Monday, August 30, 2010
The House Always Wins
We've had an ant problem here since about two hours after we'd moved in. We didn't even have any food in the house when we first saw them crawling over the sink and counter. The commercial baits we bought did not interest them. They happily crawled around them and continued to look for even the smallest crumb on the counter. First battle was a win for the ants.
However, the war was not over. Janette had an ant problem last year, which was quickly solved with household items. Step one: puree hot dog. (I actually minced it, because I didn't want to wash the food processor). Step two: Mix three parts hot dog puree with one part borax (sold as a laundry additive, it's cheap too.) Step three: Watch ants as they swarm on the mixture and carry the poison back to their home to share with the queen. Step four: Notice there are no more ants around after a couple of days.
(A variation on this formula can be made by using honey instead of hot dog, if that's what your ants prefer.)
So, we got rid of the ants on the counter, and that was great. But then a couple of weeks later, a new batch of ants figured out where the dog food bowl is, which is also next to where Henry eats. It became very bad very quickly. By the time Henry was done with lunch, the bits he had dropped would be covered with ants. I think ants were eating more dog food than the dog was. The challenge was to put the poison on the floor in a way the ants could get it but dogs and babies couldn't.
Add another step: Cut little entrance holes in the bottom of a sour cream container (or similar). Put the bait inside, and replace the lid. The ants can now crawl in, but larger creatures can't get to the poison. Borax is only mildly toxic to mammals, but I still don't want any little mammals here eating borax-laced hot dog.
We had one more ant breakout in our bedroom. I had thrown away a cup that had once had ice cream in it, in our bedroom wastebasket. I did not know this was the ant equivalent of Disneyland. They came in a dramatic swarm and were all over the garbage and adjacent nightstand. I was grossed out. I made a batch of ant bait, put it in the sour cream container, and waited. Six hours later they were swarming (see photo). The next day they were gone.