Saturday, May 31, 2014

picking our battles with the ants

We live with ants. They're in the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom….actually, I can't think of a room they aren't in except the pantry, which is really quite nice of them.

There are two main classifications: little and big.

The little ants actually come in a wide variety, from "biting" to "non-biting," "see-through butts" to "all black," etc. Some people even classify them by what they eat, but what they all have in common is that they can set up shop anywhere, and they come after the food on your counters and your plates. We've found nests underneath tiles, inside power outlets, inside door frames, inside picture frames, in the small space between the table legs and the table top, inside our car door, and somewhere inside our car A/C system. Basically, if there's a gap of half a millimeter, little ants can build their home there.

The big ants don't go for our food that often, but there is always one on or near the toilet, and they like to have meetings at night where the wall meets the ceiling. They seem especially attracted to the wall of our "stupid" stairs in the evening. There are usually dozens of them there—either randomly scattered about or else drunkenly following in close-knit lines off to nowhere in particular (see above video). The nice thing about them is that they don't bite or build nests inside. In fact, we can't really tell what their overall goal in life is.

Closely related to the big indoor ants are the leaf cutter ants that literally work non-stop right outside our front door. They have had a line running across our front porch for several months to eat the neighbors' plants but have made a switch to the neighbors' tree in the last few days. I'm not sure how there's anything left, but you can only see their effects if you look closely. I took some video of them this morning. (In the backgr0und during the last seconds of the video, you can hear a white squirrel gnawing on a coconut. This afternoon, it succeeding in rupturing it, and we saw all the coconut water dribbling out onto the pavement.) It was during this video that I learned that leaf cutter ants bite you if you put your camera in the middle of their line.

In the 4 1/2 years since we moved here, we've been learning that eradicating the ants is a war we can't win. We have no idea where the big indoor ants nest. We never seem to come across any easily-identifiable anthills outside. For the little ants, every time we think we've found their nest, we spray Raid all over it. Nine times out of ten, we're wrong, and our house stinks like Raid for no reason. Though that tenth time can be pretty satisfying, it's also gross since it involves lots of ant larvae. It also doesn't prove to be all that effective, since they're usually back in force in a few days.

So basically, we live with ants. Unless they get out of hand, we tolerate the little tickles on the ankles and the back of the neck, the need to put cooked food away before it fully cools, stepping over (or on) them as we walk to our car, and finding twenty of them in a glass of water on the bedside table. There's no winning. If you visit us, you'll think we have an ant problem, but we're happier not dealing with it.

1 comment:

  1. That is going to be a tough battle ahead. Even if you face those ants down now, they are many. So I think your top priority is to block off their infestation as quick as possible and as neatly as possible. No frills, no worries. All the best!

    Mindy Dawson @ Cooper Pest Solutions

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