I hate ants. I really fucking hate ants. I’m a naturalist, an environmentalist, a biologist and I still hate ants. I know I’m supposed to love nature and accept all its facets and flaws, but I can’t bring myself to like ants.
They are unstoppable. They are everywhere. Many bite or sting, and painfully so. The drones have no self-preservation instinct—they attack with kamikaze suicidal aggression. They can be territorial, assaulting anyone who dares disturb their host tree or steps near their hole. They are numerous, spread fast, and cooperate in ways that boggle the mind. They can survive fire, floods, and the most vigilant attempts to keep them out of a personal living space. They can consume almost anything organic, and will pick up any trace.
And they are necessary. Their sheer biomass and brutal efficiency mean they have a vital impact on any ecosystem. Especially so in the tropics, where collectively they are the most consumptive herbivore, as well as the most biomassive.
But I hate them. With every ignorant, human-centric, prejudiced part of my cognitive dissonance I hate them. For every time I’ve leaned up against the wrong tree and been stung in a dozen spots with stingers like hot nails. For every time I’ve woken up in bed covered with ants trying to eat the dead cockroach under my mattress. For every time I’ve returned to the kitchen to find an army ant raid cleaning up anything not meticulously sealed. They play a necessary, integral part in this wonderful ecosystem and I hate then even more for it. They teach you to be patient, watchful, and above all willing to let go of a little personal space, step outside your comfort zone and toughen up, and I hate them for that too.
Ants can all go die, go to hell, then come back to life so they can continue their vital role in the recycling of nutrients. And also so I can hate them some more. I’ll say it again: fuck ants.