Wednesday, February 23, 2011

$##@#@#$@#@ Ants!!!!!

When I found out I was going to be a parent I decided to try to stop cussing. I even tried to stop cussing (for the most part) in my writing. I did this because I didn't want to have a foul mouthed child and I didn't want to be crass and classless as a mom. I also did it because I thought on my blog maybe people didn't want to read a bunch of profanity. I did ok with not cussing. There were moments during pregnancy when I was so miserable that I said to myself: "Look, I can't drink. I can't eat lunch meat. I had to give up coffee and I even had to quit sugar. I am going to cuss and that's all there is to it. I have nothing left."

I swear (no pun intended) I've been trying not to, well, swear. I've turned into my grandmother who has always used substitutes for cuss words.

Flip, freak, shoot and shine.

"Cheese and rice, I am sick of this fudgy sugar!!!" is a typical sentence.

When I get mad I sound like a street corner schizophrenic.

There's one thing that really gets me riled up though and because of it, I fear my baby's first words are going to be:


Ugghh. My new home is infested with ants. It's like living with thousands of freeloading roommates - you know, the kind of roommates who leave messes, eat all your food, get into your stuff and invite all their friends over for wild parties without your permission while doing nothing nice in return for you and the problem is, I can't seem to evict these unwanted squatters.

I live in a constant state of awareness about the ants. I have to put all the food away fast because the ants'll get in it. I vacuum up ant superhighways speeding across my floors several times a day. I'm ever vigilant about ants crawling on me, ants getting on the baby and more ants getting in from outside. I'm positive there is still a dead ant encased in an amber of wax stuck in my ear canal from the night back in December when one of them crawled inside while I slept.

I feel like my life revolves around these damned ants, who are notoriously difficult to get rid of and don't think I haven't tried.

I've attempted all the natural remedies. These ants trot right across boric acid. They remind me of those people who psyche themselves up to walk across hot coals. The ants do the same thing with the boric acid. I mean, they have to. There's a tiny fleck of bacon on the floor by the stove.

My next step is going to have to be hardcore poison, but I've been avoiding the exterminator for several reasons. I don't want poison in my house getting around the baby and the cat. I know what you're saying. Do I want ants getting on my baby instead? No. I don't want ants or poison, but looks like this isn't possible.

So where did the ants come from? Partly they come from living in Florida. Ants love it down here. They're like senior citizens from New York in their passion for South Florida. Every home I've ever lived in down here has dealt with some degree of ant infestation. My mom has them. My sister has them. I have them worse of course because whenever I do something I do it big. Living down here you get used to having to put everything in the fridge, even things like bread and sugar, to keep the ants out of it.

I have declared war on ants and by the way, you ever notice how we always refer to ants in militaristic terms? They're like a massive army, always on the march, all working together. They get a lot of work done too when they want to. One day I killed a roach on the floor and left it to go get paper towels. In five minutes the battalion has amassed around the dead roach and they had begun to carry it away like microscopic pallbearers. I already said I saw some of them carrying my hair into their secret fort in my baseboards.

The particular species of ant that I'm battling here is called, get ready for it, Crazy Ants. That is their actual name. I'm not kidding. They are so named because they wander around aimlessly and get themselves all worked up and spin in frantic circles like madmen with antennae. That's when I particularly enjoy stepping on them. I chase them down just to watch them run with their crazy little selves. I'm sadistic when it comes to ants.

Crazy Ants are the hardest kind of ants to get rid of. I've read up on them. I've become an expert on Crazy Ants. They don't always respond to traps or poison. They are relentless once they move in on your property. They're like the Pacific Heights of the ant world.

Crazy Ants. I can't get rid of them. Figures doesn't it? 

There's gotta be a metaphor in there somewhere.


Shannon Culver said...

I don't live in FL, and have never battled actual "Crazy Ants" but I had a problem with ants that I tried all sorts of remedies for (the internet is FULL of suggestions - most of which cost money and don't work. I've tried), but finally I was successful with some stuff that you spray every 30 days around the outside perimeter of your home (nothing inside to bother baby). You can get it at Lowe's or Home Depot. It comes in a gallon container with a spray attachment and its called something like "home perimeter pest repellent" or something like that. It worked great for me! (no, this is not a paid endorsement).
The problem with ant bait, traps, poison, etc inside the house is that it draws ants ... wait for it ... inside the house! Kill them outside, or keep them from coming in and it will probably make the inside problem at least smaller.

Robin said...

Ugh. Here in Southern Oregon ants are also the norm. I guess it has something to do with building subdivisions on top of old orchards? Anyway, here, even when you put all your food away, they go after the water drops in your sink!! WTF?! I use taro, the syrupy ant poison and I have to re pour it every morning because the ants eat it all. It's crazy but it works after about three or four days. And windex kills them on contact for those times when they're just swarming everywhere.

FreeDragon said...

Pam cooking spray will kill ants and being that it is food stuff, you don't have to worry about poison. I spray it on my humming bird feeders. It does make a bit of a mess, but I would rather clean up cooking spray than have ants on my counters.

Erica said...

I have to second Shannon - we've had really good success with Ortho Home Defense (I'm pretty sure it's called). We spray around the perimeter of our house and around the basement. I was super worried about the chemicals because we have greyhounds and they're extra sensitive to drugs and various other chemicals, but since we've mostly just applied it outside and not where they run, it's been fine.

Ginny said...

Before you go for the poison, give a couple other things a shot: Buy a bulk container of cinnamon and sprinkle all along their trails, where they seem to be coming in, along corners and crevices where they like to trot. The oil and smell confuses them and they can no longer find the trail.

Also, toothpaste. You can use it to seal any little crack they may burrow through; the smell and peppermint oil can also confuse them.

