Before we moved to Turkey I did some swotting up on what sort of wildlife we might come across and was a little surprised to read that leopards and bears still roam the more far-flung parts of the country. There are plenty of snakes too and even crickets and grasshoppers whose size and vivid colour would allow them to blend in without effort in your average Toys R Us.
But despite jumping spiders which would put Jessica Ennis to shame, hornets which Bec and Em swear are the size of sparrows and beetles which drone like helicopters in flight, our most relentless natural adversaries have been the ants.
First of all, I never realised just how many different sizes they come in.
Of course, there are some pretty big ones in the garden, efficiently fulfilling the roles of both nature’s refuse disposal team and undertaker. I’ve already witnessed them dismantling and spiriting away the body of a full-grown cricket in just over 24 hours.
But there are others who seem to lurk somewhere, waiting for the minute sound of a breadcrumb hitting a tiled floor. That’s the signal for an organised expedition, scouts identifying the exact location before the main force marches in, a busy line soon connecting kitchen with a nest somewhere outside.
And it’s not just the floor. These little blighters don’t stop at cupboard doors and even air-tight Tupperware boxes are no defence, particularly if the contents are sweet or sugary. It seems a species has evolved which is so small it can penetrate them without much effort.
At first, it seemed a shame to disrupt those meticulously planned marches by sweeping the advanced squadrons into a dustpan, depositing them back in the garden and then waiting for the rest of the line to report that the food source had disappeared.
But it seems that’s not how it works. Those left behind simply become scouts and scurry around the house looking for something else – a bit of Whiskas biscuit dropped by one of the cats, a tiny blob of salad dressing, a sliver of apple from breakfast which slipped down the back of the dustbin – and then the whole line quickly reforms and marches relentlessly across the varied terrain of carpet and floor tile to a new destination.
We tried upturned Velcro, salt, lemon-scented spray and even gaffer tape left sticky-side-up across the line of march but they soon worked their way around all of them.
In the end, we had no choice but the nuclear option. A tin of Raid was purchased from the shop in Hisarönü and deployed at the most likely ingress / egress point under the front door; we haven’t seen any ants in the house since then.
But, somehow, I’m not entirely convinced we have achieved a lasting victory. I think they might still be out there plotting. We may have won a battle but I’m not sure we’ve won the war …