We have not (yet) been overwhelmed by a massive wave of caterpillar eating machines. So far, the tree spraying and endless rain have held them back, though they seem to be doing damage elsewhere. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Life marches on. This year, it’s ants.

They arrive in May and by June they are getting aggressive. This year’s bunch are more tenacious than usual. As long as I can remember, the ants make a determined attempt to set up their new world order in our house. They did the same in other houses in which we have lived in New England.

Ants arrive with the spring. No matter how I rant and rail about it, they show up anyway.

I spray the hell out of everything. I wash everywhere. Clean under, over, around and through the kitchen and living room. Floors, cabinets. Under, over, and around the knife block and the small oven. Behind the cutting boards.

We threw out the old wooden bread box. Garry said he thought the ants were setting up shop in it. It’s old. I bought it at a yard sale 15 years ago. It’s an old-fashioned wooden slatted breadbox. I’m a sucker for old wooden kitchen stuff. But I think that old bread box has passed its prime.

Now it’s out on the deck, soon to make its move to the trash and I have ordered the largest, best-designed breadbox I could find.

This should, in theory, hold two loaves of bread or one loaf and plus English muffins. Not quite the $2 yard sale choice of last time, but presumably easier to clean and more spacious. I hope so. We went with the flat top so we could put stuff up there. Like the big containers of spice for which I’m running out of room.

I used steel-wool to polish the drains in the sink. I cleaned between the cabinet and the fridge,. then I washed, vacuumed, washed again every surface I could find. After which, I sprayed more ant killer. This is supposed to be safe for humans and dogs. It better be or we are all doomed.

Now, the builders have arrived. I’m trying to not listen to the conversation. It might make me want to get involved, which would not be a good idea. They are professionals and I am not. No matter what they are doing, my interference would be unlikely to improve the situation — neither mine nor theirs.

I do not yet know if the result of all of this energetic cleaning and washing and spraying and scrubbing will be the final end of the ants, but it certainly can’t hurt, right? And inevitably, they disappear all by themselves in a week or two. I think they show up entirely to force me to to all that extra cleaning I typically avoid. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide if I deserve new grids for the bottom of the sink and maybe a new set of shakers for spices.

It’s a housewifely thing, that cozy sense of relief I feel when I’ve done the work on a long deferred — but necessary — task. I’m not sure Garry gets that same feeling from it, but it always gives me a warm feeling that my house-keeping skills are still with me.

But now — I’m also ready for a nice, long, nap. The day feels as if it’s over … yet it’s barely lunch time!

25 thoughts on “ANT RELIEF

  1. jcalberta June 19, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    I’ve had problems with bugs in some places I’ve lived, but never ants. Some of the stuff that used to control those critters is now banned. So many things are getting banned that we may have to resort to using sticks. (Are flyswatters still allowed?) There’s a whole legion of faceless people wearing white lab coats operating in massive laboratories with nothing to prove their existence is justified except by banning things. It seems. The most popular stuff where I work (Home Depot) is ANT OUT powder. I think it’s safe for dogs?
    I expect a full report.


    • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 3:18 pm

      I use non lethal stuff because I don’t want to poison ME or my dogs either. Or kill the birds. Just the damned ants. Usually, I can get rid of them, but it has been such a wet spring, they’ve really multiplied.


      • jcalberta June 19, 2017 / 6:59 pm

        I saw a news report that insects like those caterpillars you have trouble with are epidemic across North America.


        • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 8:26 pm

          Yes, they are. And moving fast into Canada and Mexico. After that? The world belongs to them.


  2. judyt54 June 19, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    we get ants on a regular basis, particularly when we’ve had a wet spring and if this was any indication, they will be building an addition on to the kitchen. They head for higher ground, and that’s apparently my kitchen. And the computer upstairs and the bedroom floor…the cats seem to enjoy the thrill of new play toys, but I can do without it.
    I put down ant cups, faithfully, and eventually they go away. Usually by November.


    • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      I can’t use the traps. The dogs think they are delicious. So it’s the spray. AND more spray. I don’t even know where they are. They are mostly in the kitchen and they may be under the cupboards. The one thing I can’t move out of the way!


  3. Sarah Angleton June 19, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    I’ve been there. The inside bugs have fortunately not been too bad this year. But the Japanese beetles descended last week and are driving me crazy. They are decimating the trees and the garden. Really, it’s all out war.


  4. swo8 June 19, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Sounds like a big population boom in the bug world. Must be all that rain.


  5. angloswiss June 19, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    My experience with ants: find out where the nest is with Queen ant who is a mega birth machine. Sprinkle baking powder all over it, she will die. If you still see ants empty a bottle of fizzy mineral water over the nest. that removes any oxygen supply and they all suffocate. The main thing is to get the queen ant, the others are just extras.


    • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 3:14 pm

      I’ve been trying to find where she is hiding. I THINK I got her the other day. She was big and had wings and seemed to have been driven out by my mega ant spray. I hope so. I don’t know where else to look.


  6. Gordon C. Stewart June 19, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    Dang! i misread the title. I thought it said “Aunt Relief”, something like the relief I had when my wife’s Aunt Jean left my life after the divorce. I scrubbed the house clean…and moved out! Oh, what a relief!


  7. Patience June 19, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    We get those big, black carpenter ants the size of small busses. Damn, those things are huge! I have a beautiful climbing vine on my front porch that they love to use as a ladder to my roof. Ha! Ah well, that’s how the story goes I suppose.


    • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 3:13 pm

      Be careful. Those guys can eat your house! We had carpenter bees at one point and they ate the beams supporting a porch — which collapsed into the neighbor’s yard!


      • Patience June 19, 2017 / 4:33 pm

        Yep, I know, we get sprayed regularly to help control them. It’s one of the few expenses we haven’t cut back on (yet).


  8. loisajay June 19, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    The ants might just come to check out your house. “Hey, look! They cleaned it for us. Let’s stay here.”


    • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Do NOT say that. I’m already so paranoid about bugs in general and ants, caterpillars, and spiders in specific, I’ll just get MORE paranoid. I think I just bruised myself beating off a spider. Garry say I should whack at it with a wood stick. He is probably right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • loisajay June 19, 2017 / 9:18 pm

        I know, I know. So sorry, Marilyn! I don’t just kill the bugs–I pulverize them. My husband looks and says, “I think you got it.” You cannot be too sure…..


        • Marilyn Armstrong June 19, 2017 / 10:05 pm

          That’s exactly how I felt. I had a stick in my hand and there was the spider, so I kept hitting it until it was mush. It was on my thigh, but better safe than sorry.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. draliman June 20, 2017 / 3:09 am

    I like how sometimes you see one ant in the kitchen and you leave him alone thinking “it’s just one ant” not realising he’s a scout and then the next morning there’s millions of them milling around 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rohvannyn June 22, 2017 / 1:03 am

    I wrote an article a while back about my war against the ants. Cinnamon powder repels many species and doesn’t hurt dogs, cats or people. Also diatomaceous earth in the yard around your perimeters are good. I put my ant baits under cabinets and places my cats won’t go. Some people also use borax mixed with sugar. But then you have to worry if they are grease eating ants!


    • Marilyn Armstrong June 22, 2017 / 1:14 am

      I’m currently using baking soda and a variety of non-lethal sprays. The baking soda works REALLY well, at least until the next rain. The spray work less well. Borax and sugar sounds like a good poisonous mix. We’ve got wood rot at the moment so all I can do until it’s repaired is hold them back. They won’t leave until the rot is fixed.

      Liked by 1 person

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