Friday, May 13, 2011

Ants in our Pants!!

Springtime is upon us, so I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised when we snuggled up for a movie last night, and there -- in the glow of the television -- a little spider came wriggling down from the ceiling, dangling and spinning right in front of our eyes as if he wanted to be part of the feature film.  

"Dammit!  I just killed one of these!" my husband shouted, pausing the movie and jumping up to smoosh the little bugger.  It was just a little golden house spider, and I've gotten used to these by now, as they come to visit us every spring and are pretty much harmless. (Although, I must confess to an incident during the first spring in our home when a house spider came spinning down in front of me in the shower, and I shrieked and screamed for my husband, who came running upstairs, expecting to find God-knows-what... only to see me standing right outside the shower, dripping, hopping up and down, shivering and naked, chanting "Spider!  Spider!  Spider!" and pointing frantically at the shower stall.  I am not proud of this moment -- but I think I have the support of most women when I say that, when you are enjoying a nice lather in your hair and you open your eyes to see a spider dangling directly in front of your face, it's damn creepy!)

I have learned to deal with the house spiders, and honestly, they don't really bother me that much anymore.  The giant black ants, however... well, that's a different issue altogether.  In the last two years, we have had an increasing number of huge black ants invading our home.  Having small children, I have stubbornly resisted the recommendations of others who have advised us to call a pest control service and have poison sprayed all over our property.  So, my sweet, well-meaning husband purchases little ant traps that he sets about the house, which the ants, frankly, completely ignore.  I have actually seen an ant march up to the edge of the trap, consider it for a bit, and then turn away, as if to say, "Well now, that's just beneath me."  My daughter, however, thinks the traps are pretty neat, and I've actually caught her with one of them in her mouth, at which point I completely freaked out and tried to imagine how traumatizing it might be to actually wash someone's mouth out with soap.  (She was fine, by the way... she only had it in her mouth for a millisecond). 

The situation has gone from simply annoying to completely unbearable as of late, however.  The other day my daughter Clara came running over to me, holding her hand out and shrieking hysterically.  When I unfolded her hand, I saw a giant black ant with its pincers embedded in the flesh of her little palm.  I was instantly revolted, but I needed to rescue Clara, so I ran over to the sink and blasted water on the sucker, which still didn't let go.  I actually had to pry the thing off of her with my fingertips, which still gives me the willies. *shiver*  ICK!!!  Something must be done!  

This, by the way, is a real picture, taken this morning, of one of the little buggers ON OUR KITCHEN FLOOR.   It obviously had a prize it its mouth when I snapped this (thank God for zoom lenses and macro... I didn't actually have to get very close to the creature), and it even stood still while I snapped its photo... then I squished it. 

I decided to do some research to find out exactly which type of ant we have invading our home.  I found the following paragraph in an article entitled "How to Identify Ants in Pictures" on 

Estimate the size, if possible. Most household ants are 1/8- to 1/10-inch long. Ants that are smaller (between 1/16 to 1/20 inch) than this include pharaoh, little black, bigheaded and thief ants. Ants that are larger include carpenter ants (3/16 to 1/2 inch) and large yellow ants (3/16 inch). Crazy ants range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch, and bigheaded ants range in size from 1/16 to 1/4 inch. Field ants and imported fire ants range in size from 1/8- to 1/4-inch long. 

Did you read that?  Did you see the names of the ants?  There's actually a type of ant called the "crazy ant?"  I would have guessed ours were certifiable, until I saw that they had to be really tiny to be considered crazy.  I did get a particular chuckle from the description of the fire ants as "imported," as if they are some rare decorative variety that one can order from a foreign distributor for a lofty price -- as in, "Hey, I know the standard around here is the black ant, but we have these beautiful red hardwood floors, and I think the fire ants would really accessorize nicely with our color scheme."  The article didn't really help all that much; all I know is that the ants we have are HUGE, they're nasty, and they mean business. (Oh, and upon further investigation, I learned that there really is an ant called the Piss Ant!  It’s a real bug!  Who knew?)

