On Saturday morning I did my usual routine with letting out the pets and feeding Mesa. It's all automatic to me, so I just went through the motions as usual. I got Mesa's bowl, filled it from a bag in the closet, and then fed him on the patio. As I walked back into the kitchen I noticed ants on my hand. Damnit. I forgot to check his bowl. Sometimes there is a little oily residue on the bottom that the ants love. I went back outside and saw his food was crawling with the little bastards. I dumped the bowl out and they scattered. Mesa was able to eat his kibble off of the ground like a feral. I then had a bad thought. "I wonder if the ants were..." I opened the bag in the closet and saw ants all over the kibble. Damnit! I took the bag outside and wondered what to do. I noticed that they loved to congregate on the plastic cup I use to scoop out the food. I took the cup out, shook off all the ants, and put it back. Soon it was swarming with them again. I repeated the process. Before I knew it I had removed almost all of them! It was then off to Petsmart to buy air-tight containers. I placed ant baits on their trail and soon they were enjoying tasty poison. This must be a bad year for ants. Heck, I even have them crawling on my desk at work!
In good bug news the upper patio has turned into exactly what I had been hoping for; a hub for pollinators. I've had something flowering since spring and my nectar brings the bees to the yard. I enjoy watching the big bumble bees working. There's no need to hang up a hummingbird feeder because there's plenty to drink without one. One plant I put in was a butterfly bush that I bought at an end-of-the-season sale last year. It bloomed a little in the spring, but it must be a late bloomer. It has been producing lovely purple flowers lately. I have been waiting for it to attract its namesake, and I was finally rewarded. For the first time since I have lived here I had a monarch visit the yard. Oh how I have missed them! I have seen one or two near the river over time, but I have not had one come to the yard. Swallowtails, yes. Monarchs, no. Now to just keep the cats from eating them.