Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Ants Go Marching...

I think this story will be enough to put off anyone who is thinking about traveling to India. My apologies in advance to the Indian Tourism Board.

Imagine, for a moment, how much noise an ant makes when it is crawling across a surface.

Not much, eh?

Okay. Now imagine how many ants it would take to make an audible crawling sound.

Starting to get a mental picture?

Now imagine how many ants it would take to make a crawling sound loud enough to wake a sleeping human.

I woke up at about 4 a.m. last night to a funny scratching noise. As soon as I got my head together I realized it was coming from the metal "air conditioner" positioned above my bed. I knew, with a strange foreboding, that my air conditioner was full of insects. Hundreds and thousands of insects.

I thought for a moment. Leave it alone, or take action? After the "bug invades my jeans" episode, I went and purchased a variety of insect killers. I bug-bomb my room every evening (while I am away at dinner: see "Spider poison is people poison?"), air it out, then close all the windows for the night. But the air conditioning unit was clearly providing another method of access.

I thought, in my fuzzy 4-am sort of way, that both taking action and doing nothing would result in the same unwanted scenario. Better to face the scenario with weaponry.

So I grabbed my can of industrial-strength Indian Raid, stood out of the way as far as I could, and sprayed down the air conditioner.

Instantly thousands of ants began to pour out of the air conditioner; from the sides, around the cracks at the bottom, and through the vents. I sprayed and sprayed, watching as they began to slow down and die. My bedsheets began to fill with dead ants.

I went to open the window, to let out some of the toxic fumes. There I found something I hadn't prepared for. Hundreds of thousands of ants, having realized the danger of the air conditioning unit, were now seeping into the windowjamb. Opening the window would release them all.

But I had no choice; so the windows were forced open, the ants came pouring in, and I sprayed them down.

Then I went down to the veranda, in my pajamas, to clear my head.

When I came back, I cleaned up the corpses, but for some odd reason couldn't fall back to sleep. I wonder why. ^__^

BTW, the most disgusting part of the story came today, when I decided to turn the air conditioner on. It was hot, after all. I figured a few dead ants might get blown out, but then it would be over with. Little did I know that dead ants left overnight in an air conditioner apparently turn into black goo. How about I leave it at that.


Beth said...

Oh. My. God. You are a very brave person. I'm not particularly grossed out by or afraid of bugs, but I think that would have put me over the edge, especially at 4 a.m.

Blue said...

yeah... um... I just kept thinking about how great a story it was going to be. ^__^

ctrlalteredmind said...


Note to Self - take a big loan and/or plunge into credit card debt, but splurge on hotel expenses while in India and not staying at home :)

Daniel said...

Oh my god. Ick. Gross. Nasty. Disgusting.

a non toxic way to kill an ant (for example, if they're on your windowsill) is to spray soapy water. The soap dissolves their exoskeletons. (No, this isn't cruel or unusual; they have no pain sensors, so they can't feel it.)

I think I would move.

Ennis said...

Can you get your room changed? I'll bet other rooms don't have this problem.

You might also want to spray the outside walls so that they are deterred from trying to enter, but honestly, better part of valour and all that ...

Avinash said...

There's a product called Lakshman (Laxman) Rekha stick. It's like a chalk stick, containing some kind of insecticide. You can draw a line around your bed on the floor with that stick to keep insects away. The insects do not cross the line, at least not for a few hours.

Anonymous said...

Update - Blue had her room cleaned thoroughly. Hey Blue, update us!

Cyn said...

I really can't get enough of your Indian posts :-)

I haven't gone the tourist road, but still got the "Been there done, that T-shirt"

Your ants story craked me up, because I had a similar problem with corckroaches. Expet this was on my first night in my furnished room in Bangalore, the previous owner wasn't clean apparently, and the desk's drawer and the back of the wardrobe were infested, I asked my landlidy for the same type of spray, but as a results I ened up with hundreds of corckroaches jumping out and flying in my room...took me 4 hours to squash every single ne one of them with my sneakers and vow to never even participate in a fear factor like show ever, even under torture. And a couple of days later a friend told me "But you know there are some people who keep a roach as a pet and have it on leash" clearly those who do that have never been in India and assaulted by a legion of those.

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