Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ant Invasion

We've been seeing quite a few ants this year, and a variety of sizes. We used to get the small ones that loved sugar on a regular basis. Every year when summer rolls around, it's time to keep the honey and sugar under wraps. It's a bummer when you find a swarm of ants invading your food, though you have to admire their tenacity and resourcefulness. They work hard and I have a world of respect for them. I'd just prefer they didn't invade our house.

This year we're seeing a couple of different kinds. In addition to the sweet-loving kind, some of them seem to prefer protein like meat or peanut butter. Then there are some slightly bigger ones that do like sweets and move quickly. Not carpenter ant size (thankfully, though I'm sure they're out there), but bigger than the usual kind. We used to deal with them by putting Terro bait, which is basically boric acid in a sweet solution. The ants take it back to the colony and it does its thing. There were a few problems with this approach, however.

First off, some of the ants didn't want sweets. Also, since we don't want the cats getting into it. The kids know better. I put the bait into an empty small tin can and covered the mouth tape so only ants could get in. This seemed like a good idea until I realized that some ants went in and couldn't get out. Plus, they seemed to engorge themselves on the bait and then die in the can, which defeats the whole purpose. I had to modify my ways. First I inverted the cans and cut openings in the side to the ants could easily get in and out. Then I mixed some honey with one blob of Terro, and also mixed some peanut butter with another blob. It's like a cafeteria, you get to choose your entree.

This seems to have done the trick, though where there's one colony, there are surely countless more. For now I am not seeing the trails of ants heading into the wall or the massive cloud of them in the compost. Once the weather cools they seem to retreat, at least until the next year. Something to look forward to.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave Taylor for the pic.

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