Last week, I was in the "garden" moving old carpet I use as a weed suppressor. This female velvet ant came scurrying out from beneath a section of dirty rug and began frantically searching for cover. She's actually a wingless wasp and she has that same "Busy, I'm busy, busy, busy, ... can't you see I'm busy, can't stop and visit ... so busy, busy..." attitude as her winged cousins.
This makes photographing a live velvet ant a bit of a challenge, because they just don't hold still.
I had an empty ReptoMin turtle food container in the barn (baby turtle update this week!) so I grabbed it and scooped up Miss Scarlett, poked an air hole in the lid with an 8 penny nail, and headed into the house.
I placed the turtle food container in the fridge and set the kitchen timer for a few minutes so I would not forget (I did anyway) about Miss Scarlett and cause her early demise. My plan was to cool her down so she'd chill out a bit and allow me to take a nonblurry velvet ant picture. Then I went out on the porch to visit with Mrs. FC and Emma.
I told them not to open the turtle food container in the fridge if they went for more ice tea as their was a velvet ant in it.
Can you picture the rolled eyes and slow shakes of the head I received?
You wives can ... I know.
We chatted for a while. Emma was home from college and we were catching up. Time slipped by and suddenly I remembered Miss Scarlett.
It hadn't been terribly long, but longer than I had planned.
I took the ReptoMin container out of the fridge and brought it out into the humid heat of the porch. When I took the lid off, Miss Scarlett lay curled up in a that way that insects do when they are dead.
I gently slid her out onto the upturned lid of the turtle food container.
She was still.
I cupped my hand over her to make a tent and gently breathed warm breath over her.
She was still.
Emma noted that if she awoke and jumped in my mouth while I was reviving her, it wasn't going to be pretty.
I continued to breathe into my cupped hand. I stopped to check her.
Still curled, but an antennae ... not both of them mind you, but one antennae was twitching.
I kept up the insect CPR and in no time she was moving her legs and then finally, she stood up.
At the rate she was recovering from the chill, I figured I only had a minute or so to get my picture before she resumed frANTically running about.
I coaxed her on to a piece of paper and she posed for just a moment before kicking it in to high gear again.
Post picture, I let her crawl off into the mulch by the walkway.
Typical ANTics here at PFHQ. Just be careful when you open the fridge.
You've never had ants in your kitchen?