26 September, 2013

900 and Counting

You just never know what is going to prompt the next posting. Take this morning for example.

Dianna went down to the pool house to take a short nap and came back up fairly quickly. She said, "Well, that was a bust."

"Why, what's wrong?" I said, expecting a broken pipe or something.

"Army ants. They're taking over the pool house."

Well, that's always a cool thing to watch. This would mark the sixth time we've been invaded by army ants since we built this place. They come in for a couple of hours and leave, taking all sorts of vermin with them, leaving your house virtually bug free.

We traced them up into the garden where it soon became apparent that their target this time was the smaller biting ants. I don't know what type they are, not the red ants, not the crazy ants, just biters. There was a pitched battle going on by this one bush in the garden, and it looked like the army ants were winning.

We could see the smaller ants out in front,running away, carrying eggs. So at least a few would get away. It didn't look like the army ants were coming any closer (right now) to our main house, but we followed them back to the other side of the pool house to see where they were coming from.

That was fairly obvious right away. Over the fence from the field just north of our place. But there were even more of them heading back out the same way, and each of them was carrying eggs. Something told us that it wasn't their eggs they were carrying, but the smaller ants eggs.

So, we traced them back to our gumbo limbo tree in the patio that we have several orchids growing on. This was the site of the main battle, obviously (to us, not so much in the photos) Army ants were all over the orchids and fighting with the smaller ants.
Gumbo Limbo With Orchid
 This is a black orchid, Belize's national flower. It was also home for the smaller ants who were rather unceremoniously being evicted, or at least, really having their apple cart upset.
Site of the Battle Royal
It may not look like many ants at a time, but three or four trails of them going constantly for a couple of hours, and you've got a huge number of ants.
Army Ants On the March
If you expand the picture, you can see fairly well, the larve being hauled off.
Hauling Off Eggs and larve
And here's the main trail of them going over the fence - both directions. This trail has been going for about two and-a-half hours now.
Over the Fence
It was just as well that the army ants were raiding. We've been pestered for months in the pool house and the Mennonite house by the smaller ants. Nothing we did seemed to be able to get rid of them. We tried ant bait of a couple different varieties - didn't make a dent. The only thing that was marginally effective was dusting cinnamon where we didn't want the ants. It's effective at keeping them at bay, but only for a few days. Still better than nothing.

The photo below shows Nelson, one of our two kitties, relaxing under a cool cover. It's a micro-fibre damp cloth that keeps the user cool for a couple hours at a time, till the water evaporates. He stayed under it for a good hour or so. It's a rough life, isn't it?
Nelson, Enjoying the Cool
Say, before I forget. You're probably wondering what the title of this post has to do with anything. Well, it's to mark the 900th post I've made for this blog. It got started shortly before we moved down here, with the idea that i was going to just document our trip down here and maybe a little after we arrived.

900 posts ends up being a lot of posts. They're all still online too. You can access them through the index feature on the right-hand column. So, enjoy. We'll see what happens for the next 900 or so.



  1. Dave,
    Happy 900!
    Remember that Tom & Jerry episode with the army ants and picnic? If I remember right, when the army ants came, Tom and Jerry united in friendship. So maybe you can put that on the list of God given jobs of the army ant?


  2. Dave,
    Forgot to add...If it's up to a vote, my personal favorite post happened 10/31/07 "A fence is a fence, But a house is a..."


  3. Wow, to think I've read all those too! Congrats and here's to a few thousand or more to come!

    If I can't be down there, then keeping up with you is a good way to keep the dream alive. Thanks for all the time and effort you've gone to in order to keep old retired people like me sated.


  4. Hi Rodney,

    Sorry about taking so long to respond. No Internet since Thursday. Upgrade went right to the stone age.

    anyway, I'm reading a book entitled 'The Lives of Ants' and army ants actually get fairly high marks as opposed to fire ants.

    Thanks for the comments.


    Hi Julian,
    Glad you enjoy the blog. Hard to believe there's that many postings.


  5. Most of us would like you to see if you can spit out #901.

    We're waiting... and I have 61 days and a wake up before flying into San Pedro!!!!

    Hope all is ok with you down there?!?!


  6. Happy 900, and here's to 9000 more !
    I really enjoy your Blog, it has been great reading of your adventures, turmoils and triumphs. All the best Dave and Dianna.

  7. Hi Julian,

    Hey, it does seem like 900 was sort of a plateau, for better or worse. Everything's fine, including writing. I've been gearing up to see if I'm up to 1,500 words a day, for some strange reason. I've also been making a bit of hot sauce. Don't know if it's hot to the taste yet, but I got some on the backs of my fingers and my hair follicles there have been burning all afternoon. Did I over do it?

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the good wishes. 9000 more, eh? Piece of cake.



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