Blood on My Hands

A while ago, I bought a mandarin sapling in the Pazar and planted it in a large terracotta tub. I’m not noted for my green fingers, so googled growing mandarin trees in containers. I found that, just like me, they do well if fed and watered correctly. The trick to proper irrigation is to wait until the first 2 or 3 inches of the topsoil are completely dry, then soak until water pours out of the drainage holes. I‘ve been doing this religiously for a few weeks now. Yesterday, I stuck my index finger in the tub to check for dryness. It was time for a good drink and I duly dumped a whole load of water into the soil from my little plastic watering can. Seconds later, hundreds of small ants poured up through the inside wall of the pot, swarming hither and thither in utter panic. They were holding up their grubs with their forelegs. I could almost hear them scream,

‘Save the babies! We must save the babies!’

I felt like a serial killer.

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10 thoughts on “Blood on My Hands

  1. We felt guilty when the ants ate the carpet moth larvae we had poisoned. The ants. however, seem to have come to no harm. And there are loads more ants in our metric ton of oversized wood.


  2. Ants are survivors. They pop up everywhere in our yard. We have the termites as well, that build these bulbous homes on trees, if you give them half a chance. They are ugly and nasty though, and they eat everything down into dust. I’m sure they managed to save some babies Jack, don’t feel too guilty.


  3. If it makes you feel any better, the ants’ evil master plan was to cultivate aphids as their slaves so they could drink the sweet goo that aphids secrete as they munch your poor baby tree…


  4. Kill them all theu are evil creatures, many live under the steps at my back door and in spite of liberal dousings of powder, boiling water and a gauntlet of “ant traps” they still find my bread bin, hateful ugly creatures…..


  5. I always have problems with ants if I put anything on pots on my front veranda….in the smaller pots it was okay….I just dunked the pots in water and left them there until the ants have all fled….not sure how to approach things now….they really annoy me there are so many of them here


  6. This is going to make me sound a bit strange but I love ants, love watching them as they are just such hard workers. We have a trench several inches deep and wide around the front of the awning as we are prone to flooding here when it does rain (which isn’t often) but the ants use it like the M25 – although unlike the M25 they are very strict on lane control. They spend all day going up and down carrying bits of grass, bugs and all sorts back to the nest. I fed them a peanut once and watched as about a dozen of them hoisted it aloft and made away with it so cool ……… ok now I’m rambling!! 🙂


  7. The general consensus seems to be that I shouldn’t feel guity about culling a few little ants. I kinda like them really. Let’s face it there are trillions left.


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