Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grass, Ants, and That Darn Murphy

I think the fates are conspiring against me.

Last time, I talked about how I transplanted a couple of blueberry bushes.  After taking a photo, I came to the realization that I really, really needed to clean up weeds and grass that were growing into my path that leads up the hill.

I know, I know... you saw this yesterday, but I feel this is a big enough mess that it needs to be shown twice.
It's that bad. 

This is all very simple:  Pluck the grass and plants that are growing within the edges of all of the bricks, remove bits and pieces that have begun to grow within the retaining wall, then pour boiling water in those areas (being careful, of course, to avoid the blueberries).  Again, simple.  It's time consuming, yes, but easy.

At least, it should be.  I seem to have a habit of turning easy things into complex situations, however.

I began the cleanup, and things were going quite well.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself.  Perhaps that's the reason that shortly after taking this picture, I ran into a huge obstacle.  You know, Murphy's Law, and all.  Darn that Murphy!!!

I began plucking out grass that was growing through cracks in the upper edges of the retaining wall.  It was then that it happened.

I angered some ants.

Ok, I know... big deal, right?


See, when I say that I angered some ants, I really, truly enraged them.  How, you ask?  I plucked the wrong tuft of grass.  The thing that made this particular tuft of grass so important to the ants was that it's roots had grown deep into the colony.  So deep, in fact, that when I uprooted it, I showered large amounts of pupae onto the tops of the retaining blocks.

Yeah, they got a little upset...

The workers swarmed the area for a bit, in complete confusion.  Then they began to pick up each individual pupa and carry it back underground.

There aren't very many oval shaped, cream colored pupae in this photo, largely because it took me longer to get over the shock of this (and grab my camera phone to take a picture) than it took the ants to start picking them up to carry them underground.

And they worked fast.

In under thirty seconds, every single pupa was back under the ground and safe.

These pupae will soon become worker ants, and the cycle will begin again.  Hopefully this time, however, I won't disrupt them.  I may be perfectly happy walking right up to a bee swarm, but ants are a different story entirely.  I'm quite happy to leave them in peace, thank you very much!

And unlike the ones in El Paso, where I used to live, the ones here are huge!!!

Ok, well, maybe not that huge, but you get the picture, right?

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