Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here Come the Ants!

The rainy season has come late to the Province of Limón this year.  Usually, the rainy season lasts from December to January, but this year it didn’t rain much those two months and instead has picked the end of February to middle of March.  They say that here you used to know that it was the beginning of December when the rains started coming and not anymore.  Some folks see it as the beginning signs of a more threatening climate change.  Despite the possible future ramifications, for us it is an present unexpected welcome, because as Melinda recently posted in Facebook:

Dear Hone Creek,

Thanks for not being excruciatingly hot and humid. My friend rainy season can stay as long as she likes.


Speaking of rain, we were recently warned of an impending rain by an “hormiguero” – a legion of army ants (see Wikipedia:  Actually, the invasion of ants came not just once this week, but twice.  There is a local belief that an invasion of army ants portends precipitation.  The ants come in the tens of thousands and march in a steady single file line, entering your house looking for other bugs to eat.  They often seem to appear without noticing and leave without warning, nor goodbye.
Army Ants on our front porch

Another benefit, other than foretelling rain, is that because the army ants devour bichos of every kind (cockroaches, termites, spiders and can even eat small vertebrates), your house gets an uninvited, yet much appreciated cleaning.  However, if you get in their way, the hormigas (ants) do bite hard (not to be confused with bullet ants that we’ve also found in our yard which when bitten can actually make you sick with fever: 

Bullet ants (hormigas balas) encountered in the field with Corredor Biológico

First reaction says to get out your RAID and start going to town on the suckers, but given the benefits its actually best to abandon your house, or at least their path as they don’t stray far, and then come back in a few hours and they are usually gone.  One interesting fact via Wikipedia is, “Army ants do not build a nest like most other ants. Instead, they build a living nest with their bodies, known as a bivouac. Bivouacs tend to be found in tree trunks or in burrows that are dug by the ants.”

Below are pictures of the second invasion we had, which actually was much less severe than the first.  As we have a house that is primarily made of cement and not of wood, the ants had no interest in anything except our wood roof where most of the bichos – termites, etc – hide.  The second time around which is documented in the photos, they didn’t even enter the home and just used our front porch as a marching ground to move onto their next battleground.

The ants go marching two by two hurrah, hurrah!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Sorry, this was me (Mike). I was setting up my account.

  2. Bros before bichos! Great post...

  3. I would like to call a band "Los Bichos". Probably already been done though.