Metro 116

Richard Herring is taking on the ants… and winning

Wednesday 28 May 2014 
This week, God showed his displeasure in me by sending a plague of ants down upon me.
I came down to the kitchen to find that maybe 20 or 30 ants were scurrying around on my worktops. I admit it’s not one of God’s more impressive plagues, certainly when compared with the locusts or the sores He’s sent in the past. But I haven’t done anything that bad to God, just questioned His existence a bit and so His response is proportionate. My mild blasphemy is worth 30 ants. There has to be a sliding scale on the plagues or their impact becomes meaningless.
The insects were getting in through a hole in the window sill, so I thwarted their plans to transform my home into the world’s biggest anthill by blocking the fissure with a matchstick. I watched as the clueless ants got confused and upset when they couldn’t get back through the hole. The idiot ants. I am much better than them.
I then further proved my superiority by squashing some of the ants with my finger. That would teach them for coming into my house and eating my crumbs. Yeah, OK, I probably wasn’t going to eat the crumbs myself but they still belong to me.
I’d left out the remains of a takeaway that I’d had the night before (which might have been what caused the ant plague, thinking about it). So I threw the cartons away in the bin outside, nobly allowing the ants that were still crawling over the boxes to live, albeit in a new environment several ant miles away from where they had previously been.
But the remaining ants were not so lucky. I brushed them into the sink and turned on the taps, washing maybe 11 ants to a horrific death. I laughed as they flew down the whirlpool of the plughole. The ants had dared to disrespect me and my home and my crumbs and now they were paying.
I am sensing some woolly liberal readers are feeling that the death penalty was not appropriate for this crime. The ants, the yoghurt-knitters will argue, were only following their instincts and a custodial sentence would have been more appropriate.
But I haven’t got time to capture ants, try them in an ant court, based on ancient ant law, build an ant penal facility to keep them in (think how secure that would need to be) and stand guard over them for 24 hours a day, for months or years in the hope that will teach them not to reoffend. And would they learn or would they just do the same thing again?
I believe the death of a few ants will probably serve as a warning to the others and they will go about mending their ways and stay outside in the ground where they belong. This strong-handed response might have nipped a Planet Of The Ants situation in the bud. You should be thanking me.
Alternatively, the unjust ant murder might be the spark that will cause the ants to rise up against their human oppressors and create the conditions for a world where ants are our masters. Sorry about that. Just to be on the safe side, it’s probably best that you stamp on any ant you see. Kill the ants! For the good of humanity. It’s their fault. Almost entirely.
There’s also a hornet’s nest at the end of my garden. The hornets aren’t doing any harm but I’d better go and hit it with a stick, just in case they’re planning anything.