So while we have been deciding how to deal with the situation, we have been taking great care to not leave food lying about... to clean spilled sticky substances right away, and basically give them nothing of interest to chase after in our home.  But despite our best efforts, they still persist.  Little did I know that our work was being undermined by one cute little 16-month-old...

This morning I made a discovery.  I was rummaging through our recycling paper basket (kept behind the sofa in our sitting room) to find something important that had accidentally been thrown away, and as I was crouched on the ground, I happened to look under the end table, and there, to my wonderment, was a collection of half-consumed food that I thought my daughter had eaten weeks ago!

Now, Clara's a busy little gal who's always on the move, and she's typically known to ask for a snack and then roam around while she eats it.  It's completely normal behavior for her.  But I had no idea that she wasn't actually finishing her food; instead she's been eating bits of it and squirreling away the rest like nuts she's burying for winter.  I discovered her stash today, which included dried-out slices of orange, a large piece of a muffin left over from Mothers Day, a shriveled up bit of waffle, a now rock-hard piece of scrambled egg patty, some Cheerios, goldfish crackers, dried out cheese cubes, and some things that were frankly unidentifiable.  

It now occurs to me that a picture of her "collection" would have added considerable interest to this blog post... unfortunately I was so disgusted by what I saw that I immediately scooped it all up, tossed it in the disposal and washed the carpet before I even thought that it might make for a funny blog pic.  But you get the idea.  At any rate, Clara's penchant for leaving food bits lying about is certainly not helping our ant situation any, and who knows what other pests might be encouraged to creep into our domicile, lured by the tempting sweetness of a week-old orange slice on the floor? 

Well, after our movie last night I decided to take a shower, and as I was just stepping in, a nasty black spider literally leaped at me from atop the shower curtain rod.  I dodged, but the spider jumped at me again, then got caught in the shower spray and was ultimately washed down the drain,  This was NOT OKAY.  Unlike the small, slow, harmless golden house spiders that do little more than hang out in corners and occasionally interrupt feature films, this thing was big, fast, mean, darn scary-looking, and tough to kill.  Plus, it had crazy jumping skills and had essentially attacked me in the shower.  

This means war.  Bring on the poison -- I'm calling pest control!!

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  1. I don't blame you for calling pest control. Surprised you didn't do it sooner- ha ha

    Have a terrific and ant free weekend!

    twitter: @claylauren2001

  2. Hello there! I'm a new follower here, and I'm hoping you'll get the chance to follow me too. I'm a new blogging Mommy, and am looking to learn from and share with as many Mommy's as possible! :D

    Name's April, 23, 2 kids, and a hubby- a dog and a cat. I'm about to start working again for the first time in over 2 years, unpaid, but it's going to be awesome. My life is crazy and chaotic, and so is my blog- hope you enjoy!! :)


  3. Since the beginning of spring, I too, have been battling ants! My husband sprayed something - so they crawl onto the fireplace & then just die. So every afternoon, I vacuum up the dead ants...its flipping gross!!!

    Abbie Rumbach

  4. @Abbie - I used to have that problem in Florida.... have you heard of the giant roaches they have there? I didn't have them, but once a month, like clockwork, a few would crawl out from under my sink and drop dead on the kitchen floor. Turns out the downstairs neighbor had a scedule of spraying. The INCH LONG BUGS would climb up my sink pipe, out from under the sink, and DIE.

    My cat liked to play hockey with them.


  5. I am interested in your "imported ants" or "fire ants" ... your photo shows a large ant that in Zimbabwe we would have called Matebele ants ... they can march in lines and if they bite you it is firey sore!!! with so much immigration etc going on world wise it would not be surprising if foreign ants or other beasties crop up 'over the ponds'! good luck with exterminating them :-)

  6. Bugs are the worst, I don't know why they are so small but I can't stand the thoughts of them on me! I am a new follower thru the blog hop and am following thru GFC and on Facebook. I did not see a Twitter button or I would have followed that also. I would love a follow back especially on Facebook where my weak link is. I lost my Facebooks fans thru a glitch and am having to start over and it now puts me behing in being able to do reviews although I don't know why since you do the review on your blog, but rules are rules I guess. Thanks for your help and have a great weekend.


