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View Full Version : Intense heat and lack of rain = invasion of the ant kind.



tlblack
08-25-2007, 07:49 AM
The oppressive heat here in the south has taken quite a toll on life in general. The death toll is higher among the elderly and the young and those with breathing difficulties are finding that the outside world has nothing to offer them but heat and humidity, making their already congested lungs fight that much harder to breathe. The drought seems to be never ending, although we have had a quick shower or an occasional "bucket dropper." It's not been enough rain to replenish water supplies or keep the grass from drying out and crunching underneath our feet. We are now under level four water restrictions and can only use water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Because of the lack of water, there is now becoming a myriad of food for those little pests we call ants. They are scavenging the entire state and coming inside houses to get a break from the heat as well as find the necessary water they need. Other insects are finding their way inside the house as well, but the ants are taking over. There is no end to them no matter how much we spray and bait for them. Nothing is keeping them out. I half way expect to come home from work one day and find that the house is either gone or that it is "seemingly" moving on its own as the ants carry it off somewhere.

As soon as we think we have cleared them from one place, the ants show up somewhere else. There is a litteral graveyard of ants in the floor every day and still they keep coming. The ground is teeming with them. There is no place to stand without them crawling on your feet, up your legs, etc. They are on the roof, in the attic, under the house, in the kitchen, bathroom, have been crawling along the baseboards, along the window sills, coming out of the cabinets and there is no food left open or in boxes without being zipped up in plastic bags. We've put out poison discs, have pest control treat the house and yard once a month, spray diazanon (sp) and other insecticides in the yard, around the house, under the house, in the house, on the tree trunks, on and around the outside garbage can, everywhere. The ants disappear for 24 to 48 hours and then are back, and seem to be worse.

Apparently there is now a shortage of bug sprays in my area and we are lucky to find one can of Raid or other brand of ant spray on the shelf at any store. Boric acid has even disappeared from store shelves as fast as it is stocked. Does anyone know of anything that works to get rid of them? Or are we doomed? :Shrug: Helpful suggestions are welcomed.

The little pests in question are Argentinian Ants. (some call them sugar ants and well... I won't mention what my Dad calls them)They live in colonies and have more than one queen per colony. They are also socialable with other colonies so they won't kill each other off. Most of the time these ants don't bite, but I have been bitten more times than I want to count. I was also rudely awakened two nights ago with a couple dozen of them feasting on my arm. I'm still trying to figure out how they got in the bed with me since the only ones I saw were the ones biting me. Yipes was not a word in my vocabulary that night, but a few other colorful, more unladylike words were.

mkcbunny
08-25-2007, 08:04 AM
That sounds awful. I've battled many an ant, but nothing like what you describe. I doubt anything I have done would help in your situation, because it sounds like your whole area is under siege.

The thing about ants is that they follow pheromone trails. In an ordinary ant invasion, you tend to see trails of ants marching to and from the colony. They send out scouts who leave a trail when they report back to the colony, and then the colony follows their trail back. What you can do in that case is follow their trail and clean it all the way back to their point of entry. Sometimes, you'll be lucky enough to find a hole that can be blocked. So you block it and wait for them to find another way in.

All I can suggest to lessen a total full-surface-coverage invasion like you describe is that you clean everywhere they've been, top to bottom, to get rid of those trails. Floors, walls, counters, everything. Windex is pretty good for that. Any cleaner will remove and hide the scent, I think. What you want is to get them down to the point where they're following specific trails that you can clean more regularly, vs. them running amok all over the place. But that may be the best you can hope for.

Manually killing them back and eliminating the trails may help a little. If and when you can get them down some, keep going. Ideally, you'd kill every straggler you saw and not let a single scout back to the colony; they just call more troops.

I'm no expert. I just live in an area where low-level ant invasion is normal and manageable. It sounds like you're facing something I can barely imagine. Good luck.

tlblack
08-25-2007, 08:22 AM
Thanks, I think we are going to need all of the luck we can get. There is a stockpile of cleaning products in the kitchen and bathroom. The ants don't seem to mind them as they will wait until the cleaners dry and start tracking right back over the same areas. They are even in the dishwasher, and inside the microwave. There isn't a crumb anywhere that I have found for them to be attracted to. They aren't even interested in the garbage, just getting to the sink, tub, and are even crawling around on the toilet. Apparently the colonies are enormous. If the ants were larger, I'd think I was in a remake of "THEM." Tomorrow I'm planning to go back through the whole house with a fine toothed comb, do all of the usual, necessary cleaning, and then give it the sterile treatment if I have to. Somehow there has to be a solution. We've had ant problems before with drought, but this is the worst I've ever seen them.

mkcbunny
08-25-2007, 08:51 AM
In our building [22 units, which I manage as my day job], the ants always go for the kitchen sink and the bathroom faucet areas. It's all about the water. Of course they want food, too, but the invasions are almost exclusively in the kitchens and baths. Even when it rains and they get washed out of their colony, they head upward and go to the same places.

