This afternoon we had a little emergency. My wife looked out the window and saw that Lacey, a middle-aged bantam, had somehow gotten out of the run and was happily scratching through leaves and dirt looking for bugs without her sisters' competition. We don't let our chickens out--too many predators around. My wife and I went out, and I walked all around the run trying to find where she could have dug her way out. I found three or four spots, but none of them seemed large enough for her to get out. I shoveled dirt onto those spots, and I placed a heavy live trap I use for coons, possums and foxes against the fence where there seemed to be another likely escape route. Then my wife and I concentrated on capturing the fugitive hen--not an easy job, because she was weaving in and out of the pasture, which is enclosed by an electric fence, walking under the fence. Finally I had a bright idea. In the feed shed, close ro the run, I had a bag of "wormies," those dry mealworms that we give the chickens now and then as treats. I stuck my hand in the bag, and began to toss wormies to the chickens that had stayed in the enclosure. Lacey heard their contented clucking, reserved for savory snacks, and came running, darting in through the door we had left open for her. While my wife closed the door I began to feel like needle pricks on my hand and my arm. Dang! The bag of wormies, half full, was crawling with ants. I dropped it immediately and brushed the ants that were still on my hand and arm exercising their right to sting bare arms. Now I was really peed off. I am rather stingy, and the thought of having to throw away about fifteen dollars' worth of wormies stung me as much as the ants did. What could I do? I ruled out spraying insecticide on and inside the bag, that was now swarming with hundres, thousands of the little devils. Then the traditional light bulb flashed brightly above my head. "Cathy, quick, bring me a white garbage bag!" She did, held it open for me, and I quickly tossed the bag of wormies into the garbage bag. I had my wife tie a not to close it, and I brought it into the house. Into the microwave oven it went! I gave it three minutes on high, and the bag swelled up with steam released by thousands of ants and whatever moisture was present in the worms. A smell very similar to that of popcorn wafted through the kitchen. I pulled the bag out. I could see through its translucence that the tiny bodies were motionless, but I still waited a couple of minutes to let the steam cool off. Then I cut the bag open, pulled out the bag of wormies, that still looked all right, and placed it open by the a.c. vent on the kitchen floor, to cool off. They are not going back into the feed shed, believe me. Then I sat in my favorite chair, turned on the p.c. to write this post, and I felt one last pinprick on my side. I lifted my shirt and found the last of the Mohic-ants on my side, next to a nice red spot that was rapidly growing into an angry bubble. Oh, how I enjoyed squishing that ant slowly beteween my thumb and forefinger!