  7. I've been getting ants too : (

    I just found your blog through one of the blog hops! Have a great weekend. Can't wait to read more!

    Amanda @

  8. We have large black spiders that invade our home every spring. I feel your pain. Last night, however, I saw something I've NEVER seen before... It was about an inch and a half long and had a head similar to a pincher bug. I screamed. There were 4 ladies in the room and no one wanted to touch it, but we all knew it had to die. Thanks to one brave woman, this monster took the potty express into oblivion. YUCK!

  9. Oh I feel like ants can be so tough to get rid of! Course I'm not a bug expert so what do I know, haha! Good luck with it though!

    Found your blog from the making new friends blog hop and I love it! Happy new follower :).

  10. Just found your blog through blog hop! Love it!!
    I am also proud to announce that I am now following you.
    You can follow me back, but if my site isn't your thing,
    that's totally cool. I don't think we should feel obligated
    to follow people's sites just for the sake of following, right?
    We should enjoy. And Lady, I enjoy your site! keep up the funny


  11. Have you heard of this chalk that the (I think Chinese) have that you draw underneath your cabinets and whereever you think the ants will walk through. Anyway, they get rid of them really well for some reason!

    Sorry you have to go through this!!

    Anyway, I got an email that you commented on the Personal Blogs Group from mombloggers. Please come over and join us at, where you will meet some of the nicest group of women. I'm sure you will not only gain a bunch of followers, but friends as well.

    Hope to see you there!


    Lexie Lane

    P.S. Hope you're having a nice weekend.

  12. I love this! My little girl's name is Claire so of course I was immediately interested. We grew up in Texas and identify with the craziness of bugs. No matter what you did they were always there...lurking around dark corners to jump out at you!

  13. We usually get big ants in the spring. I think ours are carpenter ants. They come in the house and we usually have a swarm of them on our back porch. We also get house centipedes which really freak me out with all those legs! Yuck! That's too funny about your daughter! LOL Like a little squirrel. I found a taco shell on the bathroom floor the other day and 2 tater tots in the playdough drawer AND wheat thin crackers under a pile of junk in my daughter's room and a half-eaten piece of apple behind the rocking chair in the living room. So, I can sympathize. My stepmom of course would say that the kids should NEVER be able to walk around with a snack, they should eat it at the table, then get back to what they were doing. But, eh, it's not an "ideal" world here! LOL Thanks for stopping by the S&R weekend hop! Hope you get your bugs under control!

  14. we've been getting for about the past 3 years, every spring and summer. I'm getting so used to them that I haven't even treated for them yet this summer. We opted against pest control too. Terro ant bait (clear liquid in plastic traps) works well for a few days and is available from the warehouse hardware stores. The best longer term solution thus far has been diatomaceous earth. It's a natural powdery substance that is safe around kids. It's finely ground fossilized algae that looks harmless, but has actually rough edges that tear the inside of bugs that eat it. I bought a huge bag of it from Amazon. The drawback is that it makes an unsightly image around the floorboards and whereever else you put it. Good luck!

  15. I still scream when I see a bug, namely a roach. My little one came running today to find his mommy dancing around, screaming wildly. "what's wrong mommy?" "nothing, go back to your cartoon." It was already dead, but that makes no difference to me.

    Following you from MBC.


  16. Hello,
    Your blog is great. I'm following you now

  17. Shudder! I have vivid memories of a spider/shower incident growing up. We only had a bathtub in our bathroom - and a shower in the corner of the unfinished basement of our 100 year old house. You can see where this is going. For some odd reason, I decided to shower down there only to have a spider descend from the ceiling (bare rafters) and hang directly in front of my face.

    Ick! I certainly can't imagine one jumping on me!


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