Ants are fascinating… when you are not overrun by them. A few days ago, I saw a few of them in our entrance, and didn’t really pay much attention, but last night they finally found our larder in the kitchen. At 1 a.m., Jeff and I were still cleaning the kitchen and the entrance, and we had to throw away some food, but we managed to save some produces (my agape syrup and other honey jars are now in the fridge.)
Kato is of no help. I must say he’s disappointed me. I think he is such a deluxe cat that he is no longer able to “protect” his own food (the ants seem to like his wet food), or maybe he doesn’t care for the extra proteins. I’ve tried to show him the ants with my finger, with no result.
Jeff told me: “What did you expect? He is not a tapir!” He is neither a hunter, the little sound he hears very well from the other side of the house when Jeff opens a tuna metal can excites him more than the view of a mouse.
I don’t mind having a few unexpected guests, like spiders, I can easily see them out. After all we live in the countryside. But a colony of ants it’s different.
I’ve read many tricks to get rid of the ants on forums while using “natural” methods:
- Cleaning the paths with white vinegar: worked for a few hours, but they managed to get used to it or to find a new path.
- Coffee grounds: it seems to surprise them; the result is not conclusive, though.
- Basil leaves and mint leaves: not working at all. I might try teabags as suggested by Lafemmedelalune rather than fresh leaves.
- Lemon and lemon juice: we thought we had found the solution. At first, they seem disoriented enough to beat a retreat. Unfortunately, they’ve now made their comeback stronger than ever.
- I read chalk works: you have to draw lines around your house, and they cannot cross it. I couldn’t find any chalk at my little supermarket this morning. I might ask my aunt who is working in a high school to give some to me.
- I also read about wet salt, and flour on their tracks(and Dalai_Lala recommend grits): but it seems that it kills the whole colony. I don’t want to kill them, they are not pests. I’d like them to leave my house, and to find their own food in the nature. On that point, their similitude with humans is bluffing: they like process food, and prefer to “shop” rather than to seek out their own food.
- For more alternative solutions, I’m studying the website that Wildflower sent me: www.thefrugallife.com/a
So it has led me to use one of my last tricks. Please don’t laugh (DH already did, though.) I read on forums that you have to talk to them and ask them to leave. While talking, you have to convince them that they can find more food outside the house. It seems to have worked for a Danish forumite (French pun intended—“ant” = “fourmi” in French).
I was a bit puzzled, not only by the technique, but also in which language do I have to speak to those ants? Do they only understand Danish? If it is the case, my career as an “Ant Whisperer” is in a dead-end; I can’t speak a single word of Danish. My second concern was talking to them close to their anthill—that’s to say outside the house, and as it is a beautiful day, all my neighbors are outside, and to top it off, I’m not sure I’ve found their main anthill. What do I have to lose? Expect that my neighbors might be convinced once for all that I’m a complete looney.
So I’ve just tried it outside, after making sure that no one was watching me. I don’t know if my little speech was convincing (I opted for French), I wonder whether I talked to the “right ants”, with their cast system you never know. I didn’t talk very loud in case a neighbor was listening, and anyway how loud is loud for an ant using ultrasounds and antennas? I tried to look at some of them in “the eyes” to look more persuasive. Hopefully, they will relay my message to the others, but how many times should I repeat my message so they get it? When Jeff saw me on all four in the entrance and talking in direction of the floor, after thinking we had lost me for good, I had to explain myself, needless to say he didn’t seem convince at all by my technique—to say the least, anyhow I wasn’t trying to convince him but the ants.
Be that as it may, in case it doesn’t work, I can always blame him for being skeptical in front of them.
“After all we did to them: the white vinegar, the cleaning, the coffee grounds, the leaves, and the lemon, I think they are up in arms against us now.” He said, antagonizing me and my method.
I wonder whether a little white flag outside the house could help. You may say I’m crazy, but I’m not the only one, as the twisted lyrics goes, on the forum where I read about the “ant whisperer”, someone even wrote little signs and banners asking them to “Go home”; the story doesn’t say whether she also used mint teabags for her tea-party against ants.
At this point, I’m ready to learn how to do a headstand if it could work, but I’m not ready to kill them nor their colony. I know ants are as warriors as men, but I don't believe in the Lex Talionis, and maybe my non-warmonger side can surprise them.
It might be a sign for us to stop eating sugar. Should we be a sugar-free house, they wouldn’t have paid us a visit in the first place. We have something they want, that’s why they want to annex our territory. Sorry to draw a daring parallel but have you ever wondered what would have been the fate of the Middle East territory if their main produce was broccoli?
On a different topic: Tomorrow is the Chernobyl's infamous anniversary. Remember the Liquidators who saved us. I’ll post some poems written by a talented Russian poet in memory of those who died, directly and indirectly, in this accident—my mum died of a thyroid cancer after this nuclear accident, and I’m having an under-active thyroid since then; oddly enough as our Government told us “Our country is safe, the radioactive cloud stopped at the Belgian border” (sic).