It started quite innocently enough, one or two ants by the doorway. I didn’t worry. After all, I live on Staten Island, insects are part of the scenery and after six years I’ve learned to deal with them. Their end came quickly with one spritz of ammonia and a damp paper towel. I thought they might have been two rogue ants hopping a ride on a shopping bag or got lost and wandered in for the night.
The next day, however, there were more, several dozen more in fact. This time they were marching two by two across the kitchen floor from the island to the dishwasher. Again out came the ammonia bottle and this time, everything came off the floor, the cat food, the garbage can and the case of water. They were efficiently eradicated and all sources of temptation were taken away, or so I thought. But as the day wore on, more and more of the pesky critters appeared.
Not knowing how to get rid of them, I called my sister-in-law, who works for an exterminator. I told her what I had done so far and asked what else I should do. She said, “Get Raid.”
So off I went to the store and bought a can of ant spray. This one was called Hot Shot and was water soluble. (Raid is oil-based and I worried about the cats.) I came home, lifted stuff off of the floor, deposited the cats in a room (they were not thrilled) and began spraying. I covered every conceivable crevice, sprayed under the pail, sprayed behind the fridge, the oven and the dishwasher – I even sprayed both doorways and the stairs to the basement. If there were any nests anywhere in the house, I was sure that I had reached them.
Waiting for the ant poison to dry, I decided to look up the insidious mini-buggers -- I Googled “ant” – and hundreds of websites popped up. I chose one that not only identified the ant (have you any idea of how many varieties there are?) but told how to get rid of them to boot.
After a complete search of the site, I discovered that what we had infesting our house was an Odorous House Ant. The site also listed Carpenter ants, Pyramid ants, Argentine ants, Cheese ants, White Footed ants and Thatching ants, to name a few. There are also fire ants (they attack), winged ants and, of course, the ever-present termite ants.
Back to the house ant. When the hunters leave the nest they leave a scent trail so that they can not only find their way back, but other ants that come after them can find their way to the food too.
All went well for two days. Not an Odorous House Ant about. Then it happened. As I was about to leave for work this morning, I reached down to get my shoes and there in a tiny puddle were about 10 ants. They had found their way to a minuscule piece of sesame seed that had eluded my broom. The tiny crawlers were busy hefting it upon their shoulders to bring it back to their nest.
Out came the spray bottle of ammonia. I swiped them up with a paper towel and deposited them in the trash. Then I washed the entire area with soap to erase the scent trail, crossed my fingers and left the house. However, there were one or two that managed to escape the spray and disappeared into the molding.
I think that these ants, aside from their industry and great GPS system, also have an attitude. Not for nothing, but I’m almost positive that the two that managed to escape flipped me their antenna before they ‘Houdinied’ into the wall.
E-mail “Not for Nuthin’” at JoannaD@co