18 observations and actions that may help you rid little black ants from your studio
Disclaimer: I am not an entomologist or a pest exterminator—this information comes from about a couple of months of recent experiences, research, experiments, deductive thought, observation, and, as my partner would say, obsessive activity.
Factors that exasperate ant infestations: Intense rain events, cyclones or ex-cyclones and floods.
Signs to note:
1) When you walk the pavements near where you live take time to notice if ants are ‘running around’ like mad things and building the earthen volcanoes around the entrance to their holes
2) Bureau of Meteorology long term wet weather predictions
3) Casual conversations that report old farmers talking about rain and floods being on the way.
4) When you first see a little trail of ants entering your studio, kitchen—where ever
5) If you leave some biscuit crumbs out overnight in your work area note if ants are active in the morning
6) Check electronic equipment on standby or power points/switches as these may attract ants by the warmth of the electrical activity
7) Look out for little piles of black ant bodies on the floor near walls and furniture/wall interfaces—these are dead ants that have been ejected from the nest
8) If the supermarket shelves are devoid of Antrid products—it means that others are being affected by the plague.
Initial actions to take:
9) Setup Antrid ‘feeding stations’ on a smooth plastic surfaces adjacent ant trails. ‘Grandma’ or ‘old wives remedies’ like the use of polenta and talcum powder did not work for me. Although the ants didn’t like crossing talc powder.
10) Do not disturb the trail but try to restrict ants getting nourishment from external sources—you want them to devour the Antrid. My most successful campaign support came from rainy weather that restricted the ants from getting outside nourishment and had to feed entirely on my Antrid traps.
What happens when this does not resolve the problem?
11) Track the ants to where the nest is—I’ve found that they tend to reside in very narrow spaces between furniture and the wall or between small gaps between freestanding things like books or records. Following trails can be an interesting exercise—door frames, architraves, cornices, window frames and even through minute holes and cracks in masonry, bricks and mortar
12) Once you have located the source clear the surrounding area
13) Source cans of pyrethrum insect spray and reveal the nest. Spray the area of the infestation as well as its surrounds as ants, when disturbed, run madly in all directions and you need to cut off their movement.
Note: Sometimes you may need to dismantle the structure in which the nest is situated—If this is a required step, it may be best to setup a spray/kill and clear area perhaps outside studio.
Take care not to inhale the toxic pyrethrum fumes. You may even need to evacuate the site until the smell of death dissipates.
14) Vacuum-up the dead ants and wash the area with a cleansing product like sugar soap.
15) Spray wooden surfaces with cedar oil
16) Return furniture and other items taking care to extend the ‘gap’ making it an unsuitable space for a nest.
17) Try to clean any ant trails to remove the scent that tells the ants to ‘follow this to the nest’.
18) Monitor the area for ant scouts trying to find the nest or establishing new ones—destroy any ants seen.
Be vigilant or they will return…
Note: I chose not to use products like Ant Sand as they are only recommended for external use and have warnings, which signify a potential to on-kill almost anything.
One more point: I hate having to kill these little critters—I used to even try and dodge ants on paths when I went walking because I didn’t want to hurt them. I appreciate the role that ants play in the ecology of the garden. But when they come inside …