Yesterday morning we noticed a big wave of sugar ants in the pantry, which is a huge pain the ass because to stem the tide of an ant invasion where they are targeting food you eat as well, it’s necessary to carefully disassemble the food storage area and clean the interior surfaces carefully with non-toxic substances over a period of a couple of days and as well find the access point and add borax-based ant bait to the area. If they’ve gotten into unsealed dry goods it’s best to just dump the food as well.
Knowing that we had about twelve booked hours for the day I made it clear we did not have time to deal with it until today. So this morning I chased Viv out of the house and started tracking the trails to figure out what to do.
Unfortunately, the ants had found a crack in the dry-box we use to store Logan’s huge 50-pound bags of dog food. They were mounting a full-scale assault. Happily, they were not interested in the human food at all, which was a relief – we scoured the pantry once this year already and I had hoped we were maintaining sealed-container discipline as it indeed appear we are.
So I moved the dog-food box outside and started cleaning up the ant trails with a vinegar-water-dawn solution, which works well but requires repeated application. The ants appeared to be coming from a spot toward the ceiling, which was odd. I started moving stuff out on the deck for ease of cleaning and to permit the simpler expedient of brushing the critters off of some objects that would not do so well if sprayed with a liquid.
As I did so, I noticed a few winged ants about the same size as the standard issue ant and pondered them for a moment, deciding they weren’t termites and so nothing to worry about. I noticed they were clustering near the top of the door and they they seemed to be well-integrated with the sugar ants.
Then I looked up into the skylight above our rear-entry room. There were thousands of both the winged and non-winged ants. I took a deep breath and started the process of cleaning them up, which involved the removal of about half the material we store in the mudroom, a couple hours on a ladder with goggles and a mask on, spraying the sides of the skylight with the vinegar solution and wiping the ants off, over and over.
Unfortunately, the numbers seen and the flying ants indicate that there is a likelihood of a nest having been built in the air gap of the roof that holds the skylight. I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that we may need to hire an exterminator to deal with the infestation, which means leaving our coats and miscellaneous other stuff out of the room until the situation is resolved.