Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

12.8.04

First, build your moat ...

They're invading:

A GIANT colony of invading ants has spread 100km across Melbourne. Argentine ants have been found from Taylors Lakes to Sorrento, and Altona to Blackburn. The species, first identified at Balwyn in 1939, is among the world's 100 worst invaders, and may pose a serious threat to Melbourne's biodiversity.

Be very afraid. You could say they are on the warpath, but that would be wrong:

"In Argentina, their native homeland, ant colonies ... are highly aggressive towards one another. ... When they arrived in Australia, a change in their structure occurred, changing their behaviour so that they are not aggressive towards one another."

All our migrants are like that. Something to do with the good weather. Or the beer.

The small brown argentine ants are about 4mm long, and are not considered dangerous to humans or pets.

They are hazardous to foodstuffs, however. We grew up in one of the earliest ant zones and got quite used to seeing thousands of ants marching in a straight line along the kitchen windowsill in warm weather. It kind of heralded summer, so I didn't really begrudge them walking back out the other way with a chocolate cake onboard ...

My mother has had this three-storey art deco biscuit barrel for like forever, I think it was a wedding gift. Over the years, no matter where she put it, the ants would sniff it out. On a high shelf, at the back of the pantry, in the laundry, wherever. She eventually took to placing it on top of the fridge, and in a huge bowl filled with water. (Never mind the ants, it made it difficult for us to raid it!) Then the honey jar got its own moat, then the jam jar ...

Last year I found ants in my freezer.

What the hell are ants doing in the freezer? I thought.

I mean, they weren't doing anything - they were frozen. But the odd thing is, there were hundreds in there over all the frozen items. Yet you would think that they would snap freeze upon entry. But they clearly didn't - they like, walked around for a while before freezing.

Pesky frozen ants.