Another Ant Invasion

The summer we moved into our house, 2011, we had serious problems with an ant invasion. We brought it under control with Terro, and have only had a few minor problems with ants since then.

This year has been another matter: Two weeks ago we had an incursion in the kitchen, along the base of the cabinets. Fortunately we seem to have pretty dumb ants around here: They were just wandering back and forth, ignoring the trash, the dishwasher (under which they were coming in), and only wandering kind of close to the cat food. We put the cat food and water in trays surrounded by water, deployed the Terro, and in about three days they were gone.

Late last week, though, Debbi noticed a few ants on the kitchen counter, between the stove and the sink. A few of them made it into the sink, but there weren’t very many. Indeed, there were so few that it took us a couple of days of watching to see that they were coming down from behind the mounted cabinets. Again, dumb ants: Not going into the cabinets (you know, where the food is), and also ignoring the toaster oven and the stove. We deployed the Terro after moving everything off the counter, and holy cow have there been a lot of ants over there this weekend! Annoying the disgusting, but they sure did find the Terro quickly.

The problem is that by the time we see more than one or two stray ants inside, it usually means there’s a nest established fairly close, so Terro takes two or three days to get rid of them (i.e., for them to take enough of it back to kill the queen and the rest of the nest).

I wonder whether California’s drought is causing the ants to range places they usually don’t in search of water or food. We do have a lawn which we water, but I cut back the watering by over a third due to the drought, so maybe that makes a difference. Or maybe it’s a fluke.

A friend of mine suggested using fipronil around the base of the house to keep them away. “Good for a year”, he says. So maybe I’ll try that. If the Wikipedia entry is correct, it’s fairly safe. On the other hand, it does seem to be dangerous to bees, of which we have a number who forage in our yard. So I’ll have to think about it.

Anyway, we shouldn’t complain too much as a serious incursion every three years doesn’t seem too bad, and we are able to deal with it. But it’s still pretty annoying and somewhat disruptive.

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