Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waging War With the Aid of a Nazi

The other week I happened to be out in lawn when the Lawn Nazi appeared and we accidently made eye contact. I could either salute him or say some words so I chose the latter. We made some strained polite conversation for a few seconds and then he mentioned that my lawn was looking pretty good. I made the comment that in the wet weather we have been having, almost every lawn looks good and went on to say that I was battling ants.

I have had ants in my backyard since I bought the place. I have normally just laid down a protective barrier of chemicals around the entrances to the back of the house and that has kept them at bay. They build up their colony and I mow it down when I mow the lawn. It was a plutonic relationship until this spring when either they started taking steroids or were experiencing a population boom or both. Their ant hill in the backyard went from dinner plate size to table size almost overnight to the point where it killed all the grass in the area and was mounded up so high I couldn't mow over it. Worse, another colony started up in the front lawn and quickly built two colonies several feet in diameter also killing the grass. Even worse yet, the protective barrier of chemicals around the doors seemed to have no effect on the creatures and they began to invade the house. For only the third time in my life, I declared war on a living species of animals.

I used up my inventory of talc-like powders that were in the garage but the ants merely stood up on their rear set of legs, laughed at me and ate the powder like candy. Thinking it was just out-of-date since it had been in my garage for five years, I bought two new cans of the stuff, one of each flavor sold. This time they didn't just laugh but ran over and kicked dirt on my shoes in spite. I was out in my lawn contemplating lighting them on fire when I saw the Lawn Nazi.

When I mentioned my ant problems to him, the Lawn Nazi's eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning that found a whole room full of presents after he thought everything was over. He quickly bent down to cut the stray weed by the utility pole that he couldn't get with his push mower and ushered me into his garage where he pulled out not one but four different cans of various ant powders. He also went inside his house and brought back three different types of ant baits and traps that he recommended. I told him that if I used any more powder on the ants they were going to beat me up for being a pest and that the baits worked well inside the house but I wanted to stop them before they got that far. So he gave me a list of pellets that he was currently out of and sent me off to the store.

I bought the pellets and dutifully sprinkled them over the affected areas and in-between my house and those areas. I watered them in and waited. A week later the anthill expansions were put on hold and when I disturbed the top of the mounds, a few hundred ants (as opposed to the thousands before) staggered out of the ground holding their stomachs with all four arms and generally cursing my lack of morals. But this was war and I did what anyone would do in a war in which you now had the upper hand after being whooped up upon for so long, I ground them under the heel of my boot and spread more pellets upon them. Now a week later, I am happy to report there they appear gone for good and I have won a complete victory. I'm just not sure if it was the pellets or the trail of honey that went across the street to the Lawn Nazi's lawn.


Woody said...

Thank God ya'll don't have fireants yet.

Aaron said...

I find gasoline to to be as effective a combatant, but clearly the most satisfying.

TC said...

Aww, making piece with the lawn nazi, huh? Would Murf be proud of you or disappointed?

R. Sherman said...

Ditto Aaron's remedy which I've used on moles and chipmunks, as well. When in doubt, deploy the WMDs, methinks.


Murf said...

It's not peace. Ed was using the Lawn Nazi and I support that 100%!

Ron said...

Ants could rule the world if they wanted to, I think.

I found your account of the battle very humorous. :)


sage said...

Beware of unholy truces with nazis!

Ed Abbey said...

Woody - I'm partially colorblind so I don't know if they are red or not but since they don't appear aggressive and only seem to seek out food, I'm guessing they are just the garden variety yard ant.

Aaron - I would have loved to do that if it weren't for a stupid ordinance about burning ants alive.

TC - No peace. Let's just call it a day off.

R. Sherman - Last night when I was mowing the lawn, I found a new colony starting up, or perhaps what was left from the first two moved to a new location. How many megaton yield do you think I would need to take care of them but spare the house?

Murf - I wonder if he feels he has been used?

Ron - I think they would rule too. I had you in mind while writing that post.

Sage - I hope it doesn't come back to bite me.

Beau said...

Wow, I can't imagine ant hills and colonies of that size. I'd have to use a little fire and fuel if the situation allows. But glad it worked out for now. "Trail of honey..." that's a good one!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Come south for fire ant lesson. There are fifteen or sixteen guaranteed cures for fire ants and I use them all but when I really get ticked off I just waste the mound and the outer boundaries of the mound with a gallon of clorox (or non brand named other chlorine bleaches). The resulting yellow, dead mound on the lawn I once viewed as disgusting, now I consider such mounds as symbols of mini-victories against the ultimate owner of us all.

Frank D. Myers said...

For heaven's sake keep those aggressive ants down in your neck of the woods. I've got enough problems over here with creeping charlie and my own lawn nazi.

Ed Abbey said...

3 Score - I like that. I'm enjoying my dead mounds right now every time I walk by them.

Frank Myers - I used to really have a creeping charlie problem but I started spraying weed-b-gone in the spring a couple times and I'm definitely winning that battle after three years. Instead of CC owning two thirds of my lawn, it is back to a more livable 1/10th or less.

PhilippinesPHil said...

"plutonic relationship." I had to look it up in the urban dictionary, but it still didn't exactl fit, maybe in a way. In wikepedia, plutonic refers to a geologic intrusion, so that's kind of close. I have to say your use of this phrase has got me a little stumped, but I like the creativity.

Can I trade all my neighbors for this guy living across the street from you? I refuse to use your word for him. I like him. I'd love it more if he moved and some miscreant family moved in that kept four or five car wrecks in the front yard and mowed once a summer whether it needed it or not. Sometimes you really get under my skin Ed, you ever notice that?

Ed Abbey said...

Phil - You and I are like oil and water but over the year or two we've known each other, I've kind of grown to like that fact. You keep me honest because I know you'll call me on something where other's might let it pass.

You are correct in that my relationship with the Lawn Nazi is a love/hate one. I hate that he disdains me because of my lawn but I love that his lawn is much better to look at than a junked out car up on blocks.

On your other point, the word I was striving for was platonic. Grammar was never a strong point with me.