I woke up the other morning to find I had been invaded. Little communists had taken over my kitchen. Thousands of them. Ants. Ants everywhere, they were on my floor, my counters, going up my cabinet doors, literally everywhere except my pantry. For some reason I had either found them before they found the actual food or they were not the brightest ants. I am not really qualified to speak to the intelligence of ants so I am going with I found them before they found the food. Whatever the reason, the battle had begun right after I had a cup of coffee.
Ants have the most complicated social organization on earth next to humans. ~ E. O. Wilson
Fortified with caffeine and ready to annihilate my enemy, feeling superior with my human brain and my height, I put some vinegar and water into a bucket and proceeded to mop and wipe up the ants. Millions died that day. My great human brain told me that the vinegar would disrupt the pheromone trail the ants laid down to well I couldn’t figure what food was there but not an ant. Pheromone is “a chemical compound, produced and secreted by an animal, that influences the behavior and development of other members of the same species” (Pallardy, Richard. “Encarta.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 22 May 2016.) So ants lay down the pheromone which directs all the other ants to the good stuff. I figured that perhaps vinegar would disrupt that trail, all the ants would become lost and disheartened and maybe go back the way they came, never to cast their tiny shadows upon my floor again. Alas, I was wrong.
I went and sat down. I actually took a nap. I have been recovering for a stomach bug so all that activity was exhausting. Once rested, I went back to the kitchen to find, to my dismay, that thousands of more ants had taken the place of their fallen comrades. Well crap. Obviously vinegar did nothing. SO this time I moped and cleaned with Pine sol. Pine sol is a powerful disinfectant but not a fan of that strong smell. I thought perhaps another good strong smell would confuse the trail or at least get rid of the microscopic whatevers they were finding to munch on. Yea that didn’t work. I did the only thing I could do at the time; pour out my angst on Facebook.
Ant colonies can be long-lived. The queens can live for up to 30 years, and workers live from 1 to 3 years. Males, however, are more transitory, being quite short-lived and surviving for only a few weeks. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant)
I spent the rest of the day literally walking my kitchen and wiping up stray ants with sponges. If I let it lapse for more than half hour I would have ten or twenty ants in the there. Every fifteen minutes there I am wiping up ants. I figured out where they were coming from. There was a minute hole in the baseboard. The old owners of this house and originally put caulk in the same place. Exhausted in battle, I illogically thought that maybe all I need is more caulk. Well, hello they got in anyway, eh? So, I did what any self-respecting red blooded American would do, I sprayed WD-40 into that teeny weeny little hole. Then I want outside and sprayed the corresponding base of the house. It worked! No more ants came from the under the baseboard, I had stopped the bleeding!
The next day I went into the kitchen and there were ants everywhere again. WHAT THE WHAT! I fixed it right? Sigh. They were pouring out from under the stove. Great. The hubby told me he had heard ants did not like hot water , so I got some rags, doused them with too hot to handle water and shoved under the stove. I put enough to block the flow, cleaned up the ants, again, and then had breakfast. While eating I checked my Facebook. Oh so many messages on how to kill ants. Everything from eucalyptus to vinegar (doesn’t work) to a line of salt, cinnamon, pepper (pick one or all) to moving or my personal favorite, using a flame thrower. One friend was upset that I wanted to kill the ants. According to him we built on their house, etc. Another friend made sense and said remove the temptation.According Of course my kitchen by this time was the most immaculate kitchen in history of mankind. I had no idea what they wanted from me. I had killed millions of ants and still they came.
Scientists estimate that there are over 1 quadrillion ants in the world, and as many as 10 quadrillion. That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000. ~ http://www.theincredibleant.com/incredible-ants/50-facts-about-ants
That night after another grueling day fighting with ants (I had removed the rags to finds the ants waiting. I put the ragss back). I consulted with my hubby. We decided to go with chemical warfare. If they wanted to eat at my house, then, by golly, we were going to feed them. (I have ever mentioned how much I love Amazon?) We ordered some Grants Ants Stakes to put around the perimeter of the house that way once we got the ants gone from inside, no new ones could take the place. We would have an empty kingdom. You have to be careful though. They must be place out of reach of children or critters. We put inside the house some Terro Liquid ant baits. Although no something I would recommend you let your kids or critters play with, small amounts won’t kill them. It has boric acid in it which is not harmful in small amounts to us big things, but let me tell you they are certainly a happy last meal for ants. They work by not only feeding the ants present but they take it back to the nest and eventually the queen gets some and the whole monarchy collapses upon her death.
Our two pronged attack seems to be working well. We had a line of ants for a day going from the bait in the house to wherever they are residing. Today, day whatever, lost count, they are only a few ants strolling around. I will leave them and let them find the sweet trap I have laid for them. So far I am winning. There are very few ants milling about right now, less than a dozen. That, of course, only means I am a tad more stubborn than the ants. I will be victorious!