By Kitty Turpin
If there’s one thing in this world that I hate, it’s ants. I understand ants are very important to the Earth. Did you know by creating their nests they create a pathway between oxygen, soil and plant roots? They also do great things like clean up decaying beetles and food. That’s cool. What’s not cool about ants is that they also consume anything that stands in their way, for example any of your body parts that come into contact with their environments.
ECU Mount Lawley campus has an ant problem. In my first year attending ECU I regularly made the mistake of sitting on the grassed areas between building 16 and 17. It’s a beautiful area on campus, with large shady trees and, in spring, the cherry blossom tree is in full bloom. It screams “ENJOY YOUR LUNCH ON ME”. The only let down of this area is the ants! I could not sit for longer than 5 minutes without getting nipped. Within 10 minutes I had ants investigating my bag and my lunch. Just recently I sat on the benches between building 10 and the car park and I had 2 or 3 little critters crawling up my pant leg, their nest only a glance away and swarming with healthy ant activity.
These places are the worst hit on campus. Others to note are the grassed areas close to the GP in Building 8, the area on the Aroma Café side of the WAAPA building and outside of the Spectrum Project space. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that all paved areas on campus are risky, with a good chance of spotting the enemy, and grassed areas are riskier, with zero chance of spotting the enemy. If you avoid sitting in any such places, you should be fine.
And it’s not too hard to avoid sitting in these plagued zones. There are many seated spaces available on campus, especially in regions of high ant populations. The best places to sit are outside of what used to be Aroma café, outside Central Café, and in front of the library. Keep your feet off of the pavement to be safe. However, this problem is unacceptable. It shouldn’t be up to the students to find safe zones on campus.
ECU warns students of their rising bee population, with signs adorning the bushes outside of the Visual Arts building in spring (“Warning: Bees”). They also take the initiative, with Mount Lawley High, to drug pigeons as a way to keep their population down, but no noticeable action has been taken on the ants.
Coming from a family that religiously slaughters any beetle, bug, fly, and ant that comes within our perimeter, arriving in this ant hole of a place was a culture shock. I’m not asking ECU to kill these creatures. Like I’ve said, ants are essential to the well being of the environment. I’d be happy with warnings, like ECU provide for the bees. I think students are entitled to at least that.