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You think YOU’VE got ant problems? Check these out.

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 7:24 am in Ants.

Ant sculpture. Photo by Flickr user P Pogo used under a Creative Commons License.
Ant sculpture by Flickr user P Pogo

Last week I asked readers of my daily newspaper column if they were having ant problems. I was curious, since ants have been trying (for weeks!) to carry my house away. I filled up my Sunday (Jan. 9) column with responses (“Ants in your pants? Me, too. It tickles”) and still had plenty left over. I don’t want them to go to waste, so here they are:


*** My ants are very creative. We came home from Lake Tahoe a few weekends ago to find they were living in my carnivorous plant!  The pitchers on my plant are so large and the ants so small, that they were wandering in and out again at will.  Must’ve been the local ant gang with some very high-risk behavior!  Love your column. (Karen in Kensington, CA)

Ant sculpture. Photo by Flickr user P Pogo used under a Creative Commons License.
Ant sculpture by Flickr user P Pogo

***Our way of dealing with ants is to find a spot away from the cooking and food area and feed them.  A dish of sugar water will keep all of the ants there and they won’t bother the rest of the house.  They eventually leave until the next season of cold or wet weather. Once (before our feeding solution) a large drop of Creme de Menthe was left on the counter and I found a complete circle of ants around it, drinking and turning green.  There were other ants aimlessly wandering around intoxicated. (Melody Keating in cyberspace)

*** I live near S.F. Bay in San Pablo. I have never had ants like this; been here 40 years. I’m creeped out! (Sandra Miller, San Pablo, CA)

***I live in a very old part of Irvington in Fremont, Calif. My subdivision was built in the mid 50’s. We have an abundance of ants and wonderful birds/critters.  I think the ants have always been here the 22 years my husband has owned the house.  Back since 2001, every 90 days we have the area around the house sprayed and that seems to be about the best we can do.  It’s really bad and in every room of the house. The spray isn’t 100 % effective and we typically have 2 or 3 different types of ants that come into the house. I’ve given up and keep all my sugar in the refrigerator. When it gets really bad! I move the flour and cereal in there too. That seems to do the trick. We haven’t seen hide nor hair of an ant in several months now, since all the rain started.  Typically we get them in and out from spring to fall. I’m worried it’s gonna be a really bad summer for ants this year. (Rhonna M., Fremont, CA)

*** Yes, as a matter of fact, we DO have hundreds and hundreds of ants —inside—for the first time in 24 years!!!  The Ant Invasion began with fervor, on Thanksgiving, around the edges of the kitchen sink.  The cinnamon defense worked wonderfully, or so we thought.  The following morning, a pre-dawn, rear attack of ants was discovered at the back, sliding-glass door.  Cinnamon artillery, this time peppered with baby powder, fought off waves of troops, or so we thought.  The following morning, an army of ants was discovered thoroughly blanketing the inside of the dishwasher.  The turf battle continues with strikes emanating from phone jacks, outlets, beneath baseboards, window sills, under counter tops… We surrender! (Lynda & David B., Livermore, CA)

***I’m going to start charging rent to the ants that have taken up residence since the cold & rains came in mid November. They have come into my kitchen looking for a free meal, through my upper & lower cupboards,  they found their way in from under the floor of the kitchen, between the vinyl flooring and the molding. Last weekend they tried coming in thru two different window sashes in the living room. Now they are back to the upper cupboards again. This has been the worst invasion since I’ve been living in this house for 13 yrs. I’ve used petroleum jelly (your advise for my hummingbird feeders) to caulk my cupboards, and the vinyl floor, I’ve sprinkled Boraxo hand soap on the shelves of my cabinets, I’ve actually become paranoid when I don’t see them for a couple of days wondering where they are coming into and I don’t see them. When I get up in the morning to make coffee, I spend the first 5 minutes looking for those “scout ants”, to make sure they never return to “tell the other scag ants”. I’ve moved all my houseplants, the contents of my cupboards, this has totally disrupted my life. My jar of petroleum jelly has ants stuck in it, if I could caulk my entire house with the jelly I would, take that you scag ant!!!!!!!   Going bonkers in Oakland. (Wendy, Oakland, CA)

*** Your columns are among the highlights of our lives!  Yes, we have ants twice a year!  The last time it took me about 6 weeks to get rid of them.  Just last week they started in (always around my kitchen sink) and I happened to see the first few scouts streaming out and immediately grabbed the cinnamon and POURED it all over the whole area.  They left immediately!  I put a bowl of sugar in the one dry place around the outside of my house (conveniently right outside of the wall where my kitchen sink is located!) and haven’t seen them since.  I will leave the cinnamon there for a LONG time.  I’m convinced they move into the walls of our house in winter. (Valerie, Antioch, CA)

