Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flooding Ants and Ant Killer Recipe

This storm that passed through filled my pool.  It's near the point where it would overflow if we had just one afternoon thunderstorm more.  It also dropped some palm leaves in there, not fronds, just leaves.

Not a big deal.   Nothing like New Orleans is getting. Hurricane Isaac is partying in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana and not moving on.  Dumping a load of rain on that part of the world and not moving means they're going to be flooded with or without that levee breach.

Now I'm waiting for the waves of insects.  South Florida has clouds of gnats, mosquitoes that would carry off a small child, and whole yards full of Dragonflies that come and go while gliding on the breezes eating anything that is remotely bug like.

We like Dragonflies.   The aerial acrobatics on the front yard are something that always gives you a few moments of pause.

They all come in waves in order.  It's quite predictable.

All that rising water that is flushing out to sea through the canals disturbed the ants.  There are red ants, black ants, ants that like grease and ants that like fat.  My favorite are the ants that like sugar.

They also like me.

Yesterday as the last of the few lingering thunderstorms left, I walked into the kitchen bleary eyed to feed my dog.  As I got to the Kitchen Sink they were everywhere.

Little black ants scurrying madly.   We'd had an outbreak of ants.

Living here, you make adjustments.  Never leave food out.  Clean up ALL of the crumbs.  Seal your jars completely.   You develop a first name relationship with the pest control company guys.  You know that you need to remind them that they have to "Send the little guy this time to inspect the attic" because it's a tight fit.

You also bomb the yard a couple times a year.

It sets up a wall of death around your house that you have to remember not to let the pets cross until completely dry.  That "Cordon Sanitaire" was why I was surprised to see the little black ants.
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My kitchen had turned into one of those Discovery Channel documentaries.   Instead of carrying green slivers of leaf and making bridges across the old dishes, I had trails of ants.


They started near the kitchen sink.  The trail wrapped itself behind the coffee machine, up the window to the soffits, around the breakfast table to the ceiling.   From the ceiling they worked their way to the back of the kitchen, past the refrigerator and the oven to the pantry where all my baking supplies were.

Crossing the Kitchen Desert for a bit of Dessert are we?

After Mr. Expert had said for the umpteenth time that the old standby wouldn't work, I tried it.  Terro.  It really should be the FIRST thing I try.

Terro is a simple thing, sugar water with borax.  Borax is not exactly easy to find, but seek and ye shall find.   It's used in cleaning and is one of those chemicals that is safe for use in normal quantities but it can make you sick in large quantities.  So don't let your pets at this, and if there's kids around don't let them near it either.  Try the cleaning aisle in the larger supermarkets or your old school hardware store.

Basically it's simple syrup.  You put a drop or three of it down on cardboard near the ant trail and the ants will find it, drink it, and bring it back to the queen.  After a few days, you have a dead colony.  Fascinating to watch as they ring the drop of clear fluid and drink like animals at a watering hole.   Watering hole of death that is.

The recipe is simple, in a saucepan add:

1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 tablespoon of Borax

Bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Allow to cool. 

You may be able to get away with just adding the ingredients to an old jar, shaking it up to mix, and microwaving it if you are squeamish about using Borax in your good saucepan.

Leave out for the ants.  They'll find it and die.

Keep out of reach of children and pets, as Borax isn't completely safe.  Just like any pesticide, it is "Safe-ish".

We'll be making this up and leaving it out back.  I don't care for the little visitors.

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