The ants came again today.

It started with a faint, thready trickling along my leg, while I was working. At first, I thought it was Mr. Bell’s tail, since he was lying in my lap holding up my keyboard. Then, I saw a black dot working across my desk, and I looked down, and I realized that the trickling feeling was an ant working determinedly up my leg.

“Mr. Bell,” I said, “you are not doing your job.”

He opened one beady yellow eye to glare at me.

“MEOW!” he said.

“Touche,” I replied, squashing the ant on my leg and slamming my mouse down on the one on my desk. “Perhaps they were errant stragglers. Now I’ve sent the message and there shouldn’t be any more.”

But I couldn’t help and remember the warning words of my neighbor, whom I ran into last night.

“Wait until the ants come,” he said.

See, the thing about ants is that while we associate them with dirty houses, your house can be spotless and still any infested. Ants like food and water, which are present in most houses, and they like to explore. So when my neighbor said that, I thought oh, fuck,. My house is pretty darn clean for a small cottage with three cats and one cooking human, but ant-proof it is not.

“Oh, fuck” is right, it turns out, as I went to get a glass of water and saw the cats’ food bowl teeming with ants.

“Erghggwea!” I said.

Two hours later, the house has been fairly well scoured, and there is not an ant in sight, yet. I needed to bleach the ceiling anyway, since I noticed that some mold had popped up. This happens in old houses which are poorly ventilated and close to the ground, so it was not wholly unexpected, although it concerns me, with winter ahead. It looks like someone who shall remain nameless painted over the mold rather than treating it, unfortunately, so I think it is going to be a recurring problem. I will just have to keep bleaching, in the hopes of staving it off and perhaps eventually killing it.

I also swept, mopped, and vacuumed where applicable, in the hopes of making the floor less appealing. I’ve noticed that frequent mopping actually helps, with ants, since it seems to interrupt the chemical trails they use to communicate. Alas, I hate mopping. Once they emerge again, and they will, I’ll tape the entry whole and sprinkle some cayenne around for good measure.

Anyone else know of some good ways to get rid of ants? Because, I’ll be frank with you, ants give me the willies. I cannot stand them any shape or form.