April 1, 2009

Ants Anyone?

I'd love to tell you that I haven't posted in a couple days because I've been enjoying hammock time, or leading scores of people to the cross, but in reality, it's much less fun than either of those. I've been fighting the war on tiny red ants that have threatened to take over my house.

These are the most resilient, persistent things I've ever seen. We've sprayed, powdered, fumigated, cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more, and just about the time I'm wiping the shelves and replacing the dishes, I'll turn around and they're COVERING another area. And when they bite--OH! They sting! The funniest thing is that when we first arrived and were warned about not leaving clothes or food out, we were told that we may know we have these pests by smelling them before we can see them. How true that is. They smell just like a dirty diaper/poo poo/caca/feces--however you put it, they stink.

Not only do they love any speck of food, as do all ants, but these guys live on fabric. So if there's a piece of cloth with human scent on it NOT inside the safety of the closed washing machine, the ants swarm it and eat holes in it faster than I can pick them off. I found them on Caroline's sheets, took the sheets outside to "flick" them and immediately ran a load of laundry to drown the invaders. Well, imagine my surprise when I found them ALIVE after the wash, and spread all over to the other pieces of laundry. Ugh.

So I'm washing laundry more often than I normally would, and things that would regularly have a shelf life now live in the refrigerator. I'm wiping down my counter, table, and sink obsessively, and washing dishes immediately after their use. I can only imagine a day in the life of my neighbors, who have neither fridge nor washer nor access to poisons like we do. I'll bet they're not posting on their blogs lately, either! ;)

Any ideas for fighting this war?


  1. Oh Christie, I'm so sorry!!! I'm pretty sure these are fire ants. They originated here, believe-it-or-not. You have to drown the mound or nest. Here's more info: http://www.safe2use.com/pests/fireants/ipm3.htm

    The ONE good thing about these pests is that they'll rid your house of fleas and ticks.

    Hope they vacate the premises YA!

  2. We don´t have these ants, but we get the really tiny black ones. The only way we "manage" to get rid of them is spraying poison in every "nook and cranny" and every little gap outside of your house. Another thing that helps is not to have a garbage can too near to the house. The poison we use is called "sevin" or "K-Odrin". You mix them with 10 liter of water and spray them in the cracks around the house. They are not harmful for people.
    I hope this helps!

  3. What an awful problem!!! I sprinkle salt around as well as leave garlic and onions lying around. This seems to deter most of the ants here. If there are more persistant ones, I pour liquid soap where they want to go and they have never crossed that "river" yet! I read somewhere that these also work, but haven't tried them: red chili pepper, paprika, dried peppermint, and borax. Good luck!

  4. In the jungle I found that using kerosene in my mop water daily and wiping all hard surfaces with kerosene added to the water helped.
    As for the cloth, I have lost so many things this way,towels,sheets, and so on. I never quite figured out how to beat them completely.
    My husband did pour gasoline in their mounds and ignite them which gave us a respite.
    But if Ken does that, be careful! Those ant tunnels can be really long and cause quite an explosion!

  5. Thanks a lot for the advice, ladies! I found some good stuff on the website, Julie, and after finding salt there and in Kathy's comment, I started sprinkling. My kitchen looks like a salt factory exploded nearby.

    We stocked up on some more poison, too, and have been trying to locate the mounds. Normally kerosene would scare me, but after all the junk I've already sprayed and sprinkled all over the kitchen, kerosene can't be any worse...



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