Time for a Cleaning…Compliments of the Army

I had to make a stiff drink before writing this one out.  There are no pictures because it just does it no justice.  I am posting a video, however.  One of the short ones.  And my foot is propped up on the table due to a bite sustained by one of the soldiers.  I have only ever read about this or seen documentaries taken deep in the Amazonian jungle describing this phenomenon.

Two words: Army Ants.  After it stopped raining, I went out to grab my $6 cocoa powder for a recipe I was going to make.  I came back and noticed about 20 very large black ants on the verandah in the corner.  Hmmmm ok.  I get the broom and swept them off, knowing full well this is only part of the story.  I look down and it’s like watching water in a stream.  There are thousands of these ants (oh, and of course they’re NOT small) swarming all over the ground and going in different directions.  Some toward my neighbor’s yard, some toward the front of the house and some toward the back.

Oh, this can’t be good.  I carefully walk around to see where they’re coming from and it appears beneath the cinder block under the house.  And I mean POURING out of it.  Then some start coming up at the other post.  I sweep and spray around that post too.  Then I start seeing geckos and lizards climb up on my porch.  Another bad sign.  I look down to see them almost everywhere.  It reminds me of the story I heard about in Guyana where someone was sleeping then felt they were getting attacked by ants.  They went out of the cabin, turned on the light and found these ants marching through…devouring every living and dead thing in sight.  They waited it out, because honestly, what else can you do?  They said it was cleaner after they left than it was before they were there.  These ants are also used in the bush for sutures (sp?) to hold wounds together.  They make the ant clamp on then cut it off at the neck…holds the skin in place and heals quite nicely.  Obviously you have to do this quite a few times depending on the size of the gash.

Speaking of that, I attempted to get pictures of these guys and TRIED to watch where I was stepping but one got on me and bit my foot.  Let me tell you, it does not feel good and it’s still burning slightly.  The longer video showed them devouring what appeared to be a roach (yay!!).   Oh, so I text my landlord because I’m confident she will know what’s going on here…and my assumptions were correct.  I quote: “Yes. This are the cleaning ants. Dont sweep dont touch. Just leave them go through. They leave as they come. Leave the house and come back in 2 hours. They will have gone.  I had them yesterday at my  house.”

I got nervous when I saw them starting to climb up onto the roof and I could even see them up there through the clear plastic sheeting.  They are still climbing up the post and along the gutter.  I’m just hoping they sort of forget about the interior of the house and stick to the outside of it instead.  ESPECIALLY since it’s about to get dark in an hour.

You know, I will say this, it certainly has been an experience being here.  I haven’t missed out on too much, have I?  I’ve seen the cute cuddly things, the tiny minuscule lizards and geckos, the gigantic insects, all types of birds and now this.  Never a dull moment.  I really feel like I’m not at the top of the food chain.  I mean, had I been out like a light, unable to wake up on the GROUND, would these things have just eaten me alive?  Taken a few hours to reduce me to nothing?  I seriously wouldn’t doubt it.  SCARY…once again.

Video here:  http://youtu.be/7DDKN0nXKOQ

Tiny refugee from the army ants. That coin is about the size of a U.S. quarter.
Tiny refugee from the army ants. That coin is about the size of a U.S. quarter.
I was in his FACE with the lens...better that than the ants, I guess.
I was in his FACE with the lens…better that than the ants, I guess.

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4 thoughts on “Time for a Cleaning…Compliments of the Army

  1. Alex De La Garza May 18, 2013 / 10:31 pm

    JEEZ!!!!! I think you’ve experienced three signs of the Apocalypse!!!! Time to catch the next stagecoach out of town.

    • StephieD May 19, 2013 / 6:21 am

      Haha…there IS a dead cicada on the verandah this morning….hmmmmmm. Now if the Rio Negro turns Rojo….we’re in big trouble.

  2. Camille Armantrout May 19, 2013 / 2:22 am

    My mother stayed in Nosara and reported her horror at these giant ants. When Bob and I lived at Mountain Equestrian Trails in Belize, we experienced Army ants but they were much smaller and not the biting kind that left a lingering sting.

    We woke in the middle of the night to feel them on us and noticed our cat was shaking his paws in distress as ants were climbing all over us. We grabbed the bedding, picked up the cat and found another room down the hill to sleep in. We are sure they would have eaten us alive if we hadn’t left.

    In the morning we returned to find a clean house and several confused ants left behind on a paint can lid. A while later later, the assistant manager saw ants heading up to the lodge dining room. He laid down a trail of flour which served as a barrier that they would not cross and so we were able to cook and serve our guests dinner.

    • StephieD May 19, 2013 / 6:21 am

      Interesting about the flour. Aaaah the things you’ll never know unless you live through them, huh??

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