Weather in the Foothills

“If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they’ll look for another way … They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way.” ~ ‘The Ant Philosophy’ by Jim Rohn

As the last days of summer draw near, Labor Day arrives. An encore of the season. No matter – the weather continues with the same intensity as in July and August.

Something is wrong in this scenario. Put simply in equation form: (weather + water) =  X. Solve for X.

Until Aug. 20, X= Pool/Beach. But the solution has suddenly changed and  X = Back-to-School/Work. Thankfully, there still remains many daylight hours to enjoy the last days of summer.

Ants! Argentine ants, to be specific, have invaded our house. The opening quotation lays out their strategy – relentless.

Labor Day and ants share an interesting commonality. (You may be wondering where I’m going with this one. With the determination of an ant, I will get to the  point.)

Last week the night temperature remained in the ’80s. I don’t like to sleep with the air conditioning on, but this was one of those nights it had to stay on. In spite of the cool air, a  night’s rest was not happening.

Uninvited six-legged guests had arrived. The guest room wasn’t to their liking and instead they insisted on the master bedroom. By morning the whole army had arrived.

An ant attack is not without cause. Besides looking for relief from the heat, they seek water and food our homes provide. Ants can’t raise their young in hot dry soil, so they carry their eggs into the walls of buildings, a more suitable location for a “baby ant” nursery. Our houses basically become a bed and breakfast establishment, with amenities – a nursery and A.C. In addition, in their little “ant world” preparations are being made for the upcoming winter. Our pantry, floors and counters are the ant’s  Pavilions.

These insects landed in New Orleans in the 1890s with a shipload of Brazilian coffee. Like many of us, they moved west. Their survival in the U.S. is based on an intricate division of labor and perseverance. The work ethic of this tiny ant is all American.

Labor Day weekend has arrived. It was on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City that the first Labor Day parade occurred. The workers’ unions chose this day because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. I am not certain as to the exact reason, but this calendar placement could be viewed as symbolic of their struggles and achievements. This day and age, for most of us, it means two things: a day off from work and the end of summer.

Weather-wise, a very slight cool-down is expected this weekend, then a high  pressure over Arizona moves westward and pushes it out to sea.

With recognition of all hard work, Happy Labor Day. Now put away that can of Raid and enjoy your iced tea or coffee. I promise any spilled sugar granules will not go unnoticed.

Sue Kilpatrick is a  Crescenta Valley resident and  Official Skywarn Spotter for the  National Weather Service. Reach her at