(not saying it's 100% guaranteed, but that it worked for my non-crazy ant variety and it's worth a shot with baby lawns around)

Slowpoke said...

I hate to sound like a nut-but my friend told me her method of ant control is to use male urine around the perimetre of the house -
late at night so the neighbours don't see what you're doing. I dunno, apparently works for her. I don't want to jinx our house, but since our cat has gotten too geriatric to climb stairs, we keep his litter-box by the back door (main point of entry for the little varmits) and so far, so good. We get the odd scout trying to get the lay of the land for his troops, but otherwise they're outside. Of course, this summer, I will be writing you an epilogue of how I regret saying anything as they probably are de-coding this message and planning revenge as I type. That's what I've heard so
I'm just saying. Good Luck with your fight. Also we don't have "crazy ants" here in the north
but aren't they all?

Albany Jane said...

I had some decent luck with molasses and yeast. Plopped on a paper plate, or shallow bowl (really, just about any kind of container works) and left in the windowsill, or wherever they are coming in. They ants are attracted to the sugar in the molasses, and eat it. They usually get stuck, and if they don't, when they eventually go back to their ant nest or whatever, they 'splode from the yeast. I was told the theory is that none of the ants want to go back because you have a crazy house that makes them all die or 'splode. Either way, no more ant problems for me.

Milesly Rose said...

Have you tried diotomaceous earth yet? I pretty much swear by it.

Though I've only ever had to get rid of fleas. In three separate apartments. But get rid of them, I did.

Bobita said...

I think Robin is talking about Terro ( Every so often I get an explosion of ants and the Terro always works within a few days. The website says it's safe for children and pets. But if you spill the liquid and it dries up it is really difficult to clean up. It usually has a bunch of dead ants stuck in it also. Not sure whether the dead ants are safe for children and pets though.

Andrea said...

I realize you are getting all kinds of suggestions here, but... try feeding them grits or cream of wheat. Here in Texas, I sprinkle it liberally on fire ant mounds, and they die out in a week or two. my grandfather told me that it's because eventually one of the little buggers feeds some to the queen, who then drinks water and dies from the resultant expansion. I don't know if that's true. But it has worked for my fire ant mounds without poisoning my grass. That doesn't mean you should stop killing the ones you find, of course. Fucking ants.

catherine said...

Try adding syrup to the borax until its pastyish and put it arount the house in beer caps. They won't eat just plain borax, since its basicly salt, but sweeten it a bit, and you will be ant free in a couple of days.

Jessica said...

Up North here we have pin ants... or Pine ants or odiferous ants... depends on what website you read.

I hate hate hate ants. Ours are wee tiny and have, on various occasion, colonized my coffee maker (yes, with the water in it), washing machine, closed storm window/bathroom window, huge tupperware container with linens, a boot, my dog's dishes, the wall and windowsill in my kitchen, a hot water radiator, and my lawnmower. They can live underwater for 10+ days. They squick me out entirely and completely. Ever had a hot cuppa' coffee ants?!? Does not make for a good morning. How about putting your wash into the dryer and turning it on, only to see streams of ants crawling out the lining of your dryer door while you were merely quietly and contentedly folding warm laundry?!?

I hate ants.

I understand the "no chemicals, no poison" thinking. I do. I have four boys and a dog. I grew veggies in my garden and milled my own baby food. I washed cloth diapers (although that was more economic than environmentally friendly, admittedly).

Now my boys are grown, have only minor ticks and twitches, and I spray malathion LIBERALLY as needed.

Kids are strong, most "things" (including walls and windows) are replaceable, and ANTS ARE FUCKERS.

I feel your pain. Good luck.

Green said...

Oh dude! The way some people are completely scared of, and grossed out by puke? That's how I feel about all bugs. I was so grossed out the first time a line of ants was marching across my desk in Florida.

It took me over a year of living in SF to stop keeping any open food in the fridge and to put boxes of crackers in the cabinet instead.

One thing I found out from the exterminator was that palm trees have TONS of ants, and you can't have the leaves (fronds?) of palm trees touching your windows outside, because the ants will march right off them and in through your window.

Roly said...

LOL I feel for you in this crisis but I had to laugh, sorry

Tooter said...

Yep, terro is the besy thing for ants. I get them every year and it takes care of them. They take it back to the nest and it kills the whole colony.

Anonymous said...

Bleach. All you have do is spray bleach on the areas outside your house where the ants come in from. I swear this works for me every summer. I spay it on the outside of every door and window.

Kirsten B NYC said...

When I lived in Southern California I had to battle ants constantly during the summer. Whatever method you find for killing them, I was told to leave some of the dead ants (just a few) on their trails. Supposedly they recognize that they are in a danger zone and will clear out...

Anonymous said...

My theory is that they navigate by smell. Scouts come out and weave around looking for calories, and when they find some a runner goes back to fetch the others. Washing down points of entry blocks them. Forget trying to kill them all, but when you find your counter or sink crawling, spray them with Formula 409. It melts them instantly. In ant wars I put the cat food bowl in a pie tin with water in it. Vigilance will win out. OOoo the security code for this message is "facktern" which sounds like a fine alternative curse word!

Anonymous said...

Leaving dead ants is not advisable when dealing with Crazy Ants. According to an article I read on MSN, when one dies, "its death releases a chemical cue to attack a threat to the colony, said Roger Gold, an entomology professor at Texas A&M.

"The other ants rush in. Before long, you have a ball of ants," he said.""

The article later reported:
"And, compared to other ants, these need overkill. For instance, Gold said, if 100,000 are killed by pesticides, millions more will follow.

"I did a test site with a product early on and applied the product to a half-acre ... In 30 days I had two inches of dead ants covering the entire half-acre," Rasberry said. "It looked like the top of the dead ants was just total movement from all the live ants on top of the dead ants."

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