It was a Monday night. I took my trash out to the bin because the garbage truck comes on Tuesdays. I came back to my kitchen to find that I forgot to throw away the bones of a rotisserie chicken I ate that night. Not wanting my kitchen trash can to stink, I put the bones in a small plastic bag and toss it in the bin outside to be picked up tomorrow.
It is Tuesday night. I wheel the trash bin back from the side of the road and notice that the plastic bag filled with chicken bones is still there, and grease has filled the bottom of the bin. Gross.
Fast forward one month. It's April and I have just started anting. I have never kept an ant colony before, but have always been interested in social insects. I caught my very first queen last night (a Solenopsis invicta dealate), and am confident about finding more queens today! I spend an hour and a half this morning walking down sidewalks, looking for ants, only to come back home empty handed. To add insult to injury, I pass by the trash bin and am assaulted by a terrible aroma. After 4 visits by the garbage truck, the plastic bag of chicken bones still refuses to budge from the bottom of the trash bin. I decide that enough is enough. Today, I will clean the trash bin.
At this point, other trash has begun to cling to the bottom of the bin. There are bright pink packing peanuts, little pieces of paper, and the like. I first grab the bag of bones, peel it away from the greasy plastic bin, and place it in a new trash bag. There are fly maggots inching their way across the grease slick. *stifle vomit* I contemplate just hosing the rest of the debris out of the bin so I do not have to reach back in there, however, I know that it will not get nearly as clean that way. I use another plastic bag to grab the packing peanuts and other pieces out of the bin.
A smile spreads across my face. Amidst the maggots, melted chicken fat, and bright pink packing peanuts, I see a Solenopsis dealate nestled in a bottom corner of the bin. I quickly grab a test tube to scoop her up. Queen number two, in the bag.