May 2nd, 2007 by Potato

One of the things I really loved about the apartment was that there were no bugs. Okay, next to no bugs, since there were the tiny, slow crawly ones near the cat food, and in the summer the little tiny flying ones that liked to die in the lamps, but never as many bugs as in a house.

Now that we’re coming into the first spring of the new house, we’re dealing with a lot of bugs. In the basement, of course, are potato bugs. Dead ones for the most part… it seems to be some sort of holy resting place for them. They just come out of the cracks and die in the middle of the floor. Or, they could be chased out of the cracks by something altogether more sinister that we haven’t seen yet, but I don’t like to think about that possibility. Either way, I don’t really mind potato bugs. They’re slow, they tend to stick to the less-travelled parts of the basement, they’re easy to spot, and they don’t appear to have any kind of propensity to actually climb up or touch an unsuspecting human.

Earwigs, I hate. I hate earwigs as much as the hated undead. I strongly suspect that earwigs are in league with the undead, should it come to that sort of conspiracy. Fortunately, I haven’t seen any earwigs yet, and hope I never have to again.

We do, however, have an ant problem. I also dislike ants, for many of the same reasons I dislike earwigs. They can be pretty quick and mobile when they want to be. They climb up walls and ceilings at least as often as they like to be on the floor. They hide in cracks and cupboard doors, pouncing on the human flesh that disturbed them, showing no hesitation to climb on — or given the opportunity, burrow into — a human. They appear in waves, and numbers beyond counting at times… then go into remission for a spell, but only ever long enough to lull you into complacency then attack again. But perhaps most of all, I hate ants because they’re big and black and when you just see a glimpse of them, they look like earwigs.

Anyhow, our ant problem began as soon as the weather turned warm. We had a few large black ants appear in the kitchen, and we immediately took steps to get rid of them. We bought this “perimeter defense” spray that repels and/or kills them as soon as they pass through a crack sprayed with the stuff, and deployed a few of the poison bait type ant traps. It seemed to work, because after about 10 days of ants showing up and scouting out the kitchen, they vanished. It also seemed that they were attracted to the empty coke cans I had stacked up by the sink, since each one appeared to have at least 3 ants inside, delighting in the concentrated syrup residue at the bottom. After getting into the habit of rinsing my cans right away, the problem seemed to get better immediately. We had nearly a week of peace there… but it could have been that they were simply frolicking outside in the pleasant weather, because today dozens of them were back. I don’t know what, exactly, drew them back inside. I had nothing stacked up beside the sink, no food was left out — the only thing inside the sink that they seemed interested in was my cereal bowl, which had a partial ring of sweetened milk on it (I had dumped the left over milk and gave it a quick rinse, but obviously didn’t get fresh water all the way around the rim). Yet today they went crazy, swarming around the one cupboard that’s never had food in it. We couldn’t quite understand it…

Understanding was not required. After slaughtering over 20 of them, the invasion receded, and I haven’t seen a single one since this morning. We’re debating at the moment what to do. If we search hard, we may be able to find all the crevaces they use for entry, and seal them with caulking, or poison them with the perimeter defense spray. The ant traps don’t seem to be working: these ants either don’t care or are too big for the small holes in it. We’ve never seen one go in or come out. Someone at work recommended getting poisoned sugar: basically the same stuff as in the “take it back to kill the queen” trap we have now, except sweeter, and in a form we can place anywhere, not confined to a trap (for example, we could put it inside an empty coke can…) With the exception of leaving very sweet things near the sink, cleanliness doesn’t appear to be a factor. Several times we’ve left crumbs near the stove (much to Wayfare’s chagrin… though I’m not the only one who leaves a trail of crumbs when cutting bread ;), but the ants never seem interested in breadcrumbs. Likewise, the cat has a bowl of food out constantly, and in fact she’s such a messy eater that chunks of her food are on the floor and up the wall around her food dish, and the ants don’t care (only those tiny bugs from the apartment seemed to like cat food — we’ve never had bugs bother with it in my parents’ place either).

Speaking of the cat, she’s been absolutely useless in our time of ant crisis. She was born on PEI, and there she used to hunt and eat flies. After coming back to Ontario with us though, she seems to have completely lost her killer instinct, and if we point out an ant to her, she runs up to look at our finger, totally ignoring the naturally wiggling cat toy. One time, I pointed out a group of ants to her, and said “eat the ants!” and she went up, sniffed them, then rolled in them to show me her pretty tummy.

Stupid cat.

One Response to “Ants!”

  1. Netbug Says:

    You need the Roughnecks.

    Bugs suck. I hate em. All of em. They’re scary monsters.

    My cat eats those house centipedes which creeps me out, esp when a leg falls out of his mouth and twitches.