Horrible, horrible freedom!


Apparently all this attention has gone to the yellowjackets’ heads, and they’ve started holding meetings — or possibly very boring parties — out in the open. A huge mass of them was situated right at accidentally-bump-with-your-knee height next to the nest, keeping up a sort of low buzzing mutter but mercifully never really moving much once they landed. A little later the whole lot of them was gone. Not for good, mind you, just out of the public eye.

Now, here’s the thing about me. I don’t like swarms. I think that’s a natural human reaction. Things that tend to swarm are things you tend not to want to encounter swarms of. It’s the reflex Crichton was presumably aiming for with that book about the nanobots (I won’t comment on whether or not he hit the mark there). It’s part of why sci-fi universes love to use nameless insect-like hordes of people or machines for their bad-guy armies and dystopian cautionary tales. It’s definitely why that video of the cute fuzzy blob suddenly resolving itself into about a bazillion little daddly longlegs has such a phenomenally high NOPE NOPE NOPE factor regardless of how you feel about encountering a solitary arachnid. What I’m saying is, I have a Rubbermaid container of roaches next to the head of my bed and I can hear them chewing in the middle of the night and I’m okay with that, I feed them scraps and pick them up with my bare hands, but when it comes to swarms of bugs that KILL THEM ALL switch flips on quite readily.

This isn’t actually about the yellowjackets, though I wasn’t a big fan of that get-together either. This is about the ants that materialized on the not-quite-empty-enough pudding container I set in another container on the floor for just a little too long. My old place got ants sometimes under these conditions — early fall, hard rain — but they came into the living room and never, ever, ever made it into the bedroom. Here, they come in through the bedroom. When it’s getting dark and you can’t quite tell whether that’s just the pattern again or if the carpet’s actually moving…. Needless to say, much shrieking and hand-flailing ensued. Followed by the sudden calm that apparently comes with premeditated killing, as I instantly threw out my hopes of getting to bed early to sleep off my cold, and headed straight to the nearest not-closed store to purchase a new bottle of ant poison at whatever price and quantity was necessary. (For what it’s worth, I did have ant traps in every room, but they’re next to useless in my experience with these guys).

Also, I understand that as a grocery-store cashier you’re supposed to greet all your customers with the same spiel regardless, but when it’s after 10PM on a Friday and a disheveled-looking person is buying ant poison and NOTHING ELSE, a pleasantly bland inquiry about how their day is going seems borderline malicious.

I also had some leftover diatomaceous earth, which is what I sprinkled around the point of ingress when the ants would swarm in the old place, but I have no idea where they’re actually coming in here. From the sorry state of the baseboard and windows, it could pretty much be anywhere. But I dutifully sprinkled it around the most likely edges — feeling a bit (as always) like I was warding off demons or something — then took a moment to be wildly thankful that they lacked either the ability or inclination to climb into the roach bin and start stealing goodies from there, and called it a night. Needless to say, I still have a cold. I also have shamefully little remorse about my mass ant-killing spree.

Anyhow, in the meantime I’ve been working on my less-ominous dragon-wasp, which wound up taking very little time. In part because I didn’t bother doing that good a job and it’s a small picture, but also because my pencils are all cool and organized, and I found myself some good Music For Tedious Coloring-in Jobs. Glowing praise I received for it: “It looks like plastic! Well — what I mean is, it looks like a toy. That’s a good thing!” I’m sure? Anyhow, she’s finished, so on to the next one.


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