Bugs are so valuable to the ecosystem we live in. Wipe out a vector of that ecosystem, and the damage ripples through the rest of it. If I weren’t married, I would leave yellowjacket nests alone outside my house, and spider webs alone inside it.
Yet even with my wife absent from the home, there’s no way I am going to tolerate ants in the house. No way. None. I generally support environmental protection, but it’s not as if I feel the need to show it off by being as conspicuously crunchy/green/Whole Paycheck/tilth/organic/etc. as possible. And in any case, that’s not going to change my approach to pest control. If you see a few ants, there are more, many more. If I thought it would work best, without harming the interior health environment of the home, I’d have zero compunction about putting down the insect equivalent of heavy nerve gas, strychnine, or whatever.
For millennials, who of late find themselves much maligned by the very generation who raised them and made the rules for them, I have a fun suggestion. Next time a middle-aged person tries to tell you that everything was better back when, that the old ways and old everything are the best, and that everything now officially sucks (including, by implication, your generation), ask them this:
“Okay, sir/ma’am. I’ll play. So, in 1970, when you had ants in your house and wanted to find the best way to kill them, you would not have preferred a five-minute online search? It was better, right, when you had to go to a library, or hunt up some consumer magazine, or ask your neighbor Vern, and do trial and error while the ants multiplied to invade your entire house? Just so I understand you here, sir/ma’am? Or, as an alternative, are you saying you liked ants in your kitchen just fine, and that it was better that way?”
They’ll harrumph. It’s all they can do. Because in reality, they just want a simpler time in the ways they liked, while continuing to use their Keurigs and research their osteoporosis on the Internet. They only want back the old parts everyone liked, such as cheap gasoline and pensions. I’m not even an old person yet and I am already making plans to call my peers out on hypocrisies to my dying day. (It helps to plan ahead.)
As for me, I’d like cheap gas and pensions back too, but I like even more the fact that I can find the answer to a pressing problem in a short time. Is it always correct? No. Is it a higher-percentage shot than spending the afternoon trying to track Vern down, going from store to store, wasting money on stuff that will not work, and ruining my day? Well, you tell me.
In this case, I went on a net.mosey for ant killers. I found lots of granola vegan non-toxic cruelty-free organic hippie home ingredient methods. Some of them may work very well in some situations for some people. I have never had any such method work for me on much of anything, which is why I tune most of those out. In this case, I found a product called Terro, which isn’t quite non-toxic, but isn’t exactly dioxin either.
Of course, it had a number of product reviews.
Of course, any cretin can post on the Internet, thus any given review might be wrong.
Of course, 933 product reviews does represent at least some sort of a sample base.
Of Terro’s 933 reviews, 750 gave it five stars.
Well, again, I’m not much of a fundamental believer in group opinion or the wisdom of the public. In fact, when I find myself in a majority, I’m tempted to ask myself what I might have overlooked. Even so, I started reading the reviews. Most said some variant of: “I put down these traps, and more ants than I had any idea were in my house swarmed all over them. Two days later there was not a single living ant.”
It didn’t take that many of those to get my attention.
Terro is some form of sugar glop–ant crack–mixed with borax. The ants hog it down, tell the other ants that the Ant Pizza Buffet is open, and take some samples back to the colony to share with others. One of those others is the queen, who gets waited on by the proletarian ants. Borax fatally injures the ants’ digestive systems (think of it like Taco Bell taken to its logical conclusion). When the queen dies, that’s disastrous for the colony, but in any case, it’s also disastrous for it when most of the regular ants croak.
Shortly after I put down the traps, long lines of little ants came pouring out of tiny openings in the wall, going crazy for the traps. Some died in the glop, like that kid in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Some died before they got back to the colony, which I hope were taken back to be cannibalized and poison some more. Many, I presume, took ‘food’ back to the colony to poison it on my behalf. Some managed to drag little chunks of dirt into the glop, gods know how or why.
It wasn’t over yet. In fact, the little bastards just about cleaned out some of the traps. A week in, I had put down a second box of traps. More armadas sallied forth to scarf it up. Just when I’d think it was over, a bunch would discover a new trap that others had walked past for a week, and swarm on it.
Three weeks to the day after I first started slinging ant crack, and whatever the fates of individuals, it very much appears as if the colony has gone the fate of Carthage. My ant crackhouse can shut down. I have seen exactly two ants around the traps all day, and neither looked real lively.
Somewhere in the ground near my house is Ant Jonestown.
Terro delivers, if you’re patient. I would recommend Terroism as a potential solution to ant problems in the home. Just follow the rules for the conscientious Terroist:
- Keep animals and kids out of it, obviously. Wouldn’t kill them, I’m told, but borax is not in the food aisles of your grocery store for a reason, and is not one of the four food groups. If you have cats, they may actually have to endure some temporary freedom restrictions.
- Put down all the traps (six in my package). I had good luck with stringing them out along the ants’ path, so that even the hardiest who ranged farthest would be able to find some poison.
- Resist the temptation to mess around with the traps once they’re down. The ants could be frightened off, and you want them pouring out to eat hearty. Think about your placement beforehand, and leave them alone thereafter.
- Don’t spill the gunk on the floor, as I’m told it’s tough to scrub up. While you’re cutting off the ends to open the traps, I recommend leaning them against something, colored (cut) ends up. Make sure they don’t fall, or tip the wrong way when you’re emplacing them.
- If you have to, use a second box of traps. I bought two the first time, in case that happened, and it was a wise move. Job ain’t done until there are no living ants in sight for a while.
- To use these outside, I think you’d need a small, heavy cover to put over each trap. Otherwise, something else would probably get into it. They sell outdoor ones, though, so that’s covered.
Yeah, it took a while, but it beats having someone come and fill the house with tabun, or whatever the pest control people use. It was also much less expensive. I spent $30 and I destroyed a large, persistent ant colony. I bet the Bug Brigade doesn’t come out for $30. Plus, if I have a way to rely on my own sense and observation rather than a contractor, after many, many examples of shoddy work, apathy and arrogance from contractors, I’ll do that every time.