Sunday, August 17, 2008

And the ants go marching on...

Over the weekend, I fended off a major ant invasion.

It wasn't the first time, but I think it's safe to say that Saturday night will go down as one of the more significant battles in my ongoing war against the ants of the world.

After watching the Olympics that evening, I gained a second wind and decided to tackle the disaster that was our living room.

As I was taking a bag of trash to the garage, I noticed a teeny tiny ant crawling on the floor of the laundry room. Upon closer examination, I realized there were about a dozen more ants nearby. After crushing them all, I went to open the door to the garage. That's when I saw them: about 50 ants were scurrying around on the door frame, the floor, the washing machine, and the wall. Apparently attracted by an empty Vitamin Water bottle, they had found their way inside the house and discovered the pile of dirty dishrags, a chocolate-stained T-shirt, and a mop.

Without any bug spray, I wasn't sure what to use to destroy the ants, so I grabbed an aerosol can of Febreze. It worked better than expected, freshening the air as it annihilated the army of small insects.

I've heard that ants won't cross a chalk line, so after cleaning up, my next step was to draw a chalk line around the door. Then I watched as an ant walked right over it. So much for that strategy.

More ants were still arriving from under the door. I knew that I needed to tackle the source of the infestation: the garage.

Armed with my can of Febreze, I tentatively opened the door, flipped on the light, and entered the garage. It quickly became clear what I was up against. I followed the line of marching ants from the bottom of the door jamb, along the door frame, up to the ceiling and over to a hole at the top of the garage door. There were literally thousands of ants in the rapidly moving line preparing to enter my home, with who knows how many more outside.

My brother swears that once he was lying on the ground and when he got up he saw a line of ants on the ground in the shape of his body. He is convinced that they were planning to pick him up and cart him off.

That might seem a bit far-fetched, but he does have a point: ants are a force to be reckoned with. They work together in single-minded precision, and there are WAY more of them than there are of us.

For now the Febreze seems to have done the trick. By the time I got up on Sunday, most of the surviving ants had retreated, with only a couple of bewildered soldiers wandering in confusion on the outer door frame.

I did buy some ant spray, which I used on the perimeter of the door and along the garage wall. Then I put the can up high in the laundry room cabinet.

Ants don't give up easily. They'll regroup, and they'll return.

Next time, I'll be ready.


Greta said...

Give cinnamon a try! We successfully repelled an invasion with cinnamon...but this may be more successful with the larger ants. My mom tried it with the really little ones, and it didn't seem to work as well. Similar to the chalk idea, they really won't cross it (so you have to make sure you really block every possible way, or they'll find a way around.)And the bonus is (if you get tired of the febreezy freshness) the cinnamon will give an alternate "fresh baked desert" scent to your home!

Meaghan said...

Whatever you do, DON'T try those little motel/hotel/they-walk-in-but-they-don't-walk-out thingies. When I was in college, living with a bunch of other theater majors in a big house--in the typical squalor you associate with large groups cohabitating undergrads--we had a few ants in our kitchen. Someone set up one of those things and when we came home later that night, I turned on the kitchen light and was greeted by a single, undulating mass of thousands--maybe millions!--of ants on the countertop. The site was so absolutely vomit-worthy it could have come straight out of a bad B movie.

Maureen said...

Your brother is hilarious!!!

I always thought that Windex or Comet were supposed to work. I tried the Windex approach when I was teaching, as my class had become infested. It seemed to work, unless someone else had come in there later in the day and sprayed. Nonetheless, the ants were gone the next morning.