Thursday, December 24, 2009

Midnight Visitors

'Twas the night before Festivus, and all through the bathroom,
despite wearing my pants,
I looked on the floor to see dozens of ants.

This, sadly, dear readers, is my tale of Christmas woe. Where is the joy, you are saying? Where is the spirit? Well, let me tell you.

This all started yon about two weeks ago, when it rained, and when it rains in the Bay Area, or at least in the East Bay for sure, it means the ants need somewhere to go, and where they usually go is your house. Or it certainly is mine. It started off, as it normally does, with a few little ants roaming around in my bathroom. I thought, no chance are they going to set up camp here. What are they going to eat, my dead skin cells? Perhaps yes.

Because, for whatever reason, decided to move in. I woke up one night to find not a pile of gifts, but that the miniature six-legged elves had in fact decided to lodge themselves somewhere in my walls probably, and were traipsing their way blithely through my bathroom, to and from my closet. Don't ask me what was on their little anty minds. I have no idea. I just wanted them gone.

So I put down some ant traps that had worked for me before. Nothing.

At that point, I was just glad that they weren't in my kitchen, though I can't say I enjoyed stepping over them in order to take a shower. At least they weren't IN my shower. Two days later, they WERE in the kitchen. And they looked something like this:

Only, in fact, it was worse, because even once I got them off the counters, they kept coming back, and they were also swarming around two of the lower drawers. Again, don't ask me why. There was no food in the drawers. But I did have to move all my tupperware.

I was just about at my wit's end. It was a Sunday, and I was having guests over on Monday night for a Holiday party. If I didn't get rid of the ants, I was pretty sure I'd have to tell people not to come. But I was determined. I posted a desperate plea on FaceBook, and got a lot of responses, recommending many of the treatments mentioned in this article.

One thing that kept coming up was Borax. Well, I didn't really know where to get Borax. What I did was I went back to the hardware store and got some kind of liquid ant killer I'd seen before and decided to try it. The guy I talked to said it was "the best." Well, it didn't look like much to me. You cut out little squares of cardboard and drip the stuff on, then leave it around near the ant trails for the ants to find it. When they do, they eat it, and then take it with them back to the nest and feed it to their babies. Shortly thereafter, they all die. Theoretically, they kill the queen, too, and then you're set.

Trouble was, I had so many ants, I kept seeing these big ones that I was sure were queens or something, but probably they were just males. I don't know that much about ant biology. All I know was I kept killing them, and they were only getting worse.

But I had hope when I saw them taking the bait - literally. They were circling around the drops of liquid like cows at a water trough. A friend came over later, and brought Combat traps, and I put down a few of those for good measure.

As a bonus, when I checked the label on the stuff I bought (Terro), it said the active ingredient was Borax. So I bought Borax without even knowing. Sweet! And I think it was sweet, because even though they didn't list the other ingredients, I think it was probably either sugar water or corn syrup. I didn't taste it to find out, though.

Anyway, I went to bed with a massive ant trail in my bathroom, and a burgeoning collection of them in the kitchen, and woke up to - practically nothing! There were a few wandering about confusedly in the bathroom, and two or three by the kitchen garbage, and that was it. It was a Festivus Miracle!

I hopped about and clapped my hands, and danced with little Timmy, and said, hooray, we can have our Holiday Party after all! Well, maybe not quite. But I did have my party as planned, and all went very well.

Until the ants started to move back in today. Sigh. Well, at least this time I'm ready for them.


RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Taylor, this is potty talk at it's absolute best. You're very clever. I hate the damn ant problem too..I wonder if it's worse in CA for some reason. At any rate, happy Festivus!

TaylorM said...

I think you're right! There's definitely something about this area that makes the ants especially heinous indoors, when it rains...