It’s a beautiful Sunday and you’re outside in your backyard, tending to your tomato plants. You’re walking to the side of the house to hook your sprinkler up to the spigot when something sends you sprawling to the ground. You turn around to examine what you tripped over, ready to smack Bobby for leaving his toys out again, but you couldn’t be more mistaken. There, almost hidden among blades of grass, is a tiny pyramid. Oh no, you think, not more Egyptians!! But this is no Egyptian pyramid. It’s terraced, and you know what that means. You’ve got yourself an Aztec infestation.

When it comes to Aztecs, most homeowners are in a bizarre state of denial. While some claim that they pose no threat to their property, others are completely ignorant to the existence of Aztecs altogether. Needless to say, these people are doing themselves and their families a great disservice, just as if they allowed their lawns to be covered in crabgrass, or let the leak in the basement continue unimpeded. The majority of building contractors agree: Aztecs are the single largest factor in depreciating land value and undermining the foundation of a house. Ignoring that temple to Quetzalcoatl won’t make it go away, and before you know it you’ll be searching the classifieds for a new home.

What are Aztecs capable of?

When we talk about Aztecs, we are not just talking about any Mesoamerican pre-European civilization. This race mapped the heavens, determined a solar calendar very close to our current one, came up with the number zero (an eerie fact when you take your house’s future sale price into consideration), created architectural masterpieces without having ever invented the wheel, and even devised the only written language indigenous to the area. We’re not just talking about your run-of-the-mill ant problem or termites in the rafters. These people are advanced, and, if unchecked, will grow and thrive to a point well beyond your control.

The early stages of Aztec infestation are usually quite benign. The occasional small temple will appear, either around the house or on the land. When indoors, check areas with more exposure to direct sunlight, as these are likely areas for Aztecs to start building in. Much like anthills or other domiciles in nature, these temples will appear quite fascinating, and they are in themselves harmless, but will lead to more problems.

Soon you will begin finding Aztecs in various parts of your house, often congregating at the temples, but also exploring their surroundings. They may begin warring in your family room, threatening or even skinning your pets, but that will all look quite tame once they turn to human sacrifices. Sure, it will seem great when they offer their most luscious women as courtesans to a member of your family and gorge him at nightly feasts, but a year later, when they’re pulling the still-beating heart from Bobby’s chest, you will agree that shortsightedness, along with the high priest, is responsible for your son being killed to appease the Teotihuacán Spider Woman.

Protect yourself against Aztecs

While they are certainly an advanced culture with great scientific achievements, all hope is not lost for homeowners looking to protect their interests and dwellings. The first and most reliable method comes from the old maxim of real estate: location, location, location. One certainly can’t rule out the possibility of Aztecs in any area, but cities have many fewer incidents than rural areas, and Mexico, in particular, should be avoided. If you find you can’t avoid Mexico entirely, stay away from places like Tula, Oaxaca, Uxmal, or Chichén-Itzá—you may find no Aztecs, but their distant cousins, the Mayans, will cause you similar distress.

If you already find yourself saddled with Aztecs, you are out of luck when it comes to sprays. Exterminators, unfortunately, are not equipped to handle that sort of problem anymore. History, it would seem, serves as the best manual. The Aztecs’ ignorance of the wheel, for instance, could work against them, if you are out to set humane traps in order to release them away from your residence. If you don’t want to be bothered, you can attempt to offer them a space in which to confine themselves (the corner of your backyard with the compost heap would do just fine), though you must be firm in your concessions to them, or else they’ll keep asking for more. If you’d like to be more proactive, however, you will want to start by finding some sort of large bronze pot cover, or something else you can shine up real nice and wear as a breastplate, so as to approach the Aztecs in the guise of one of their deities. This will put you in a great bargaining position, at which point you can try to kidnap and murder their chief. Centers for Disease Control are also reliable resources, as long as you have a blanket you’re willing to sacrifice for peace of mind.

Don’t let another minute go by without looking after the welfare of your home. Aztecs don’t just come in the summer, and as the cooler months approach, it will be much harder to spot them around the house. Taking care of the situation now will relieve you of much unwanted stress down the road, and, once they no longer represent a threat to your household, those pyramids should look mighty nice on the mantelpiece in your living room. Happy exterminating!