Kythnos

Ants on Kythnos

I did not fully emerge until nearly nine o'clock. I lingered, slugabed. Woken in night - I had been bitten but bites not big to look at by the light of morning. They seemed and itched huge last night. Nose blocked then and now. Do not feel as though I have a cold. What was it? Later I wondered if the insect repellent was causing some sort of allergic reaction. Could it be the effect of the bites? Not the debugger as my nose was blocked I think before then - but as asleep I did not notice it.

During the night I had got up for a drink, to put in the debugger and switch off the fridge. I didn't know if it was the fridge or the biting insects that was keeping me awake. Then I saw heaps of ants around the sink. I had seen the odd ant in Greece before, but rarely indoors and certainly never in the quantity that I was to find in my room on Kythnos. Usually when I see ants they are marching along a footpath and I try to take great care to avoid treading on them. Here I had no such compunctions. What is a pleasure to watch is a nuisance indoors! I washed up what I could. Small ants - they must like water. I washed out the J cloth yesterday but the ants clung like fury to the fibre particles of the J cloth. Until then I had not realised how loose textured a J cloth was. Back to bed.

Mopped up dead ants this morning - but still some live ones. And heaps of greenfly fallen off the plants I picked by roadside. If I stayed here long enough, would the room achieve some sort of ecological equilibrium? When I got back last night, I found a huge solid and reddish insect on its back on the floor. I scooped it up on a piece of paper and took it outside - I had not had debugger on so did not poison it. Then my reaction was to get it out of my room as soon as possible. Now I wish I had examined it. I remembered the time many years before when I had come back to the flat I was then living in after a weekend away. I had a straggling sort of succulent with spikes - and found that something had been chomping large bites out of the leaves. Something I think green and caterpillar like. Then I wanted to get it out of the flat ASAP to stop the creature wreaking any more havoc. Then, as now, it was only later that I stopped to wonder what the creature was - an apparently soft skinned caterpillar - that had munched its way through so much prickly plant. Just escorted a large spider out of my room. Individually I would not hurt insects, but as a swarm they are a pest that Tom and Jerry cartoon of marching ants - outnumber me and I resort to heavy handedness to out thwart them.

I am keeping things in the fridge that I would not usually keep in the fridge - sugar, coffee, and biscuits, to keep the ants off! The ants have not yet penetrated the sealed closed door of the fridge. The countryside is just above me - the last building at the edge of town, yet so central. That explains all the wildlife - lizard, grasshopper/locust, and "big" insect - as well as ants.

The sponge by the kitchen sink was full of ants each time I loked at it (the sortage of water to wash away the ants is another story). I could not use the sponge as a sponge, but it was a useful ant trap! I got some yogurt on my fingers while opening a pot of yogurt. In the absence of water to rinse my hands under, I dabbed my fingers on the sponge. Then I wondered if the yogurt would attract the ants even more?

Coffee time ( as well as a water shortage and ant infestation, thee were also intermittent power cuts, so I made a cup of coffee when I could heat water……………..). I rinsed my mug out with a drop of mineral water (I rinse it before use, not after use!). There was a coffee stain round the edge, but I did not fancy using an ant infested sponge to clean it with. The infestation could have been worse - it could have been rats……….ugh!

The ants. I delayed swilling them down sink until I had washed my hair. They had been getting in to the washing up sponge. I thought that I had outwitted them by putting the sponge on the cross bar of the swivel tap. So far, I had outwitted them. Last night they found their way up to the sponge. I have given up the sponge for food use - have left it on the side of the sink - if they congregate on it I can drown them if water is available. The lines of the song came to mind. "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die." Have I unwittingly swallowed a fly - ant? I now keep the sugar in the fridge, but look at the brown lumps suspiciously (as there is no water to wash spoon in before using it for coffee and sugar. Perhaps in these circumstances best to use it for sugar first and get white specks of sugar in the coffee. Once I found a fly floating in newly made coffee - but not an ant, I think. But how did fly get into newly made cup of coffee. I though of Tom and Jerry ant cartoon, with ants tramp, tramp, tramping, march, march, marching.. I dread getting ants in wardrobe or bed - creepy! They are such persistent little monkeys. How do you get rid of them (ant poison, I know). I have ants in the garden at home - they leave huge heaps of fine soil, far finer than anywhere else in the garden - how do they do that? Yet, so far they have not found their way into my house.

I have got ant poison at home - my garden is full of anthills - but they never go indoors. I prefer using boiling water to kill them - not nice for the ants (then neither is poison) but more "green." Here - no electricity - no boiling water - no water. Do the little blighters I wash down the drain creep up again? Where does the drain go?

Other rooms not occupied - at least not on my level. I think I heard a cough from level above. On my level doors open in readiness for new arrivals. Next one has a sort of bookcase with glass front cupboard.

Could ants climb those legs? Could the ants get into my bed? Have you ever kept knickers in a fridge? I did not! I might need to!