Ants: They’re Coming. They’re Invading. And it’s getting worse.

Reya Mehta and Ricky Rojas

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   Every year, they’re there like clockwork with their disgusting little bodies crawling across the floors and on desks. As they swarm across desks, students yelp and jump a foot in the air. Even just the thought of them causes shivering with fear and disgust.

They crawl out of cracks, across keyboards and into backpacks. They creep into teachers’ desks searching for tasty treats. Candy, cough drops and packaged granola bars are constantly found swarmed with ants looking to satiate their hunger.

West Ranch has always had a notorious animal problem. From snakes and bugs to skunks, a racoon and even a bear, each year is filled with many surprises. 

However, the ant problem is clearly the worst due to their sheer numbers.

   Teachers who try to defend their classrooms are affected the most by these invaders. The Paw Print interviewed two West Ranch teachers  about their ant experiences. 

   Mrs. Rojas has been having ant problems for ages. She’s had “full-on ant highways going against the back wall” and often sees a trail of ants carrying crumbs across the floor. A possible solution she suggested was setting ant traps in every corner of the room.

   Mrs. Harris has also had serious problems with ants. Her room is a prime location for ants to invade, leading to a few incidents during her time teaching. 

   One year, for her famous “make-a-molecule” project, a student made sucrose (sugar) and decorated her project with sprinkles. The day that projects were due, Mrs. Harris was super sick so she wasn’t able to stop the looming ant invasion. 

   When she came back to class, the sprinkles were gone, and “there were ants coming from all different directions and they were just all over the molecule.” It was a disaster.

   Ants are more of a nuisance than anything, but they can be very disruptive during class as well. 

   Once during Mrs. Harris’ class, a student abruptly screamed after seeing a swarm of ants carrying a dead spider across the floor. Mrs. Rojas had a similar incident where an abducted bright orange Cheeto inched across the floor, carried by a group of ants.

   Unfortunately, teachers can’t do much beside waiting for the weather to get colder. The best strategy is usually to ban food from the classroom, but, as Mrs. Harris acknowledges, that is usually difficult when you have clubs that meet in classrooms during lunch or brunch.

   The only other option is to use traps or ant sprays. Most sprays are banned by the district for health reasons, however, so the options are very limited.

   Ants are one of the most annoying creatures on campus. Their never-ending ability to crawl into backpacks and up arms is only to be rivaled by the relentless bird swarms in the spring. 

   Fortunately, as cold weather approaches, the ants’ reign of terror is ending soon.

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