For nine years, I was owner/operator of The Bugmobile, taking live arthropods into classrooms all over Canterbury in a vehicle festooned with giant pictures of insects. I was known everywhere as The Bug Lady.
Last summer, when I closed my business, I didn’t expect to continue to think of my car as The Bugmobile. But fate, or rather a colony of ants, has interceded. My car is infested with ants.
I wouldn’t notice the ants if they weren’t so fond of Mentos…or if I weren’t so fond of Mentos.
I started keeping a roll of Mentos in the car when I was running The Bugmobile—if I had a sore throat, or needed a pick-me-up between programmes, a mint kept me going.
Apparently, they keep the ants going, too. I collected a few and identified them as the Black House Ant, Ochetellus glaber, an Australian ant that originally hitched a ride to New Zealand tucked in people’s belongings and in plant material. Ordinarily, these ants nest under stones and in tree cavities, but this particular nest is tucked neatly into a hollow in one of my mud flaps.
I should probably evict them…but they’re cute little creatures. Just 2mm long, and shiny black. I rather like them tootling around the car, cleaning up the crumbs the kids leave when they finish off their lunches on the way home from school. Maybe I’ll just find an ant-proof container for my mints.
Once The Bug Lady, always The Bug Lady…