What's always struck me as odd about their *normal* way of following a line is that they'll sometimes overlook a completely obvious (to humans) route. Once, we had them coming through a corner crack when, not two feet away, there was a one-inch gap under the door. Any higher creature would spot the gap, but even after we blocked the crack, the ants never found the route under the door. They don't see the big picture.

And in our building now, we have had ants get to the third floor without ever stopping in apartments on the first or second floors. It's just whatever path they follow.

THEM!, love that movie. Poor James Whitmore.

tlblack
08-25-2007, 09:31 AM
Me too! Just like here, the ants kept coming lol.

Maybe I should invest in some very large spiders and strategically place them around the house. It would be nice to find something that gets rid of them before we terminate ourselves with ant sprays.

Anyone with any ideas, please leave them here. I'm off to nightmare land.

Ziljon
08-25-2007, 09:33 AM
Why not put little bowls of water outside your house for the ants?

SpookyWriter
08-25-2007, 09:38 AM
Why not put little bowls of water outside your house for the ants?Don't forget to add a touch of arsenic.

BardSkye
08-25-2007, 09:38 AM
I've heard they won't walk through talcum powder, but I'm no expert, as they're not a big problem here. (I'm battling a plague of mice.)

SpookyWriter
08-25-2007, 09:50 AM
I've heard they won't walk through talcum powder, but I'm no expert, as they're not a big problem here. (I'm battling a plague of mice.)I thought that was for demons? Ek! There goes another ghost.

BardSkye
08-25-2007, 09:59 AM
Isn't being nibbled to death by ants pretty demonic?

SpookyWriter
08-25-2007, 10:14 AM
Isn't being nibbled to death by ants pretty demonic?But what if they aren't real?

Susie
08-25-2007, 10:25 AM
Sure hope things get way better for you, TL. That is terrible. Wishing you much brighter days and no ants and better weather, etc.

dclary
08-25-2007, 10:44 AM
Black, a couple of things you can do:

A) These ants will colonize your walls. Which means you need a pro to come in and dust the gaps between the outer and inner wall.

B) Lay down a dusting of Comet anywhere you see the trail. Comet is a caustic and will kill them bad, and it'll eat their chemical trail, and it will suffocate any ants who come near it but don't enter it.

C) Ensure your outer perimeter is heavily sprayed with professional-strength long-lasting bug killer.

tlblack
08-25-2007, 03:15 PM
Thanks guys.

Comet gets used often although I hadn't thought of leaving a trail of it.

Siddow
08-25-2007, 04:24 PM
Ack! I've had a little ant problem, as well. I used a super-strong indoor/outdoor pest control solution that stinks like mad. So in an attempt to cover up the smell (the bottle says "No Odor!"--my ass!) I used Oust air freshener spray in all the rooms.

Don't do that. The mixture smells oddly like puke. But, I don't have any more ants. :D

Rolling Thunder
08-25-2007, 04:34 PM
Sprinkle table salt or rock salt around the foundation, about six inches wide. Avoid getting any near plants you want to keep though.

Ants and termites hate the stuff, much like borax. Also note that organic mulches like shredded hardwood promote insect life. If you use gravel, many are available in different colors today, termites will back off. They can't build their nests in stone because rainwater filters through too fast, flooding them out. Stone also means never having to mulch again and, when the mornings are cool, dew will form on the stone, which will filter to the ground and help water the plants.

Dave's -Comet- advice is new to me. I'm going to experiment with that though. :) Also, Home Depot carries a product called 'ant barrier'. You sprinkle it around and it keeps the ants from coming in. It might be a commercial version of Dave's advice, so I'll check the label.

tlblack
08-25-2007, 04:43 PM
Good idea there RT. Hadn't thought about salt for ants. I've used it to kill off poison ivy and oak but not for ants. We have some stone in the yard and gravel driveway, and ants all in them too, but I haven't seen any termites. Maybe the ants ate them lol.