*** … and I thought I was the only one who had ants in every room of the house & office ! Just this morning ‘one’ was standing on his hind-legs watching me shave ! Well I ‘doused’ his hopes of ever being an ‘Army-scout’ !  He is now floating down a drain somewhere going  ‘Wheeeeeeeee’ ! (Bill DeMaestre,Orinda, CA)

***In addition to having ants invading every room in our house, we’ve had them attacking us PERSONALLY.  The ones in our family room like to wait until I have a cat soundly sleeping on my lap while we watch TV.  Then one of them will somehow crawl between my toes, right at the base, and take a BIG BITE out of the tender skin.  It HURTS like crazy and comes as a complete surprise, which makes me yell out in pain, which scares the cat who jumps off my lap with her claws fully imbedded in my thighs and I’m left with a row of nasty scratches.  One night the ant invaders  woke us up at 2 a.m. by crawling across my husband’s pillow and onto his neck!  Nice! (Judy Wobleski, ant victim, Walnut Creek, CA)

*** The ants seem particularly bad this year (or maybe my memory is getting worse and I just don’t remember them being this bad before?).  Anyway, cinnamon placed around the entry points (usually heater vents) have done the trick in the past; at least minimized the problem considerably.  Not so this year.  It finally got so bad (ants literally crawling all over our CLEAN kitchen and bathroom floors!) that I had to resort to Grant’s Ant Stakes.  Yes, they are poisonous (arsenic) and yes, we have pets – two indoor cats.  However, I placed the ant stakes right on top of the ant trails and locked the cats upstairs (I’ve never seen an ant upstairs, BTW).  After about an hour, the ant stakes were solid black with crawling ants (yuck!)  By the end of the day, not one ant could be found anywhere in our house, and believe me I looked.  I picked up the ant stakes, put them in a plastic freezer storage bag, and took them to a storage closet in the garage.  I then scrubbed the floors where the ant stakes had been and let the cats out.  That was on Dec 30th and I have not seen an ant in the house since then.  I sure hope they stay gone but if they don’t, I guess I’ll repeat the process. (Pamela from Martinez, CA)

*** You wanted to know about ant problems. I live about 2 miles north of Kirker Pass Road.  Usually no problem with ants.  However, every time this week that my daughter has turned on the water to get the temperature right to shower somewhere between 200 and 400 ants come out of the faucet.  Then no more sign of ants until she gets ready to shower again.  Turn on the faucet and out come  the ants. My bathroom shares a wall with the one she uses and I find ants crawling around my basins.  No idea where they are coming from.  I get rid of then and the next time I go into the bathroom there are more again.  No trail.  Just ants.  Let your wife know she is not alone. Enough to drive a person crazy.  (Marilyn Heitz, cyberspace)

*** My house has also been inundated with ants. They have been coming through windows, faucets, floors, the stairs, inside walls, etc. The kitchen and master bathroom have been particularly hard hit. Containers I thought airtight have been full of ants! The cats, Beau, and Rosie, have their food centered in a moat. They don’t help though, as they carry their kibble onto the rug and kitchen floor where they leave crumbs which attract more ants! (Sandy Plate, Benicia, CA)

*** Ants, ants and more ants! Mostly in bathrooms. Looking for a place that’s warm and dry to relocate to. We were away from home for a few days. In the morning I filled the coffee pot with water to pour into the coffee maker. As I poured the water in, out over the top of the coffee maker, like a crawling eruption, appeared a swarm of black ants. They had set up their new home in my coffee maker! I screamed, grabbed up the coffee maker and ran to the back door and threw it into the backyard! Ants? Yeah, I’ve had and am having ants. (Sandy Lawrence, El Sobrante, CA)

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2 Responses to “You think YOU’VE got ant problems? Check these out.”

  1. Don Says:

    Note of interest, people having problems with ants in their pet’s food or water bowl (inside or outside cats or dogs). or just remember
    thanks, Don

  2. Shawn Says:

    I don’t know why but the heat has really stirred up the ants in my area. Normally the ants aren’t the summer time bug problem, it’s usually earwigs, but last year I got rid of a huge population of the earwigs and now I think the earwigs were keeping the ant population in check because I am now infested with ants. Every day I have to wake up and inspect every inch of the kitchen to make sure the ants aren’t on our animals food, in our food, or infesting the trash can. I just wish there were and easier way to get rid of them then sprinkling cinnamon under the animals food bowls, which helps keep them away but is ineffectual after a while, since the animals spill some of their dry food on the floor as they eat, which brings in more ants and forces me to sweep up the cinnamon and then reapply. I’m just hopping this heat wave breaks soon or my whole kitchen is just gonna become one big ant hill…

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