Friday, December 09, 2011

My Little Housekeepers

As much as we're trained to think of ants as pests, they are in fact incredibly diligent housekeepers.

Living in the jungle means co-existing with an incredible number of insects, both inside and outside. Being Buddhist, I try to practice catch and release whenever I find an inconveniently large or active bug in my bedroom or bath. (I'm not much for crushing large critters.) Last night, I trapped a cricket in the bath room. I have a particular loathing for crickets that hop in unpredictable ways, especially when I'm trying to do my business.

Feeling  sleepy, I decided to keep him in the little tupperware trap until morning. Unfortunately, in the morning there were ants around the base of the trap, which told me the little guy had passed away in the night. Sure enough, when I lifted the box there was already a flotilla of little worker ants lifting up the cricket's body the way hoards of pilgrims might hold aloft a statue of the Virgin Mary on the streets of Mexican towns during Catholic holidays.

As soon as I released their fence, they proceeded with their funeral march, right out the door. When I returned half an hour later, not a trace of the cricket remained.  A few ants stayed behind to scout out the premises, just to make sure. But otherwise, the place was clean.

I consider these guys my automatic vacuum cleaners.

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