For some weeks now, our house has been a refuge for some scurrying ants, who have been sending out advance storm troopers to see if the landscape is safe to send in the columns.
So far we have not been able to get rid of them. We do not know where they come from or where they transport their enormous loads of food to. Not just the usual crumbs from the kitchen, but one evening, we witnessed one amazing Samson of an ant carrying off one of Oreo’s (our cat) food pellets on his back. The pellet must have been at least five or six times his weight!
At first, I did not bother about them too much. I bought some organic ant killer powder at the local hardware store and sprinkled it along the baseboards where I had seen the little black bugs scurrying about their business. My daughter, however, was aghast. Horrible, black bugs crawling around the house! She urged me to buy a stronger killer, despite the toxic risk to us and the family cat, after having watched one or two of our fearless invaders tramping unharmed across the greenish powder that now coated most of our gleaming hardwood floors. She not only has a bug phobia for all types of creepy crawlees, but sees ants as a dirty infection, like cockroaches, to be eliminated forthwith!
So far, we have resisted, saying that we will continue to seek a different way of eliminating the invaders, without introducing yet more carcinogens into our house. That decision is based on the fact that they have not yet become a marching army getting into the food areas and that it makes more sense to find their nest (where they are coming from and where they take their booty back to) and destroy that with the queen and all the eggs. Having lived in places where columns of scurrying ants, some very large indeed – and red – were a normal everyday sight, we were still of the view that it was not yet a flat out invasion. We also thought we should try to calm our daughter’s phobia of these valiant little insects. Yes, valiant. For in the course of this ant busting escapade, I have become quite impressd by these little soldiers. They appear to be quite smart, in that they always see or sense a person looming and take immediate refuge. The not so lucky ones that we were able to squash, we piled up into a little funeral pyre just in front of the fireplace. Lo and behold, after an elapsed time, their comrades would emerge from under the grate, take down their dead from the pile and carry them back, sometimes bearing two at a time, underneath the fireplace. They did this every time. Using this technique was my husband’s brilliant suggestion for discovering the location of their nest. Just watch where they go.
We have now identified that as a particular spot outside, underground and against the wall of the house. A crack in the chimney allows them to enter from the garden through the gas fireplace.