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05/06/2010

Invasion of the Crumb Snatchers

2816918732_3e226736f8 It is spring and while we are not quite past the last frost yet , we have already had a month of warm weather and the occasional sunny sky. We’ve seen flowers come and go, birds are nesting and the dandelions have begun taking over our yards. The true sign of the end of winter, however, hit my house well over a month ago and has been relentless ever since.

I’m talking about ants. Pavement ants, in particular. You know, those itty bitty brown ants you see building hills in the cracks in sidewalk pavement, your asphalt driveway and between those stones that make up your patio? Yeah. Those. They also like to find the cracks in the side of your house or, in my case, in your foundation under your cement porch steps.

I’ve only lived here in Ohio for about a year and a half so I am still getting my bearings on the seasonal weather and pests here, but I’m pretty sure I remember those pesky pavement ants not making an appearance until well into June last year. It was hot, that much I remember. The air was still and heavy, every window in my air conditioning-less house was open and I was entertaining my 9 month old on the living room rug. I left the room for a few minutes to get myself something from the refrigerator and when I returned I felt my heart leap into my throat.

My son, who was not quite mobile yet, was lying on the floor giggling away and the carpet was teeming with life. Needless to say I scooped up my son and broke out the vacuum. In case this ever happens to you, I’d like to give you a tip. Ants can survive the vacuuming process and crawl back out of the vacuum. So be sure to empty it as soon as you are done with the creepy crawly roundup.

I also now understood why all of the houses in my neighborhood had been visited by the Orkin truck earlier in the season.

We were new homeowners then and thought we could win the battle with these home invaders on our own. And we weren’t that keen on chemicals around our baby either.  I put up a pretty good fight, staving them off until winter came and they retired for the season.

This year they appeared with our first bit of warm weather back in March. MARCH! They weren’t that bad but that didn’t mean I wanted them milling around my airlock and sneaking into my foyer.

This year I put my foot down when week after week went by in April and they were only increasing in number along with the warm days. No way was I going to witness my son stomping on a trail of ants inside the house, or worse and more likely, putting something covered in them into his mouth.  So we hired a pest company that a friend had used for her carpenter ant problem and after they sprayed both exterior and interior portions of the house we sat back and relaxed.

For about a week.

They sprayed on a Monday and on Saturday I spilled a drink and as I got on my hands and knees with a paper towel I discovered the ants were back. They had found a new point of entry, one more central to the house. They were everywhere in that corner of the living room.

So the company returned on Monday and sprayed that new area. On Saturday I just had this feeling as I was lying in bed contemplating getting dressed. And sure enough, I came downstairs and the first place I looked had a trail of ants working away.

I promise I keep a clean home. Okay, it’s clean-ish. I have a hard time keeping up with the dust. But I don’t leave food lying around to entice them in like some sort of Black Widow killer of ants.  I do not have a secret vendetta against the creatures – barring that time as a child that I fell into a ditch and was bitten head to toe by them, but really I was just asking for it since I knocked them out of their nests to begin with.

The company returned on Monday and sprayed again. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be the last time I have to call them.  This year anyway.

Photograph by Neil Liddle

Original Ohio Moms Blog Post

When she's not carrying out complex military campaigns to wipe out the enemy with her Dyson, Audrey shares her trials and triumphs in parenting and being a modern day housewife at Planet Hausfrau.

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