You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line. – Hopper, from A Bug’s Life
One thing I love not-so-much about the new abode is the bug situation. It’s a bit buggy here in Virginia, or at least, in my part of Virginia. For the first few weeks I found myself killing a few ants here, a spider there. This is to be expected, I thought. In the Philadelphia area we had lived in a house that was built just three years before we moved in, and it had no bug issues. But this townhouse in Virginia is a little bit older – about 25-30 years old – and naturally one could expect a higher level of vermin infestation.
It took them a few weeks, but the resident ants have finally figured out that we have a one-year old who likes to drop food on the floor. We mistakenly left a piece of banana on the kitchen floor for several hours, only to find a line of ants streaming from the baseboards to the banana in fairly orderly fashion. I wiped up the banana, smooshed a bunch of ants, and moped the entire kitchen floor. That’ll git ’em, I thought. Get rid of the scent and the food, keep the floor nice and clean, and they’ll have no reason to stick around.
Well, the little (bad word deleted) were back in force a day later. There wasn’t really anything on the floor to attract them, but they were running all along the baseboards and scurrying onto the floor, searching for food or simply licking up whatever residue they could find. Lacking any ant poison (which is not a good idea, anyway, considering I have a crawling kid in the house), I sprayed some Fantastic cleaning spray directly onto the bugs and their chosen floor quadrant, wiped up the nasty ant carcases, chased down any ants trying to flee my attack, and scrubbed the floor pretty good. I take no prisoners. The ants have gone now for about eight hours. This is a temporary victory, for sure, but it feels good.
I can’t keep spraying Fantastic on the damn critters. Thanks to Google, I found a website with several natural, child-safe home remedies to keep the ants away. I will try a few of these and let you know what works. In the meantime, it’s just me and my paper towels, shoes, and bare hands vs. those stinkin’ ants.
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Above picture of Flick from the Disney animated film, A Bugs Life. Pic found here.
5 thoughts on “Hand-to-Ant Combat”
You might try ant traps in places where Cana won’t go.
When we lived in student housing at seminary, which you know well, we got to be on a first name basis with the exterminator because of the ants. Ants marching in trails (one by one, boom boom boom, as LittleBear would say) all over the bathroom, all over the kitchen, all over the dining room…
The link to the child-safe ant repellents had some great ideas.
I thought – though, I haven’t tried – that maybe you could put ant poison on the OUTSIDE of the house. That might keep them from coming in. Once you finish killing the ones inside, you should be ant free (maybe).
My husband the bug man says the best thing to do if you don’t want to be toxic is clean really well with bleach. Boric acid works extremely well and it’s non-toxic. When we had ants in the rented parsonage he did spray a lot outside, but you don’t want the kids to get in that stuff until it dries. The trick with that is to go to the place where they seem to come in the house. So there’s the advice from the bug professional.
Things could be worse. Here in Texas it’s not sugar ants — we have fire ants. Lots of them. Everywhere. For the most part they stay out of the house, but occassionally they do get in.
Earlier in the year we were successful at keeping them out of the church and parsonage yard. Of course, we then discovered that without the fire ants, tarantualas, scorpions, and snakes proliferate. Either way, it is creepy-crawly critter central around here.
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