The word for ant in Spanish is Hormiga (oar MEE gah.) We’ve seen quite a few Iguanas during our past 4 months at Casa Iguana but those sightings are way outnumbered by our daily ant sightings. So many that we have nicknamed Casa Iguana, Casa Hormiga.

We are routinely mesmerized by the tiny crazy ants, stung by the black fire ants and alarmed by the size of the nocturnal carpenter ants. We are forced to throw away sugar, spray poison and flee in pain, slapping at our legs, from the vicinity of stinging ants.

“Crazy ants” are close to microscopic in size and whirl in so many directions that they confound their observers. I often don’t realize there were ants on the object in my hand until I feel a little tickle halfway up my arm. They are remarkably quick to retreat. When I see them in the sink, I only have to turn the water on to make them all disappear.

The “crazy ants” are unpredictable. At times they run along the edge of the counter, avoiding the towel, and at others they avoid the counter and travel solely across the towel. I picked up my toothbrush only once to find it covered in ants. Why they chose that day to enjoy the leftovers there, I cannot say.

The other day I was clearing breakfast dishes from a table at the lodge and stopped, plates in hand to look at a perfect row of tiny ants drinking from the edge of a water spill. They looked like zebras lined up at a water hole.

Outside our outhouse door is a new row of ant lion lairs, which fascinate me. I wonder how long it will be before I see a successful capture and wonder if I will be able to watch.

There are so many ants at Casa Iguana that I feel it is only a matter of time before they carry off one of the iguanas or perhaps one of the dogs.

During our year in Belize we woke one night to a torrent of Army Ants marching through the house in search of prey. We were forced to abandon the bed and the house. Tucking our pillows under our arms and picking up the cat, who was clearly in big trouble, we fled down the hill and slept in one of the cabañas. The next morning we returned to find the empty carcasses of scorpions and lizards that had been flushed out, consumed and abandoned by the marching ants.

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” – Edward O Wilson

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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