ants and plants

I was watering some under-loved plants tonight, when lo! an ant colony swarmed out of one of my kitchen plants.  I spied a large winged one.  A queen?  Certainly; it had the characteristic enlarged abdomen.  There were lots of tiny ones with wings too.  But then I saw a second huge one.  Two queens?  That seemed a little strange.  Then a third.  And a fourth.  I began to doubt my queen-ant identification skills.  This was a tiny pot, too.

I flooded the plant to make sure the ants stayed out, then wiped them up, ensuring the demise of the might-be-queens in particular.  Ants are among the insects that I have no qualms about killing indiscriminately when they enter my living space.  (Spiders and moths get some warm words as I remove them, usually informing them that N will kill them if they don't leave.  And even bees, wasps, and flies get ushered out with moderate politeness.  Though after recently discussing Ender's game in my first book club meeting, I still felt a little guilty about potentially having destroyed a whole colony of ants.)  After wiping the ants up like crumbs, I set to work learning about the varieties of ants.  Turns out, unless you get these guys under the microscope or you're a professional, it's near impossible to identify a common household ant.  Oh well.

So my final guess on the queens is that they just hadn't matured fully.  Else why would there be four of them?  All I hope is that the ants don't make their way into my brand new lavender plant, a birthday gift from my mother-in-law, which is currently being pampered out of its mind.  The other plants might be jealous, but they get watered more now, so they shouldn't complain.  Trickle down economics, baby.  Tee-hee.

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