Have you read the children’s book Two Bad Ants? Have you tried to play the children’s board game Ants in the Pants? Perhaps, as a child, you saw the ant as the hero of Aesop’s Fable: The Ant and the Grasshopper.
All those fond memories of beloved ant storybook characters and the fun of watching pet ants in a formicary disappear when you open your cupboard to discover
AN ANT INFESTATION!!!
Yes, folks! While it has not reached the “ants in my panties” stage yet I fear it is only a matter of time. It seems these industrious little creatures have suffered a shortage of natural food due a summer of record-breaking temperatures.
Ever the enterprising creatures, they have opted to move in with us…uninvited I might add! Yesterday I lifted the lid from my sugar bowl to discover a writhing black mass!
Now, I have looked these little black creatures up and they do not classify as members of
The Ten Most Dangerous and Terrifying Insects.
As a matter of fact, they are not even listed among
The Five Most Dangerous Ants in the World
Reference books call these industrious little guys appropriately Little Black Ants or Tiny Black Ants. One source even went so far as to term them: Little Black House Ants. Obviously the busy little insects had read that last source because here they are! Sharing my sugar bowl…cowering in my cupboards…lounging in my larder and plundering my pantry shelves!!
Now, how to get rid of them? My first thought was to blast them with Raid. But, there is a huge army of them and I have to breathe this air too. So, I abandoned that idea.
Next, I polled the neighborhood, my relatives and my friends—particularly my geeky science-y friends. They always know what to do when faced with infestations.
Here are the solutions they offered. I don’t make these up. I just share them.
1. Create a ditch around a particularly tasty treat (like the candy jar) and fill this “ditch” with sticky tape—sticky side up. White adhesive tape seems to be the tape of choice because it is so gooey.
2. Use a turkey baster to spray/blast boric acid into the cracks and crevasses where ants may be. If you have pets which you have actually invited into your home or small children do not use this alternative. Boric acid is not kid and cat friendly!!
3. Use chalk to draw a line across any and every entry point to your house. Now before you think I have flipped out over the ant infestation, let me explain. Chalk contains calcium carbonate. Ants don’t like calcium carbonate. The kids love to help with this one. (Incidentally neither do slugs. So you can sprinkle chalk dust in your garden to rid it of ants and slugs.
4. Try flour. Sprinkle it along the shelves of your kitchen cupboards. Ants don’t like flour either.
5. When life gives you ants, make lemonade. Squeeze lemon juice along entry points and into any cracks that look inviting to ants. It smells great. You kids and pets won’t get sick and best of all it just dries up and you don’t even have to vacuum it up. HINT: Don’t squirt lemon juice where you sprinkled flour! When you have finished squeezing, cut up the lemon peel and sprinkle it around doorways and window sills. Think of this an ant UN-welcome mat!
6. Puree orange peel in a cup of warm water. Pour this solution over ant hills near your house. They will feel unwelcome and haul their little ant butts out of there.
7. Ants came inside out of the heat to search your larder for anything sweet. Give them a rude surprise. Sprinkle cayenne pepper along baseboards, counter tops, cupboards, cracks and doorways. If you can find ant hills or holes where ants are getting into your house, pour pepper into this area.
8. Nothing says UN-welcome like salt! Ants don’t like salt. Try sprinkling salt where you find them lingering.
9. Ants will move into sugar, flour and anything else sweet. Put things they don’t like in these containers. Ant-unfriendly substances include: cloves, sage, bay, and cinnamon. Make sachets from one or more of these. Why! Not in a Martha Stewart mood? Use a bay leaf or a cinnamon stick instead.
10. If you have ants in the bathroom or the bedroom or the dining room perhaps some of these remedies are not to your liking. For those areas consider sprinkling liberal doses of talcum powder. It’s also good for doors, windows and around the foundation of your house. If you don’t want to use talcum powder try oil of cloves or cream of tartar.
11. Spray the little visitors away with a liquid consisting of 50:50 vinegar and water. Aunt’s little noses don’t like vinegar.
12. Serve up a dish of cucumbers! If you slice cucumbers thinly and place them in vinegar and oil ants will run away.
While you are ridding your house of these pesky little intruders, why not seize the moment to enjoy the following with your kids?
Ant and Bee and the ABC by Angela Banner (There is a whole series of Ant and Bee books.)
Bugs Are Insects by Anne Rockwell and Steve Jenkins
Those Amazing Ants by Patricia Brennan Demuth and S. D. Schindler
Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Hoose, Hannah Hoose, and Debbie Tilley
The Ant and the Grasshopper: Aesop’s Fables
Two Bad Ants Chris Van Allsburg
The next two books contain amazing facts about ants and colony life.
Ant Cities by Arthur Dorros
City under the Back Steps: A Children’s Book about Ants by Evelyn Sibley Lampman
After all, we may as well make this an educational venture!
Do you have an infestation story to share? We’d love to hear from you.
To celebrate Maniac Monday, we will be giving away Ant Cities to 5 of our Richly Middle Class Friends. All you have to do is leave a comment starting with AN ANT INFESTATION!!! and a little about your experience with ants. Hope you all are having an awesome Monday. “Gail, thank you so much for making our Maniac Monday an Ant Infested One!
This giveaway is open to all US Residents, UK, Canadian, Military members, and their families living abroad.