@#$*(&! ants!!!

infestation-thumb.jpgThey come out when it rains. They come out when it doesn’t rain enough. They come marching in endless (albeit impressive) columns. They come in ones and twos and threes, in scouting missions (note to self: empty bathroom garbage often–really often).

I’m starting to think Los Angeles is built on one gigantic anthill.

Worse, ants are unbelievably resistant to the concept of boundaries. Take my hibiscus plant…please. No matter how many times I haul the thing inside to my kitchen sink and meticulously (but safely!) de-infest it with hot water and dish soap, within hours they and their symbiotic playmates, the aphids, are massing all over the buds on my poor little Charlie-Brown plant. That bud in the above pic is BRIGHT FREAKIN’ ORANGE, people! It is only black because it is lousy with ants.

I refuse to give in; I refuse to get chemical on their asses. Any tips from you Sunset Garden Book types? Anyone?

9 Replies to “@#$*(&! ants!!!”

  1. Among the non-pesticidal options I’ve heard about:

    There’s always that “miracle” Chinese ant chalk (I’ve found it in Chinatown, but sidewalk chalk at any toy or drug store is supposed to work too), but that’s only good until you get some brave ant that ventures across it and figures out it’s just freakin’ chalk and calls all his buds to come on over.

    I’ve heard that white pepper sprinkled around affected areas is a good ant repellent, but that could just be a myth.

    Petroleum jelly is supposedly toxic to ants, so if you can locate their entryway, encircle it with some Vaseline they should turn around and go home (or find another way in, dangit).

    Another option is to sprinkle cinnamon any place you don’t want ants. Apparently ants hate cinnamon.

  2. I concur with Will. I’ve heard about the chalk and cinnamon, too.

    When we first moved into our condo in September, we had ants. We got some traps from Home Depot that smell like peanut butter and worked pretty well. They attract the ants (ALL of them – it’s like something out of a horror movie), they eat the bait, take it back to their colony and probably feed it to the queen. Then they die. Thankfully our ants didn’t die inside our condo, but there’s probably a big ball of dead ants in our foundation. Eewww….

  3. Damn those ants! I’ve been through similar trevails Colleen. If you’re not averse to using just a tiny bit of anti-ant chemical like Raid, then you should be able to get rid of those little buggers. I’ve had many an ant problemo, and I always trace their caravan back to the enrty point before I harm a single antennae. Then I spray a liberal amount of the stuff there (sometimes they’re coming from multiple locations – the sneaky suckers). Then I proceed with the antocide. All traces of ant are wiped out and that usually takes care of them, at least until they find a new entry point. But I’ve found that most apartments/houses only have so many of those, so you should only have to repeat the process a couple of times. I knew nothing about the chalk or cinnamon. Interesting stuff people! (God help me, I have no life).

  4. There’s some sort of non-chemical spray that you can mix yourself. I know one of the two ingredients is lemon juice, but I can’t remember what the other ingredient is. I don’t think it kills ants, but the ants will stay away from whatever surfaces it is sprayed on.

  5. Los Angeles IS built on one big ant hill. Actually, California is built on one big ant hill. I believe the term is “supercolony”. Sometimes, I think about how the little line of ants I see actually stretches from Tijuana to Redding and the futility of fighting it at all becomes clear. Stupid Argentine ants.

  6. Ants are the devil, small but big on evil.

    Good thing we have the City of Fremont to rescue, they have a nice page on how to fight the never ending battle.

    http://www.ci.fremont.ca.us/EnvironmentOLD/PestControl/Ants.htm

    I recommend using salt like their site says (my mother always said it works, thank you fremont for validating my mother). Just put a liberal circle around the bottom of the pot, they wont cross it.

    My favorite from the fremont page is the last recommendation “Sprinkle plain old instant grits near ants. The ants eat them, and then go for water; which makes the grits expand inside them and they die.”. Pol Pot would look upon you proudly if you used that technique.

  7. Man-oh-man! Thanks for the tips, everyone. But also, the support. It’s so nice to know I’m not out there on the front lines all alone. *Sniff, sniff*…

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