By Allison Adams 06-26-11 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 06-26-11
I was raised in Texas where people (ALL people) live shoulder-to-shoulder with la cucaracha.
High society people call it a Palmetto bug.
You can sugarcoat it any way you want to, but the fact of the matter is if it walks like a cockroach, and talks like a cockroach – it’s a cockroach.
They say if somebody dropped an A-bomb on the State of Texas, there would be only one survivor: the cockroach.
Of that – and also death and taxes – you can be certain.
The cockroaches in Texas are so big (“How big are they?”) they rearrange your furniture at night while you sleep.
In Texas the cockroaches travel in herds and that’s one of the reasons the household pest exterminator is considered the modern day cowboy.
He is revered regardless of whether he wears a 10-gallon hat or a baseball cap.
As was the case with most “bug men” and their clients, mine was so important to me that his phone number occupied the top spot on my speed dial, and his name was on my Christmas card list.
All Texas bug men had job security. Against la cucaracha, they occasionally won the battle, but never the war.
I’m telling you all of this just to let you know that I am no stranger in the world of household pests and the extermination thereof … but I had no idea what I would be up against last Monday, when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted one little black ant on my kitchen floor.
I watched it closely.
It appeared to be on a reconnaissance mission.
I continued to keep my eye on it and casually crept my clodhopper in its direction.
I don’t think it ever saw my cowboy boot comin’.
I rocked my foot back and forth just to be sure the deed was done. (Unlike the underfoot eradication of the cockroach, which is signaled by a distinctive crunch, the itty-bitty black ant squashes silently.)
Shortly thereafter I realized that when that ant didn’t return back to its platoon to report its findings they would send out a search party.
I had barely completed that thought when I spied a thin black line emerging from the cabinet below the kitchen sink.
Good grief, they work quickly … but so do I, my friends – so do I!
I wiped-out the whole brigade with one swift step of my size-9 squisher!
Victory was short-lived, however, and they kept coming.
They marched two-by-two, and the little one stopped to tie its shoe.
Then there were more; shutting the door, picking up sticks, closing the gate, etc., etc. Hurrah! Hurrah!
It turned out they were being nourished by my teenaged son and his buddies, who inadvertently littered the kitchen counter with morsels of their sugar-and-preservative diet, despite my orders to the contrary.
That turned the battle into an all-out war.
For the next several days the General of the itty-bitty black ants – whose Command Central appeared to be somewhere beneath my kitchen sink (or behind my refrigerator, or within the very wood grain of the baseboards along the bottom of my kitchen island) – deployed thousands teeny-tiny troops to terrorize me.
I drew from my experience and went into Full Exterminator Mode.
Determined to make their undersized existence unbearable I launched a comprehensive attack consisting of an arsenal of natural sprays and toxic traps.
It. Was. Epic.
I waited for the ants to retreat once they realized they were up against a formidable force.
But. They. Didn’t.
So naturally, I went on vacation.
(At least they’re not Palmetto bugs.)