have hot and cold running water available and lots of soaps, salves and chemicals at our disposal. And yet, every year, without fail, normal kids from normal families turn up with head lice. We have conquered polio, measles and a dozen other fatal diseases, but these revolting little creatures just won’t go away. I wonder where exactly they hang out between the time each child checks out clean and the next breakout six months later.

And the ants will take the day by a combination of numbers and stealth. Every time I work in the garden, I end up with one crawling in my hair or up my arm. I’m pretty certain if you could X-ray my house and yard, you would find a giant ant farm under every surface. There is no predicting their house attacks. Sometimes it’s because of extreme heat. Sometimes it’s because it has rained. Sometimes I think they just do it to annoy me and remind me who’s really in charge.

Two weeks ago, I came downstairs to a moving feast for 1,000 ants across my kitchen counter. This was even more of a surprise, because it is really hard to spot them on my new, ant-colored granite.

The next week, I discovered they had opened up a day-spa all the way around the edge of my hot tub. I swear I saw one getting a manicure. I took after them with my best baking soda and broke up the party, but the clean up was copious.

And I know they haven’t gone far. They are simply biding their time, in sneaky ant fashion, until I look the other way. I’m wondering if I can’t rally the army of spiders in my yard for a full web counter-offense.

Do I need a license for a pet anteater?

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who is not at one with nature just now. Contact her at


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