Tag Archives: ants

The Bane of My Existence

25 Sep

Ants!  I hate ants! I feel about ants the way The Squire feels about spiders!

Every time it rains, we get ants in our bathroom. Not just one or two, but great hoards of them, to the point that it looks as if somebody spilled coffee grounds on the counter.  We had a cold snap this week (When it’s been in the upper 80s and low 90s, 62 is a cold snap.) and it’s raining to boot, so they are everywhere. One the counter, in the sink, on the floor, on the toilet seat, for the love of Mike!

These are supposed to be wild critters, at home in the woods and wilderness. There’s no  place to get dry and warm in the wild.  Just be brave out there and buck up. But noooo!

We obviously have the wimpiest ants in the state.

 

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They’re Baaack!

2 Aug

I came downstairs this morning to find the hand vac on the kitchen counter, and The Squire no place in sight.

As it turned out, he had left for a doctor’s appointment, and we have ants – again. I had wanted to go with him for this procedure, but he said when he tried to wake me I didn’t respond, so he just let me sleep. Believe me, if Judgement Day comes and I’m asleep, I may miss it, so I don’t doubt him.

We haven’t had a problem with ants for several years, as we had hired an exterminator who had come around three or four times a year to spray outside and put out bait for the mice indoors, but dropped it because of the expense. When we finished eating on Sunday I had neglected to put away a sticky bun , and the ants were, to quote The Squire, trying their best to carry it off by themselves this morning, hence the hand vacuum.

I went after them myself for a while and figured out that they were coming down from the kitchen ceiling. I found the bottle of Terro* and put a dab on a bit of cardboard and lifted one of the ceiling tile to place the bait within easy reach of the critters. I couldn’t get the tile to settle back into its proper place, so I figured I’d just suck it back down with the vacuum. What I did do was pull all of the plastic off the fiberglass tile, and had to glue the blasted stuff back together. The tile is back in place, but it is still a bit kitty-wumpus, and that’s the way it’s going to stay, thank you very much.

  • Should you ever be invaded by ants, Terro is the only bait to use. The exterminator told us it is the strongest product you can buy without a license. It’s a clear liquid, which you drop onto a small piece of cardboard – a bit of cereal box is fine – and put as close to the entry point as you can. You may wonder what on earth I’ve gotten you into, as there will be ants such as you never imagined, and then two or three days later – poof! – they are gone. They have carried the poison back to the nest, and that takes care of that.

Indigo Buntings and Outwitting Ants

23 May

This handsome fellow has been hanging around our feeder for several days, but it has taken us a few tries to get a decent shot. This is a male indigo bunting – the female is all brown and could easily be mistaken for a wren, except that the tail is straight, not upright. She’s probably been around, but we haven’t noticed.

indigo bunting 2People (scientists) keep saying animals are color-blind, but that doesn’t explain why the females are always much more drab and often invisible.

hummingbird feeder  If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know we have been plagued by ants inside the house. Anybody who feeds hummingbirds has probably watched in frustration while the bloody buggers climb up the post and drink the nectar you put out for the hummingbirds. Well, I think I have it solved.

I found a spray can top with an “inner circle” and punched a hole in the center, and strung a wire loop through the hole, long enough to reach beyond the top of the plastic lid. I filled the outer ring with water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Not much, just a drop or two. When the ants crawl up the pole and down the wire loop, they cannot get past the water barrier. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, and the ants drown. Be careful that the rim of the lid doesn’t touch the wire at any spot, or the ants will bypass your little trap. Some hot glue, blue tack, or even used chewing gum placed either inside or outside the cup will help keep it upright.

And there you are. An ant-proof hummingbird feeder.

The Birds and The Bugs

11 Apr

We saw our first goldfinch yesterday, so I stopped while I was off to the doctor and bought a finch feeder. I had originally planned on hanging a “sock” inside the globe and buying a new feeder for the big birds, but none of the stores carried anything even remotely like what I wanted, so I just got a finch tube and hung it from the same tower as the other feeder.  So far, only the goldfinches have eaten the Niger seed.  The purple finches seem content to eat “regular” birdseed, and oddly enough the squirrels are not the least bit interested, which suits me down to the ground. We have also had a redheaded woodpecker eating at our feeder the last two days. I will probably get some mealworms and toss them into the pot.

I swear, we spend more on animal food around here than we do on people food!

