I Haven’t Killed Them Yet
Our last episode ended with a cliffhanger – and I am sure that most of you have been on the edge of your seats for two days, wondering if I managed to snuff out my new, mail-order ant colony – or if Wonderbutt had taken care of the job for me. You will be happy to know that the ants are still alive, all but one, in a temporary home that once contained Vitamin Zero water (lemonade flavor, which, quite frankly, is not my favorite anyway). I successfully refrigerated them for half an hour and transferred them with great ceremony to their new home by opening their tube and allowing them to tumble into the bottle. My daughter, Dimples, was completely unimpressed by the whole event, as the mouth of the bottle was wide enough for me to discharge the whole mass of numb ants at once instead of having to scoot one at a time through a tiny opening like I will have to do when I move them to the farm. Which begs the question of, “Why are ant farms deliberately manufactured to hinder the initial entrance of ants, thus making classroom teachers everywhere hop onto their desks screeching as the crazed insects swarm away from the minute opening on the ant farm and race across the table and down its legs so they can, instead, crawl up inside the more hospitable pants of the humans who attempted to imprison them for their own amusement?” It’s one of life’s unsolved mysteries.
Here is a picture of the ants in their Vitamin Zero bottle. I poked a tiny hole in the top to give them air. Even though the tube they arrived in had no such hole that I could discern. But I seem to have read somewhere that even insects need air. Then I was worried that the ants would find a way to squeeze out of the hole. So, I came up with the ingenious idea of putting a duct tape force field around the cap, so they would stick to it if they got that far. In retrospect, that might be perceived as a bit cruel and probably somewhat paranoid. The hole is the size of a pinprick, and these ants are huge. But insects are tricky little creatures, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to be cautious.
Wonderbutt got jealous as I was taking pictures of the ants (as soon as he hears camera sounds, he comes running), so I decided to let him take a peek at the bottle.
He quickly lost interest once he detected no delicious smells and observed that the ants were far too industrious for his taste. Though they do share his stubborn ability to bulldoze large objects out of their way, ants do not seem to appeal to Wonderbutt, so they should be safe for a couple of days.
I will take the ants to school on Monday, and the students will help me set up their new habitat. Then, they will watch in awe as I show them the right way to move ants who have been refrigerated for an appropriate amount of time into an ant farm. Then the parents will call the school that afternoon as they receive reports of their child’s teacher spewing a few ill-chosen words while the ants rebelled and hastily converged on the humans gathered around the new containment unit. Good times…