GateHouse— Before the hairy crazy ants came, everything was going pretty well: Ohio State was losing, the AL East was being proficiently escorted out of the playoffs, I dropped a 98-point monster on my friend Matt in Words With Friends (“QUAILS” — holla!) Michelle Bachmann’s candidacy was fading into that permafrost netherworld and the only people still paying attention were lunatic nonagenarians from Iowa. Oh, and get this I FIXED A TOILET, by myself, USING TOOLS, sort of, and it stayed fixed until the next day when it was clearly still broken, but man, that was a deeply satisfying 12 hours.
And then, with everything swimming along swimmingly, I learned that the South — one of America’s largest, most buttery regions — was being invaded by hairy crazy ants.
This is their actual name: “hairy crazy ants.” This is their actual name because coming up with any other name for them would be pointless; you could call them “formicidae inferi” or “streptococcus abugslifei” or “Stuart” and it wouldn’t matter because everyone would just say “SWEET CHILD OF HOSANNA WHAT ARE THESE HAIRY CRAZY ANTS DOING IN MY SCRAMBLED EGGS?” (Or I guess I should say “WHAT ARE THEY DOING ALL OVER MY NASCAR FUNNEL CAKES AND TAYLOR SWIFT MUDFLAPS” because, again, American South. On the plus side if they’re invading the South and least this isn’t one of those plagues sent to wipe out gay people trying to get married.)
Luckily, the Internet is a wealth of information about hairy crazy ants. It reveals that the ants probably came from the Caribbean but are now in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. It says that if you stand in the yard, they’ll swarm all up over your shoes in seconds, so obviously sandal sales in Biloxi are way, way down. It mentions that they bite. Oh and it offers a VIDEO which is not to be watched in the dark because it reveals:
- The ants are hairy, especially on their bellies, which is one of the 5 Least Welcome Places Anything Should Be Hairy.
- They are crazy, because they move like crazy. They move like they’re poorly animated 1997 CGI monsters. NOTHING ON EARTH MOVES LIKE THEY MOVE, unless it’s being chased by Newt Gingrich.
They are also crazy because — and this is true — if one of the hairy crazy ants dies, it releases a chemical cue to attack the threat to their colony, according to Roger Gold, entomology professor at Texas A&M and a guy whose job I could literally not do for 30 SECONDS before bursting out of the lab doors and sprinting maniacally around campus shouting “GET THEM OFF ME SWEET CHILD OF HOSANNA GET THEM OFF ME” in between sobs. (Also, does anyone know who Hosanna is? It’s come up twice in this column so far, and it’s starting to bother me.)
“The other ants rush in (upon death),” Gold told the AP, in a story that has inexplicably not caused residents to scamper chaotically into the streets with curlers in their hair, slippers on their feet and mad rictus grins of terror on their faces. “Before long, you have a ball of ants.” DOES ANYONE ELSE WANT TO NEVER GO TO LOUISIANA AGAIN OR IS IT JUST ME?
Oh, and lest you think I’m being needlessly alarmist — LEST YOU — they also react similarly to pesticides. If, say, 100,000 of the ants are offed by pesticides, a million will rise up to take their places. Gold again, to the AP: “I did a test site … In 30 days I had two inches of dead ants covering the entire half-acre. It looked like the top of the dead ants was just total movement from all the live ants on top of the dead ants.” HOW DOES THIS MAN GET ANYWHERE NEAR ASLEEP AT NIGHT? I literally stepped in a pile of fire ants once in 2005 and I’ve basically been crying about it ever since.
Anyway, there’s really only one thing to do when you find your planet being overrun by hairy crazy ants: Leave immediately to find another planet. Clearly this is another instance of Earth or Gaia or Stevie Nicks or whatever growing ever wearier of having people on it. Frankly if someone moved into my house and dumped a Texas-size mass of garbage the pool, I would probably start inventing furiously marauding unstoppable insect life as well. Only difference: I’d make it way hairier.