Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Invasion

I got this text from my daughter on Tuesday afternoon while I was at the soccer fields, working my side gig with the photographer:



Silly me, I was more concerned with explaining to her the many reasons she couldn't drive to the baseball game (the most important one being that I had taken the car) than I was with that first sentence. You know, the one about the ants.

It's spring. Spring means rain. Rain means ants like to come inside the nice, dry house.

We have been ant-free inside our home for several years. An occasional one or two would wander in the front door, but they were easily squashed and that was the end of that. I assumed that was all Emma meant when she said "ants in the entry hall."

I was very wrong.

Before I went home from preschool on Thursday, I made a visit to a natural foods store in town for some essential oils. One of them will be used for a later post (anticipation is killing you, isn't it?). The second one I purchased was peppermint oil. I had seen it come up repeatedly on Pinterest as a natural ant repellent. I figured I could make a preemptive strike on the ants sneaking in the front door and take care of my ant problem then and there.



I walked in the door around 2:30, all happy and planning to make the hummus for my "H" post and make itty bitty cupcakes for my "I" post for the A to Z Challenge. I was especially excited as I walked in the front door because some craft supplies that I intend to use for the Challenge had arrived (already! I only ordered them on Monday evening). As I set my purse down on the bench inside the door, I happened to glance at the floor and saw...

Ants.

A line of ants.

A line of ants going from the window at the foot of the stairs, around the stairs, down the entry hall, and into the kitchen. Another line was coming out, little crumb treasures held triumphantly over their heads, as they made their way back to the window. (By the way, did you know those nasty little sweet-eating ants are called piss ants? An exterminator told me that.)



I followed the little assholes down the hallway and into the kitchen. Fortunately, they were on the floor (plenty to eat down there), but not on the counters or in the cabinets, so it appears I won't have to burn the house down or anything. I dripped some of the peppermint oil onto a cotton ball, as per the directions from Pinterest, to wipe onto the area where the ants were coming in, but first I had to do some eradication. (I can state unequivocally that peppermint does, indeed, kill ants, especially when you smash them with a peppermint-soaked cotton ball.)  After I squished and squashed all of them with peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls (meaning I was crawling on the floor, following their trail), I mixed some more essential oil into a bottle of spray cleaner and set to work on the floor.



The entry hall and kitchen remained ant-free for several hours. Before bed, I caught a few stragglers. Same this morning. And there were a few more this afternoon. I just checked again, and so far, so good. Added bonus: my house smells minty fresh.


I am cautiously giving this a Pinterest win. And if it is, indeed, a win, I shall be ordering a 55 gallon drum of peppermint oil.




18 comments:

  1. What gets rid of mosquitoes? I'll try the peppermint oil if it ever gets warm enough for ants.

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    1. Bats. Bats get rid of mosquitoes. You just don't want them in your house.
      I'll keep you posted on how well the peppermint oil works.

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  2. I didn't realize peppermint oil got rid of ants. I'm old fashioned and just stick with a gallon jug of insecticide. We have so many ants here, we've got to spray the whole house once a month. Plus we can't leave food out. Everything has to be sealed. Fortunately, these techniques manage to keep them at bay.

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    1. I didn't, either, Karen! I'm usually all for spraying the hell out of them with DDT or Agent Orange or whatever it takes, but I wanted to try something else that was closer to free first. Really hoping it continues to work.

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  3. We just saw 3 ants today. We get them every daggum stinking year. I hate the blasted things. We've always used the nasty liquid trap things. They work very well, but they are gross. I'll be buying some peppermint oil for sure!

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    1. We've been lucky the past couple of years, but that isn't how it usually is. If it works, I need to find a cheaper way to buy the essential oil, because that itty bitty bottle was $6.

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  4. Can this be a Pinterest revisit post? I want to know how well it works, for the longer term --- because we've got ants too, ever since our landlord redid he landscaping -- they have found a nice home inside of ours. And with animals, natural is important. Keep us posted!

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    1. I'll definitely report on how well it continues to work. I hate ants! I hate roaches and mice more, but I hate them third!

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  5. It works to keep mice away as well. I didn't know about ants....

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    1. Hopefully, big, bad Ruby keeps the mice away.

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  6. minty smellng ant-corpses! (I like to try to leave a few bodies, on the principle that their buddies (or cousins or whatever) will be frightened by the carnage and find safer food sources).

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    1. I TOTALLY leave little ant corpses around, so their friends will be warned away! Great minds, Clark, great minds!

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  7. Wow! Filing this one away! But essential oils are pricey! I did know the term pissant, actually, but I didn't know it was a technical ant name. I just thought it was a semi-affectionate name for a troublesome or mischievous small child.

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    1. Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to find a cheaper source for the essential oils.
      Piss ant may not be what it's called in a biology textbook, but that's what the exterminator told me they were called (and it was a girl in her early 20s, daughter of the owner of the company, and I choose to believe her implicitly for all those reasons).

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  8. We have ants too they stay outside but there are a lot of them - sometimes one too are spotted in the house but we think Teddy brings them in after his walk - good advise peppermint oil :)

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    1. It's working so far. I'm thinking about adding some of the essential oil to a little alcohol and spraying it so it gets in cracks.

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  9. Fun post. dropping by from the A to Z I gave your blog a shout out from my letter J today https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

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    1. Thank you so much for the shout out! What a nice surprise! I've had several stop by thanks to that! Of course, they are also reading about the wackiest post I've ever written.

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