It’s not the heat…

…it’s the ants!

“Quirk week” continues on the JMD blog; now, read on…

I keep all sorts of stuff in my refrigerator.  A good amount of that stuff has no perishable need to be refrigerated.  A tour through my refrigerator will uncover such novel items as cereal, crackers, bread, tea, sugar, salt and raisins, to name more than a few.

During my last BBQ, someone commented with interest (and perhaps some amusement) at the variety of non-refrigerated items I kept in my refrigerator.

Originally, I said this was a learned technique from my Mom or Grandma, but now that I think on it more, I realize it was because of an infestation of those ubiquitous sugar ants that bedevil kitchens all around the globe.

I was a few years into living on my own, storing foods in the refrigerator like most ordinary people…milk, cheese, opened sauces and the like.  My pantry was appropriately the domain of the rest, such as chips, canned goods and boxed foods.

One morning, I opened my pantry to grab some cereal and was startled (literally, I think I actually shouted out loud) by ahugeamount of tiny ants scrabbling up my pantry door, across my shelves and, to my utter horror, into my box of cereal.  Ahhhhh!

Here’s my thing:  I like bugs.  I like bugs a lot.  I just don’t like them in my home.  And I sure don’t like them in my food!  I flashed through a number of emotional reactions, all bad, and then began the sorry process of disposing of lots of food and then expunging an entire can of smelly pest spray better suited to bigger and less plentiful bugs.

After the interminable cleaning up, I noticed many of these critters were still moving.  To my horror, I saw the line of them, down the pantry, across the tile, down the baseboard and following the wall out the door.  Ahhhhh!

Over the years, I have had countless battles with these seasonal visitors.  Unlike “regular” ants, these guys only appeared once in a while…waiting just long enough to make me think I had seen the last of them…and then they’d pounce!  (Okay, maybe the concept of these tiny things “pouncing” is a bit exaggerated, but go with me)

My defense was mainly to move any opened item into the fridge.  Nothing that lives has ever invaded my fridge.  Ever.

The weird thing about these ants is that they have never gone after the garbage can (no matter how stinky it might get between trash pickups).  Some kind of food or sauce spill on the counter or floor; a forgotten box left in an accessible location; a gum wrapper in the workroom; but never the kitchen trash.  Weird.

So, call it a quirk or call it self-preservation, but I keep any open food item in my fridge.  And not because of the humidity.

Well, okay, maybe the salt.

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