Friday, May 07, 2010

Ants for Pets

Cleaning up after breakfast, we found some ants chowing down on a piece of popcorn laying by the patio door. They were swarming on the popcorn, and milling about by the patio door. I called the boys over to check out this feature of nature. Isaac wanted to know if we could keep them for pets. Levi wanted to know if these are the ones that bite. Eli was trying not to step on them.

We watched for a while, and then we picked up the piece of popcorn and threw it outside. Then we all took turns picking up the tiny little ants and throwing them outside as well. Isaac was hoping we could keep one or two of them. He was hopeful that if we let the ants stay in the house, we'd never have to sweep the floor again. We could drop all the food we wanted on the floor, and the ants would clean up for us! Sorry Isaac, that's not the way it works with ants.

Since the boys had grown fond of their new pets, we decided to give them food. We put some cereal and honey outside on the patio. Now we'll check in every once in awhile and see how their picnic is going.

I have to admit that this non-violent treatment of ants is partially inspired by an NPR interview with E.O. Wilson. On the radio one Friday afternoon I heard him explain alternative ways of turning away an ant invasion without slaughtering them. For reasons I don't fully understand, when the opportunity presented itself this morning to remove the ants, it was more intriguing to get creative than destructive. We'll see how well this plan works in the days and weeks to come!

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