Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All's chaotic on the western front

Question: What is worst than finding a sugar ant* crawling on your kitchen counter? Answer: Finding two hundred and seventy six ants crawling all over your kitchen. Aside from running the Unfarm on my own for the last four days while my parents are staying in an amazing vacation home on lake Coeur D'Alene in Idaho, I have had the added complication of sugar ants. On Thursday they were in the kitchen, coming in through the sliding door on the back deck, as near as I can tell, so on Friday I bought the most eco and animal friendly ant spray I could find and sprayed around the door and along the trail of ants marching along the length of the deck. Ant problem solved.

Saturday morning I woke up to discover ants swarming my desk (and water bottle - gross) in the bunny room. I sprayed them all with an eco cleaner (not wanting to use ant spray in the carpeted bunny room), followed by an orange oil wood polish which seems, for some reason, to keep the ants at bay. I also took a closer look at the suspected entry point - the deck - and discovered that the ants had also found the hummingbird feeder so I made the decision to take it down for the time being - a decision the hummingbird did not appreciate when he came looking for a meal a few minutes later. Penny happened to be on the deck when I was taking the feeder down and she took the opportunity, while I had my back turned, to attack me. She puffs up her neck feathers and somehow manages to jump in the air while simultaneously scratching and pecking me. I don't know what has gotten into her lately, but she would not leave me alone and I finally had to chase her off with a broom in order to get into the house again. Once free of the attack chicken I sprayed every new ant trail I could find and around the kitchen and bunny room window. I went to bed reveling in the knowledge that I was finally free from the ants.

Sunday morning, after doing all of the various morning pet chores - feed the dogs, let the chickens and ducks out and feed them breakfast, give the Kita his medicine - I discovered... wait for it... ants. This time they were all over the cupboard under the sink which necessitated the removal and cleaning of everything the ants touched or might have touched. I am about ready to throw in the towel and just move. I gave serious thought to the option of going to a hotel for the next couple of days but decided to stay put when I realized there probably isn't a hotel in existence that would let me move in with three dogs, two cats, two diaper-wearing ducks and four rabbits. So much for that idea.

Monday was pretty much the same: find ants, scream and yell and swear at ants, kill ants and then clean ants. I have everything cleared off of the kitchen counters and put away in drawers or cupboards, partly to keep them safe and partly to make spraying and cleaning the counters easier, but having everything put away is bound to set Mom off when she gets home as she tends to rule the kitchen with an iron fist and is extremely particular about how things are done in there. But honestly, at this point, I couldn't care less. They've been enjoying lakefront views while the only thing I've seen has been ants. If the ants are still here by the end of this week I may very well pack up and live out of my tent until I get the all clear. Let Mom and Dad deal with them for a change.

*Author's note: They may not actually be sugar ants. All I know is that they are small, black, attracted to the hummingbird syrup, and - judging from the amount I've discovered and killed - they must have an incredible reproduction rate to be able to continue to invade in such vast numbers.

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