“Listen babe,” my wife said, as I was making a cup of tea.
“What’s up?” I asked, expecting to be given an order on my day off.
“Don’t make the bed this morning,” she said.
“Make the bed?” I said, sheepishly; she’s never told me not to make the bed. I was half expecting her to tell me it was broken, or that she’d spent our last €50 on some new sheets.
“Yeah, it’s just that I saw a spider.”
“Yeah, it was massive,”
“A massive spider? Right.”
“Yeah, and I don’t know where it went, so don’t make the bed.”
“Are you serious? It’s just a spider.”
“Just a spider? They bite. I’m getting tired of this flat already, first the ants, and now a spider. Welcome to the jungle.”
I had to laugh. Jungle indeed, I thought as I tottered into the bedroom to find the massive spider, which was about the size of a chickpea, but you know what, she was right about the jungle.
I found the massive spider again a couple of days later in the bathroom as I was following another ant trail to work out where the little bastards were coming in. The spider was perched on the side of his net, curled up in a ball watching as an ant scurried in. The spider sprung out and wrapped itself round the ant.
“Good lad,” I whispered, “good lad.” At least someone was getting something out of the annoying ant problem that we have.
I never used to mind ants. Back at home they would always be scurrying about the garden and I’d never even flinch. I’d let them crawl along my foot and up my leg and then just flick them off. When I lived in Salvador, Brazil, I had a constant huddle of ants in my room waiting for when I accidently dropped food on the floor. They never bothered me though and at times they kept me company, along with the tiny lizards.
My wife has always hated ants though, in fact she hates most insects, especially cockroaches, but who doesn’t hate cockroaches?
“We had a huge ant problem one year and we had to move,” she said on the first ant sighting in the kitchen about six weeks ago, just two weeks after moving into our new ‘perfect’ flat. The ants were crawling down from the ceiling into the cupboard hunting for the sugar, which was in a jar with a small opening.
“Why did you need to move?”
“It became uncontrollable; the ants were everywhere and in everything.”
“Sounds like fun. Don’t worry, it won’t get like that,” I said, trying to play it down.
We moved everything to another cupboard, put down a couple of traps, and the ants disappeared.
A couple of days later there were a few hanging out by my laptop in the morning. I flicked them dead, wiped the top clean, and got on with my writing.
“The cabrones,” my wife shouted when she found them snooping around in her treasured pencil collection. We found the hole in the wall where they were traipsing in from, injected some strong disinfectant, and sealed it up with wall filler.
We thought it had worked until about a week later they started to appear in my son’s room. They were sneaking about in his wardrobe and under his changing mat. That’s when I started to get angry and realised we had to do something. I read up about what to do.
A few people suggested using baby talcum powder or chalk as ants won’t cross them, but the ones in our flat are hardcore and just bowl over it. If you kill them with your fingers it’s useless because the smell of their crushed carcass actually brings out more ants, so don’t try that one. I’ve found the best is to spray them with soapy water, they die almost immediately and you then wipe away the scent with a cloth.
This will only keep them away for a while though. Some nests can have up to 300,000 of the sneaky buggers and what you need to do is kill the Queen ant. Oh how I’d love to get my hands on her. But it’s not that easy. We’ve tried using traps in which the ants eat the poison and then take it back to the nest, but no joy at the moment. A lot of people have said get the big boys in to sort them out. But when I called our landlady she fobbed me off a bit.
“Oh that’s strange, we never had ants,” she said.
“Really? How weird,” I said, staring at the mounds of wall filler already blocking up previous holes. As we’ve only been here a couple of months, and love the flat apart from the ants, I let it go. “Well, we’ll try a couple more traps and see if it works.”
“Okay, if not then maybe we can get some people in to have a look.” Could have been worse I guess.
That was last week, and since then the problem has rocketed. We’ve spent ages going round the house filling in all the cracks and holes that we see ants marching out from. It’s frustrating though because you think you’ve got them blocked out, but the next day they pop out from somewhere else. I’ve worked out that they are coming from the electricity outlets, so they must be in with the cables somewhere. They sneak out of the plug sockets and these strange loosely fitted squares on the wall, which have to be connected with the electricity somehow. Can you tell I’m a great handyman? I’ve had to throw out all the flowers on the terrace because they were covered in ants too. I’ve also spoken to our neighbours and they are having the same problem, and have done for quite a while by the sounds of things.
We’ve both had enough now and are trying to get the landlady to get someone in. I never used to be bothered by stuff like this, but it’s different now there’s a baby in the house. Everywhere I look I think I see an ant, it might just be a spec of dust, or a massive spider, but until I look closely for sure I can’t rest knowing another line of ants are coming to attack.
I swear the Queen ant can see me from somewhere. Sure she’s laughing at me cursing and swearing every time I moan that I’m losing precious writing time. I’m dreading when it gets really hot and the cockroaches and mosquitoes start to appear, that’s going to be a right barrel of laughs; the joys of living in Spain.
Anyone else out there had an ant problem? Any words of advice?