Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ants Be Gone

The last few days I’ve been humming a silly song from Laverne and Shirley. (It was a television show for all you youngsters who read---aka Destiny)

Remember the song that Shirley would sing to Laverne about ants?

“Just what makes that little 'ole ant,
Think he can move a rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant.
But he’s got HIGH hopes.
He’s got HIGH hopes.
He’s got high apple pie in the sky hopes…”

And then I can’t remember the rest…but the song always made me feel happy about ants. Little ants working hard against the odds…
Moving rubber tree plants hither and yon…

And, you know, if I had to PICK a pest to invade my home…I guess ants would be my choice. I much prefer The Ants to say…cockroaches or big hairy spiders.

But, for the love of all that is good…I’m about to go crazy with all the ants.

Since moving into our home we have had all various sizes of ants to invade. We’ve had big fat crunchy black ones. We’ve had teeennnnnyyyyy tiny black and red ones. And we’ve had every size in between. I have stomped, sprayed and even sprinkled baby powder everywhere because a “Heloise” help tip suggested I do so.

Nothing has really worked.

In the last year the tiniest of black ants have taken up residence and won’t…I repeat WILL NOT go away.

Of course, you can find them in the kitchen where all ant enticing items abide. But, then they made themselves at home in the guest bedroom with ½ inch trails of them marching from the window to the floor. They have pioneered new trails through the living room and have found their little ant smorgasbord of delight under the dining table.

But explain to me the colony setting up residence in the tank of our toilet. Or the complete NATION that overtook our medicine cupboards.

The last week of school was the clincher. I sent the boys up to the schoolroom ahead of me…but heard them return before I could get out the door.

“Mom, there are a WHOLE lot of ants on the school door. I think we should spray ‘em!”

I headed up to the classroom with “I don’t even WANT to know what’s in this” Spray Poison in my hands….

The door of our schoolroom was covered in two, one and half inch lines of ants. They went from ground to door jam and then branched off into the room vent, and across the wall in three directions. I began to spray and cough, cough and spray. Grumbling under my breath…about the dear little creatures and why they were here…

Then I opened the door…and stepped in…

To have CLUMPS OF ANTS fall on my head.

Oh my goodness…

Clumps of ants… The ants COVERED the ceiling of the entry to the school. There were so many ants trying to walk across the top of the door, they were falling off in clumps. The over the door shoe bag that holds various school supplies was now full of ants. There were hordes of the little beasts mounding on every wall hanging and poster.
They were everywhere. I sprayed two whole cans of the poison and vacated the premises. Two hours later as I swept up mounds of ants…dead ants were still falling from the ceiling.

I logically know the next step is extermination. But exterminators in third world Africa are scary. Really scary.

So for now. I’ll keep spraying and mumbling…praying the little darlings don’t completely overtake my house. I am a human, after all, with bug spray at my disposal, brains that function (most of the time) and feet ten times the size of their miniscule little invading bodies.

Of course, they can’t overtake my house…

But they have high hopes.

“Oops there goes another rubber tree….oops there goes another rubber tree…oops there goes another rubber tree plant!"


Lori Ann said...

OH Cheryl!
Just thinking about that makes me itch!
Just last night I was compaining about the ones on my patio,and once in a while in my laundry room, NOTHING I repeat like that.
Hope things get under control.

Aimee Jo said...

I'm so sorry about your HUGE ant problem!
If that "I don't know what's in here" spray works, just continue to spray away!

jim coffey said...

Warning - I'm an engineer and we like to solve problems and tell people what to do.

I have way too much experience with fire ants - here is what seems to work.

In times of rain and flooding the entire colony will migrate to higher ground. In times of drought they'll migrate toward areas of higher humidity.

If you can get your hands on some ant killing bait it works much better than sprays. The workers take the bait back to the queen, she eats it and dies. This kills the entire colony unless they happen to have a new queen ready to hatch

Spraying kills the visible ants (die, die, die) but the queen is busy breeding more workers faster than you can kill them.

People like sprays because you can visibly watch the little buggers die. Bait is a MUCH more effective, yet slower, way to kill insects.

If you follow the trail back to the nest you can attempt to kill the entire colony - or at least set it back a few generations.

Ants follow a scent trail left by other ants. An ant that carries a piece of food back to the nest leaves a trails that says - follow this trail to the food. Putting insecticide on the trail messes them up.

It's similar to preaching the gospel. If I show up with a team of rich american's I can generate lots of excitement and baptise lots of people (because I'm also bringing free consumer goods) but I may not accomplish much long term life change in my baptisees. If however, I send someone like the Cash family to "live in the nest" and show a true life dedicated to Jesus we can sometimes get the "queen bee" to decide that this new life is better than the old ... and they teach their fellow hive members the new way.

back to ANTS - from wikipedia

Control of species populations are usually done with bait insecticides, which are either in the form of small granules, or as a sticky liquid that is gathered by the ants as food and then brought back to the nest where the poison is inadvertently spread to other members of the brood — a system that can severely reduce the numbers in a colony if used properly. Boric acid and borax are often used as insecticides that are relatively safe for humans. With the recent insurgence of the red imported fire ant, a tactic called broadcast baiting has been employed, by which the substance (usually a granule bait designed specifically for fire ants) is spread across a large area, such as a lawn, in order to control populations. Nests may be destroyed by tracing the ants' trails back to the nest, then pouring boiling water into it to kill the queen. This works in about 60% of the mounds and needs about 14 litres (3 gallons) per mound.

Sandi said...

This was hilarious, Cheryl, and of course, gross. I feel for you.

The first night I was sleeping in my house in Togo, I had a very traumatic cockroach experience. I'll have to write about it on my blog sometime soon.

Our exterminators in Togo looked a lot like Ghostbusters.

kristi w said...

BLEK! I hate, hate, hate it when uninvited guests take up residence in my home! In our old house we had mice (we quit counting after taking 35 of their little lives); in our neighborhood of Northeast Portland everyone has ants - although nothing of your magnitude; last year our house was overrun with fleas, which in my book has to be one of the worst ever. I'm guessing the next plague will be our water turning to blood, but that's just a guess.

Jana said...

Yikes! Double yikes!

When we were in Prague many years ago, we stayed in a hostel. When we returned from a day in the city, the room WE rented had been usurped by ants.

The hostel owner (who couldn't speak English) cursed at the ants and then proceeded to spend the next hour trying to suck them up through the hose of his vacuum cleaner. That's not the best method, by the way.

Our pantry in Tyler was infested with ants. The ONLY thing that word was the ant bait traps.

I'm sorry you have this aggravation. Carry on, friend, and carry an umbrella!

Love you!
Jana Anderson

Trisha said...

Yuck! I have a picture in my mind of those little guys! So sorry. I do love your funny sense of humor about it! I'm humming the tune in my head..."he's got...high apple pie in the sky hopes...So when you're down and feeling blue......just remember the ants..." I can't remember all the words either!

The Harris Family said...

Did you take pictures to post? Love to see that!

I'm counting my blessings of our little nuisance ant problem.

Long term benefit to all this... Just think of the stories you will be able to tell your grandchildren! These things are preparing you to be a cool grandmother.


Destiny said...

This is the third time I have tried to post this comment, we'll see if it works this time :)

Well Cheryl, I do know who Laverne & Shirley are. I use to twatch the t.v show with my Grandma. :)