White Dog Art


In Art Watercolor Gallery, Wild Things on July 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm
watercolor aceo 7/2013

watercolor aceo 7/2013

I have a ‘situation’ with ants. The ants started in my kitchen, went to my bathroom and are now circling around on my art table. I guess they are after water because there are islands of deceased ants floating in my water jars. When they staked out my kitchen I left them alone unless they mounted an attack on the cutting board. My weapon of choice is a spray bottle of water and rubbing alcohol. I found that circling my cutting board with a spray of the solution allowed me to prepare food. One night before I retired to my bed I gave the colony one last spray around the cutting board. This resulted in a number of bodies all expired. I’m sorry but they were taking great advantage of my space. I left them there until morning. The next day the bodies were gone. I suppose that the other ants removed the bodies as from a field of battle. This made me think of the death and burial rites of the elephant. They do not carry off the body but do mourn the departed and will come back to the death site long after the fact. It seems a stretch to think that ants have similar instincts but they do take care of the bodies.

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  1. What a story, Gretchen. I will have to pay more attention to ants.
    Lovely elephant.
    Thanks for your wonderful comment today on Bardo. I imagine your art is as healing for you as poetry is for me.

    • All creatures are amazing. We just forget to still and observe them. And, yes, my art is my great healer. Funny, the sicker I get the deeper my art becomes. It pours out of me transforming my experience of life. I’m very grateful. Everyone of us has something healing like that. It only takes willingness and discovering. I do so love your poetry because I relate to it profoundly. Thank you for publishing.

  2. I know this may sound very strange but… when ant’s appear the meaning is patience and we can communicate with all creatures without saying a word out loud and if you just ask them to leave they will… I know I sound like some crazy person but I swear if you are truly in the moment and try to connect with them they will listen… but they are appearing for a reason and it is not to bother you but remind you. Be patient. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Perhaps I haven’t asked them with love. I will try again.

      • Gretchen I thought of you today as I went to grab my cutting board and it was covered in ants! I was like seriously I just sent a message to you and now they are here…lol I took the board outside set it on the table and said…” Ok guys here is the deal, I need to use this board and quickly cuz I was in the middle of cooking dinner and I told them to jump off quick or I would have to wash them off and seriously in about 10 secs they all ran for their lives and on to the table… I said it lovingly but expressed their future if they did not listen! lol

      • Congratulations on your success! Day before yesterday I removed my painting water from my art table and the next day the ants were gone. I sat down to paint….ant free and with a fresh bucket of water. It took about 5 minutes until the arrival of the ants. I once again spoke to them about the importance of boundaries. I did not ‘off’ any ants….just blew them off the painting area that I was using. Once again I removed the painting water when I finished. They are gone today. We will see when I paint today. They have not returned to my cutting board or counters for a few weeks now.

  3. This elephant is beautiful. So ethereal. It really conveys a deep mourning…the whole of elephant nation in its time of dire crisis. Very solemn.

    On your lighter subject, I’ve had luck deterring ants with tea tree oil drops around their entry points. I don’t know if it confuses their navigation or if they just don’t like it, but it has worked for me. (To be fair–I agree with A Window of Wisdom about wordless communication–I was putting out a strong intention, no doubt, of wanting them to use other exits from their colony, not the ones in the apartment’s floorboards, and to press my point home, I did leave a few unfortunate casualties. Which exactly of these strategies worked, if any, I couldn’t tell you, but the ants departed of their own accord. I was well aware, though, that my apartment was not their only water source. If it had been, I suspect they might have tolerated the tea tree oil, their losses, and my nagging in favor of the colonies’ needs.) It’s worth a try, anyway, and your dogs won’t care for it…it isn’t something they’ll be tempted to ingest.

    • Thanks Camilla. I have never done a full on poisoning of ants. I ask them to leave and work around their intrusion as best I can. They eventually leave. It is just not instantaneous. These ants smell like formaldehyde. There seem to be a lot of them on the mountain.

      • Formic acid. It’s one of their defense mechanisms. I’m glad they are responding! To clarify, the tea tree oil does not harm them. They just don’t like it (or can’t smell their own signals because of it…not sure which). Then again, I’m willing to allow that they acquiesced to my persistent explaining…. 🙂

  4. By the way, Gretchen, I love how this conversation has touched on both the Elephant and the Ant, the “creatures great and small.” Also the sorrow and ritual of death seem to me to associate with the ant’s role as an agent of decomposition, one way in which the earth receives back the gift that she gave. A very fortuitous paring.

    • Tea Tree is my ‘go to’ essential oil. I use it for many things. The ants are mounting their attack on my bathroom. I haven’t been adamant about their leavening. Perhaps I will strategically place some drops of tea tree oil.

      I love your muse about the ritual of death. The return of the gift to the earth. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Beautiful posts. Wonderful comments and I’m going to share this with my daughter who is having a problem with ants. (and “patience”) . Thank you to you all!

  6. This has been most enlightening.

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