Ants. They are little pesky things. This past weekend, my wife and I were reminded just how ingenious they can be. We don’t have them in the house but they are really industrious in the yard. They build their mounds all over, and it seems we have used every commercial ant poison or bait to get rid of them to no avail. The mound where we put it ceases to exist, but a few of the rascally ants move a short distance away and began another nest. Sometimes, so it seems the survivors split up and build 2 or 3 other nests. They are determined little rascals.
I remember playing with ants as a child. The term playing has to be understood very loosely in this context from a child’s point of view. I would watch a path of ants marching single file carrying food or going out in search of food and take my hand and swipe about a 4 or 5 inch path through that line of these industrious insects. I was always amazed that when the next ant in line came to where I had cleared the previous ants away, it would stop and then begin to meander aimlessly looking for the path that the ants in front of him had made. He literally had lost the scent of the trail from the ants in front of him because I had rubbed it out with my hand. Ants follow the scent of one another on their pilgrimages to or from the ant nest and their food source that they had found for that day.
I won’t say a lot about this, but as a child, I also thought it was fun to take a magnifying glass and focus the sun’s rays on an ant and watch him instantly turn to toast. When I was growing up without a cell phone or an I-Pad, children were very creative in finding things to do to entertain themselves.
Growing up in the upstate after my parents moved from Georgetown, I don’t remember any fire ants; we only had just those regular ants that didn’t bite. We do have them here in Georgetown, which I found out to my dismay a few weeks ago. Gas poured on those nests definitely ended that infestation of fire ants, along with the grass around those nests. Not sure how long it will take for the grass to come back, if ever, but at least the fire ants are gone. None were left from the gasoline to move on to start another nest.
My mom absolutely hated ants when they found their way into the kitchen and got into the cereal boxes or bread or whatever other food source they could find, in spite of her best efforts to keep them out. I think now, looking back, part of the problem was that houses back then were not constructed as air tight as they are now, so there were a lot of cracks and crevices through which ants could enter the home more easily than they can today.
So let’s go back to this past weekend, and our latest battle with the ants. We had several days of torrential downpours, which stirred these pesky little creatures to look for higher ground to keep from drowning. One large ant mound transformed into several, in the fence line, up next to the house, or any other high spot in the yard that is pretty much all the same flat terrain.
It seemed that where I had a few mounds in the yard, I now had dozens, which are still there. But there was one in particular I did not find until Sunday afternoon. It was indeed in a rare place. Sunday morning my wife and I took the pickup to church. After church we went to get a bite to eat at Wendy’s. After that we decided to go to Lowe’s for some building supplies I needed and for my wife to look at their discounted plants.
It was while we were there and I had finished loading the lumber in the back of the truck that things got interesting. I was looking for a small tack that I had in a compartment on the floorboard in front of the console to attach a red flag to the boards hanging out the back of the truck.
When I moved some items there, much to my amazement hundreds if not thousands of ants began scurrying in every direction. My wife, Kay thought they were carrying bits of food, but I told her it wasn’t food but eggs. I was horrified that my truck was infested with these pesky critters. Memories of my mom and her horror of ants in her kitchen came to my mind, except it was me this time.
So here I am in the pickup area of Lowes outside their entrance, not at home, battling ants in my pickup. I’m tossing things out from under the seat that are covered with ants; work gloves, tools, and papers, whatever. The battle raged for more than thirty minutes. No, I didn’t get them all but we did lessen the number down to maybe a few hundred scattered all over the truck floorboards by that time.
We left for home where we finished the job, taking everything out of the truck and eradicated those pesky ants with my wife’s homemade ant killer made from Mean Green and Windex. Ants are gone, truck is clean, smells relatively decent and even the carpet has a great sheen!
I was pondering as to how those pesky ants got into my truck and why. There was no food source there for them. Then I remembered. I had moved my truck for a few days off of the drive way and parked it on the grass, during the days of torrential downpours. The ants were looking for higher ground and as industrious as they were they found it. My truck became the home to the whole nest.
We all have difficulties in our lives. Many times we just want to give up, but of course most of us do not. We struggle on through the difficulty not knowing what to do next. God always has the answer if we will just look to him.
Proverbs 6:6 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” James 2:24 says, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
If the ants can figure out the hardships of life, surely we humans can, especially with the help of the Lord. Trust in Him. Oh, by the way, I won’t be leaving my pickup parked in the grass for any length of time again, especially if we have a heavy rain!
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at email@example.com. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 12 of which have been for the Times.