It’s common knowledge that I don’t love bugs. Spiders, moths, wasps, gnats, whatever you want to call the specific insect, I’m gonna say NOPE. I also know that it’s impossible to survive without them, and that they play a key role in pretty much every habitat. Yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah… I still don’t like them. I’ve tried just about all “remedies” to eliminate the pesty things humanely from my surroundings, but I’m not gonna lie. I’m ready to kill them with fire right about now. Lucky for them, my husband won’t allow that.
I was laying in bed the other night reading a wonderfully terrible post-apocalyptic romance book (oh my goodness, they are so addictive), and an ANT CRAWLS ACROSS MY TABLET SCREEN. Guys. There was an ant in my bed. I flipped on the light and saw them. A tight, evenly spaced, line of soldiers marching into battle.
Instantly, I sprung up and started doing that one dance. You know the one. It involves a lot of garbled yelling, high knees, and flailing about while you know for certain that there are hundreds of them in your hair. I felt so dirty.
I noticed a few in the house earlier that afternoon, but I figured that it was a byproduct of the beautiful day we had. Our doors were open, and my kids were in and out, along with dogs, cats, and a few goats. But bugs in my bed? That’s a problem. The next morning confirmed it. We had a full blown infestation.
Why must they always find their way into my dang house? Ugh. I know I’m not alone here. I KNOW you all out there are struggling or have at least once gone up against a colony. Did you win? I feel like for every step forward on my end, they have marched my direction with 123476 more of their soldiers. Come on guys (actually, the ants that we SEE are typically the females, as males have the sole duty to mate with the Queen and then die), I’m all for symbiosis, but I’d be much happier if I didn’t see you in or around my house. I know, it’s asking a lot, but a girl can dream, right?
Here is a list of what I’ve tried and/or have had suggested:
- Peppermint Essential Oil -this one smells the best, by far, and the ants roll over dead instantly when they contact it. BUT it doesn’t deter others from following their trail, so does it work? yeah, but only for clearing the ants that you see right in front of you. Someone once said that you can put it on a cotton ball and leave it in the corners of your house and it’ll keep the creepy crawlies away. Is this true? I don’t know, but my house smells fantastic, so I’m gonna call this a win.
- Cinnamon -sprinkle where you *think* they are entering.. be careful, this stuff stains, and when your toddler licks it, be prepared for tears. It smells WAY better than it tastes.
- Baby Powder – same as the cinnamon, without the staining and licking. I couldn’t bring myself to do this option because of a ghost story I heard when I was little. I didn’t want to wake up to find tiny footprints of the little orphans in the powder. That, and it smells like a baby’s butt.
- Vasoline -I guess you’re supposed to rub it where you think they are entering, but I’ll be honest, I really didn’t want to spend the next few years trying to wipe up the residue. I’ll deal with the ants, thankyouverymuch.
- Vinegar– this is used for removing their smelly pheromone trail, it won’t rid your home OF the ants, but it’ll confuse them when they come back. Basically, you just spray wherever you see them. You can also use a rag and wipe it, but, personally, I love the smell of vinegar, so I’m just gonna spray all my baseboards, and then listen to my husband complain about the house smelling like a pickle.
- Soap and Water– same reason and method as the vinegar, but for people who are nicer than me. I’m sticking to the vinegar for OBVIOUS reasons.
- Diatomaceous Earth– this is a strange one. It’s made from the crushed up fossilized skeletal remains of diatoms (ocean things… think: Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants). Again, you sprinkle it around. This option is very effective, and completely safe around pets and kids. Though, I wouldn’t suggest letting anyone lick this either.
- Various Borax Mixtures – did YOU know that borax was good for more than making strange slime and funky crystals? huh. Kidding, I actually loveBorax, I use it in my homemade laundry detergent, so I’ve almost always got some on hand. For ants, you mix it in with something sweet… powdered sugar, peanut butter, honey, pretty much anything that attracts the ants in the first place. Dilute it down with water, and place it in bottle caps/small dishes in their path. Borax isn’t safe for kids or animals, so don’t let them get to it. I’ve heard that you can to the cotton ball trick with this potion as well.
All of these are worth a shot if you are looking for a quick fix using what you have at home. If you’re like me, you’ll try one or two of these and then call your husband in tears and demand that he bring home the poison or else you’ll burn the house down. I might be a bit impatient.
Seriously though, I wish I could lead a more natural and less chemically dependent life, but when it comes to six and eight legged house guests, I need them gone. Yesterday. Let me put this differently…
When your mother-in-law is coming to visit, do you:
A. Pick up the dirty laundry and damp towels from the bathroom, and call it “clean.”
B. Scrub all the toothpaste off the faucet, wipe the dirty mirrors and yell at the eldest male in the house until he cleans the urine splatter off the back of the toilet?
B is the only correct answer here, unless your MIL is blind, or lives with you. Ridding your home of the ants that you see is simple surface cleaning. If you want them gone you HAVE to target the colony. And that means bringing heavy artillery to the battle. Sorry people, but you’ve got to give them a final eviction notice and go buy some “ant traps.”
The ants are attracted to whatever they make it with, and then take it back it home in a doggy bag. BAM. Done. Go to the store, ask a clerk, buy the stuff, and then live happily ever after. You can thank me later. Oh, and get some Peppermint Essential Oil, because.
Here are some Ant FACTS:
- can carry 20+ times their weight
- lived among the dinosaurs 150 million years ago AND survived
- average life span is 3 years, but a Queen can live for 30 years
- more than 12,000 species of ants
- when they fight, they fight to the death
- leave a pheromone trail when scouting for food and to ward others from danger
- when Mom or Dad say no, just ask your Aunt… secretly.