Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Ants Come Marching In

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I spotted some small ants in our kitchen. Over the years we've had a couple of stray ants from time to time. It's never been anything we couldn't handle. Last summer we had an exterminator come in but I don't think he accomplished very much and certainly not anything worth the price we paid. My wife wanted me to call in another exterminator when the ants persisted after several days. In typical "man" attitude, I proclaimed that I would solve the problem.

We don't like the idea of pesticides and unnecessary chemicals in our house, so I researched ways in which to get rid of ants naturally. Leaving out dry grits is a good way - the ants eat the food but when they drink water the grits expand and burst them from the inside out. Not pleasant but your objective is to kill them. Vinegar mixed with water is good to destroy their tracks and also kills ants if they are sprayed directly (vinegar is an acid after all). Armed with these two methods I figured I'd have the problem solved. Corn meal can be substituted for dry grits as it expands the same way.

I laid out some corn meal on the counter where the ants were active. I cleaned the area with some vinegar hoping that would encourage them to lay out new trails and thereby discover the corn meal quicker. After several days - the ant activity didn't let up. I purchased some bait traps for outside the house.

A few days pass and the ants are getting more brazen and basically laughing at me. One night I decided that enough is enough and in the morning I'll have to call in a professional. I was defeated. Before going to bed I saw a group of about 8 to 10 strutting around together. I noted it was odd, but left it at that and went to bed.

The next morning my son and I got up and were going to have breakfast. I saw a couple of ants behind the soap bottle - just peaking out at the edge. I grabbed a paper towel to wipe them up. I moved the soap bottle to get a better line of attack and WHOA - there was a PILE of them between the wall and the soap bottle. It was a solid clump of probably a couple of hundred ants with eggs! I looked next to it and the sanitizer bottle was hiding a similar group. The ants were present only in those two spots but still - it was a lot of them!

I planned my assault - I would use the paper towel to scoop them up and then wash them down the sink. A trusty sponge was at hand as plan B. I swiped at the larger clump only to stir up a heap of trouble - the ants were not happy. There were several hundred ants all frantically running around. I dropped the paper towel in the sink and turned on the water. I grabbed the sponge and started wiping the ants up and dumping them in the sink. I was ruthless - no mercy - I grabbed up every single ant and flipped on the disposal - bye bye anties.

I doused the entire area with vinegar and water afterward and took stock. The ants didn't actually build a structure of any kind - they basically just stacked themselves and their eggs against the wall. The UN estimates the loss of life between 1500 and 2000. I'm expecting trade embargoes any day now.

The good news is that since I wiped out the majority of the colony's workers, eggs, and possibly the queen I haven't seen many of them around. In the first few days following the mass-genocide, there were a few stragglers from time to time - scouts the colony had sent out during peace time no doubt. Imagine their surprise.

For the past four days - ant free. Are they gone or just biding their time?

1 comment:

DnJcustoms said...

Who knew that an ant infestation could make for such entertainment... for the rest of us anyway!