The Night Marchers

Night Marchers are a Hawaiian ghost legend.  They’re warriors who rise up out of their burial sites and march– when you hear a conch sounded, you have to get out of the way, because if they see you, you’ll die.  Unless you have a relative (ancestor) marching with them who recognizes you. 

There’s more to it than that. But I was thinking about Night Marchers, or the name Night Marchers, because of the ants.

Ants came with the house.  Upstairs, there are teeny tiny grease ants, brown and black, with flimsy bodies.  They come up out of the drains and from under the poorly glued down lineoleum.  I keep finding them on my dresser, on my bed, in the kid’s room, and in the bathroom.  The worst thing is because there’s carpet, you can’t see where the line is.  We sprayed and cleaned and baited and they return.

Two nights ago, I awoke to scratching and bites on my lower legs.  I figured they must be ants, and not mosquitoes or mites, because of the random nature of the bites and how they matched the other ant bites I had received while sitting outside and eating take-out last week.  Bird mites were a suspect, considering there’s an abandoned nest outside of Ethan’s window and considering that I’m the only one getting bitten, so we conducted a bird mite test in which we left a steaming pan of water in the middle of the room, and got nothing.  And I read that bird mite bites are often near the eyes and mouth, which did not plague me.  Bed bug bites should occur in a line, not just on my feet, but along delicious blood vessels.  No, these bites were random.  We cleaned and vacuumed and sprayed.

Then there are larger black ants that come in and get the innumerable crumbs the kids leave behind.  The kids are not supposed to eat in the living room, but sometimes they have popcorn, and always there are bits and pieces of food.  This morning, the black ants were on the carpet, visible to the naked eye. 

Thus I decided to finally try out a Borax ant killer.  Not finally; I just never knew about it.  Borax, with boric acid as its active ingredient,  is something I’ve always used. My mom used it to clean her floors.  So do I.  I also use it in my laundry.  But not as an ant killer. (It also kills roaches and other insects.)

I found a recipe. It’s Borax and sugar, in a ratio of 1:3, mixed together with water and a little peanut butter. Then, you place the stuff into a container. For the outside container, I used a butter tub with holes in it, so dogs can’t get into it but the ants can. Not that anyone has unleashed dogs on a street where a bus comes twice every hour, but you never know.

I placed it outside the front windows, next to an ant line. The idea is the ants either eat the stuff and die right then, or take it back to their colony and kill the whole colony.



I made another container, without peanut butter, for the bathroom.  I don’t know, I just don’t want to smell peanut butter in the bathroom.  It seems like it would get raunchy real quick.  I warned the kids not to touch it. 

And now we wait.

The one outside already has ants investigating it. I just hope the gardener doesn’t mess with it.  I think the gardener threw away Cadillac’s slippers (flip-flops) but to be fair, he probably thought they were trash.  They were super old and had been chewed by some dog and were completely worn thin.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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