Ants are, I admit, very cute when they are portrayed in some Pixar movie. However, they lose all appeal when you find them invading your food.
I originally noticed this problem weeks ago in the bathroom. A rather odd place I thought, until I realized they were after the sweet smells of toothpaste, mouth wash and cologne. I ignored it for a few days, hoping they would go away on their own. When it became apparent they were here to stay, I investigated natural ways to discourage their presense. I read about using baby powder, pepper, cinnamon, vinegar. Those little ant houses, I read, were not nearly as effective as these natural deterents. So I tried them all, those "natural" remedies. And guess what? The little guys kept paying their daily visits nonetheless.
Realizing I was going to have to resort to one of those "chemical" remedies, I begrudingly headed off to the store in search of those ant houses. I wasn't the only one either. Another customer, a young man who resided in one of the local frat houses, was also in search of the ant houses. It was quite an adventure trying to locate them. We were told to go to one aisle. No houses. Just the chemical sprays, which we both said we did not want to use. So I went in search of another clerk and was told to go to a different section. So, I went back to my fellow ant-eliminator friend and said to follow me. We were greeted by a clerk who, helping us find what we were after, told us toothpaste was a good deterent. Uh, no it isn't, I said. I found them all over my husband's toothpaste.
"Well, vinegar is good," she said.
"Nope. I did that daily and they still came back."
So, we each pick up our ant houses, the young man practically clearing out the shelf. I'm quite confident that ant house stock went up in the days following. I head home, place them on the bathroom counter. And wait.
Within two days, they were all but gone. Within a week, no more ants were visible in the bathroom.
Thinking we had conquered the problem, I forgot about it for a couple of weeks. Over the weekend though, I was shocked, appalled, disgusted to open up a cupboard in our kitchen to discover them all over our food items. They hadn't died off. They had simply found a new place to visit.
So what was supposed to be a quiet, relaxing, lazy day turned into an afternoon of clearing out food cabinets, cleaning shelves and putting food into tupperware and zip lock enclosed containers. Laying out a few ant houses for good measure, I figured we did all we could do at this point, aside from calling an exterminator. Our landlord would have to pay for it and he always goes for the cheapest and has no regard for the environment, at least at this particular property. When we had a flea issue outside, I wanted a natural product used and had found an exterminator that used environmentally friendly/green products, but instead mr. tightwad went with someone else, who used nasty toxic chemicals.
Maybe the conversation I had with one of the little visitors today will be effective. I told him/her they were welcome to live under our house, but the colony had to stay put and seek their food from other sources besides our home. We could live together in harmony, I said, and that means we stay out of your way and you stay out of ours. He seemed to hear me. He stopped crawling and stayed put as I spoke.
Although maybe he was just helping himself to that crumb of banana bread that found its way to the countertop.