taking up residence

For the past few years, we’ve had an influx of ants taking up residence in and around our house. There are teeny, tiny, little ants that run the perimeter of our house, back and forth, all around the foundation. It’s a little like being under siege. Truthfully, it’s a little creepy.

We also have great big carpenter ants that drop down from the trees and make their way over, under and inside. They move slower, are big enough to recognize individuals and stay long enough that we give them names. Until this year, we’ve managed to keep things under control (sort of) by keeping things clean, never leaving food out, and using non-toxic stuff like diatomaceous earth (DE), borax, peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, etc.  But this spring, the scales tipped out of our favor and the ants took over.

First the teeny, tiny, little ants made a big rush for everything in the kitchen and sunroom. I spread DE all around the house, inside the trash, all along the windowsills, across the threshold, virtually everywhere I could think of. I finally broke down and bought ant traps. That seemed to help a little.

One evening, my sister walked into the kitchen, stopped, backed out and yelled for me. Covering every inch of the kitchen floor, the sunroom floor and the counters, walls, stove and fridge were the big ol’ carpenter ants. It looked like something out of a Hitchcock film.

I tore through everything, wiping, moping, scrubbing, sweeping and laying down DE, more ant traps, scattering cotton balls and paper towel wads soaking in ammonia in the trash and recycle bins. After hours of effort more ants poured in, covering everything.

I spent the next day trying to scout out where they were coming from and became convinced that they were nesting inside the walls in the sunroom. Short of ripping all the walls out, I admitted defeat and called a pest control company. Actually, I called a few and settled on one local firm that seemed responsible and was willing to work in such a way as to not contaminate my yard and keep my animals safe. Things have been okay since then.

Until recently. I’ve noticed the teeny, tiny ants are making a comeback and have begun circling the wagons again. Two weeks ago we had the storm door replaced and when the contractor removed the old storm door, big old carpenter ants came pouring out of the door. They had actually set up house inside the wood core of the door, complete with a nursery with lots of eggs. I have a sneaking suspicion that come this spring, I will have to rip out the walls in the sunroom.

But, today — today when I turned on my iMac to do some work, I saw a teeny, tiny, little ant on the monitor. I went to knock it off but nothing happened. It wasn’t on the screen, it is IN the screen. It is running all over, inside my monitor between the glass and the LCD. I don’t know how it got in there and there’s no way to get it out. I keep trying to hit it with the cursor. Sometimes, when I move the cursor over it, the ant falls down. After a couple virtual whacks with the cursor, the ant clues in that there’s no real threat and digs all its little heels in, daring me to try to kill it.

It knows I can’t touch it and it’s flaunting its new found invincibility by parading across my screen as I try to work. But how can I work with the damned ant taunting me?

I just hope it doesn’t invite the rest of its family over for a party.

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