Speaking of “down to the ground”, this morning a squirrel was sitting on the tower, pushing the globe feeder back and forth, spewing seeds everywhere. Three of his buddies were sitting in the grass, scurrying around to eat what he had tossed to them.  Little stinkers.

Now, I am looking for a place to hang the hummingbird feeder. Last year the ants cleaned me out, but I have purchased a funny little up-side down cup sort of thing that goes between the feeder and the hanger. The inside of the cup is well laced with ant poison (Terro). In theory, the ants crawl down the outside of the cup and then up the inside, and before they can get to the feeder they are trapped.

I hope.

Ants! This morning, The Squire went into the bathroom and found the inside and the outside of the bathtub crawling with ants. We always get more in the bathroom than any other place, and while I’m glad I don’t have them swimming in my tea kettle, it just mystifies me. What’s in Bon Ami that they find so appealing?

And of course, there are stink bugs to contend with. We pull down the shades to go to bed at night, and out tumble two or three. I was sitting in the living room reading and one crawled up my leg. Every window sill has its own collection. They are not dirty, like roaches, and they don’t sting or make a mess, and Heaven knows I’d rather have them than ants, and even though everybody has them, it is disconcerting when you have company for dinner and one flies across the table. I even plucked one off the rector’s alb during communion one Sunday. What’s the etiquette on that?

One Week, Four Seasons

25 Mar

The tulips and daffodils are poking their little green heads above the ground. Saturday is was warm enough that I was able to go to my meeting with just a light shawl over my shoulders. It cooled off a bit Sunday and yesterday, but it is snowing at the moment. Old Man Winter is back for one last fling, but like most old men, this “fling” shouldn’t amount to much, as it is supposed to be near 50 tomorrow, and in the 60s by Sunday. We also have a number of trees here that don’t drop their leaves until the old ones are pushed off the stem by new, green growth, so I suppose you could say we are even having Fall.

March seems to have come in like a lion, and is going out the same way.

Oh! It is snowing, and we have ants – again.

I Had One, But the Wheels Fell Off

20 Mar

Back when I was wandering in the desert between Blogger and WordPress, it became painfully apparent (especially to the wallet) that the Squire’s 1998 Grand Caravan was about to bite the dust.  He has some physical problems which make it necessary for the car he drives to “fit” him properly. He can zip over to church in my Nissan, but any trip of more than a half an hour – either as a driver or passenger – becomes quite painful.

He spent a good deal of time comparing Consumer Report listings with local car lots, and finally decided on a 2009 Kia Sportage. Yesterday – Monday – he drove up to trade in the old car and pick up the “new” one. I got two phone calls, back to back. One from him, saying the new car needed to be detailed, and one from the fellow who tunes up the church’s organ, saying he was at church, where the Squire was to have met him. Oops!

I grabbed the church keys and dashed off. As I opened the doors, we discovered that someone had set off about a dozen bug bombs in the sanctuary to kill the stink bugs! The place simply reeked, and we had to leave even more quickly than we arrived.  The Squire was furious. He is the Junior Warden at our church (the head of the Property Committee, to you non-Episcopalians) and this had been done without checking with him. It wasn’t simply a matter of not asking permission, which was really only a courtesy, but that 1) trying to re-schedule having the organ tuned this close to Easter is a nuisance to both us and the repairman. 2) We have a contract with an exterminator who says most pesticides do not work on stink bugs, and 3) the chemicals are toxic to people with immune system problems.; we have three people in the congregation undergoing chemo at the moment. Stink bugs are a nusiance, but they don’t bite or sting the way bedbugs do, they don’t chew on the scenery like carpenter ants, and they aren’t filthy, like roaches. Just pick them up and drop them in the trash. Big deal.  Got all that straight, collected him, and came back home, and this morning we got up at some unearthly hour to pick up the car, and then I had an errand to run, while the Squire went to Panera to pick up bread for the local soup kitchen.

When he got home, he simply reeked of cigarette smoke. Turned out the car had been owned by a smoker, and even though the dealer had ionized it – twice – the odor was still seeping out of the upholstery. I took it back to the dealer while the Squire was supervising the cleaning of the church, and on the way up the road, the Check Engine light came on.

This company is locally famous for making good on any repair work, and also a no-questions-asked return policy. They are going to do the interior one more time and fix the engine, but even with a loner car, this is all a major pain.

And we still have ants.