January 23, 2012

Naonao - Ants

People use the phrase "the cost of paradise" pretty frequently. In addition to higher prices and smaller selection of goods, the "cost of paradise" also involves bugs. Lots of bugs.

Thankfully I have only seen a few of these creepy crawlies, and even fewer in our house. But the ants here are just crazy! We saw a few when we were moving in and took care of them. However, once we brought food and water - who knew that ants actually want water more than your cookies! - they came back in droves.

After asking knowledgeable neighbors and the hardware store guy, we purchased traps that have food and poison in them. It's not exactly nice having them take poisoned food back to their nest to share with their friends and kill off everyone... but, they don't really get the hint any other way.

The problem with these traps is that at first they ATTRACT ants, which I did not know at first. That means you get a gazillon more ants trying to get this awesome food poison. So, if you plan to use these traps, place them wisely. Granted we didn't want the kids falling for the same trick, so we had to put them up high. But that meant we got to see the whole gruesome parade. And you do too!

After two seemingly endless days of ants invading, they pretty much disappear. Until another group breaks in and you start over again.

Another strategy is to spray their trails, so they don't come in that way again. But these guys are smart and find lots of new ways to eat our food. I followed a trail the other day and it actually went up the stairs. Don't worry, it was on the wall, not the carpet. I think they get all "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" in the carpet and get lost, so they avoid carpet.

So everything is double bagged in the pantry, or in the fridge. And I clean like crazy. And if you know me, I don't enjoy cleaning, so this is a new thing... it might be good thing though. The ant swarms are not as crazy now, but when we first moved here, if you left a plate out on the counter and came back after five minutes, the plate would be moving seemingly on its own as the ants carried it away. Now it needs to sit out overnight and maybe 10 little guys will find it.

It is as simple as keeping crumbs off the floor and wiping up messes, but the problem is that apparently the number one job of my children is to make messes involving lots and lots of tiny crumbs. And the beautiful "natural stone flooring" in our kitchen is pretty, but it is also uneven. Which means tiny crumbs hide well.

Not only are we excited to enjoy a BBQ on our lanai when it is finished, but we will enjoy eating meals outside. And the kids will enjoy eating on their own picnic table. And I will enjoy cleaning everything off with a hose. And keeping the tiny crumbs outside.

Picnic table... Christmas gift for the kids, or for us?

The funny thing is that these ants are little and kind of cute. Not that it keeps me from killing them, but they aren't gross like centipedes. And they are pretty much under control. Which means, like children, they're fine, but don't provoke them. So if you come to visit, don't be freaked out about hoards of ants. They are nowhere near as bad as that video anymore.

Unless you make lots of tiny crumbs while eating in bed. Consider yourself warned.

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