Ants: exit stage right

Miss Thrifty0 July 24, 2008

When I walked into our downstairs bathroom yesterday, I found that the walls and tiled floor were crawling with flying ants. It was a very Amityville moment, and I immediately assumed the requisite facial expression, as per Margot Kidder in aforementioned horror flick:

Margot Kidder in The Amityville Horror

We have ants in the garden, but we haven’t had any indoors for ages. (That basil tip I posted last week works really well in the kitchen.) The flying ants are the sexual ants (yeuch); they swarm once a year, to mate and die as quickly as they possibly can. For some reason our bathroom, in all its sanitary glory, was selected as this year’s venue for their orgiastic ecstasies.  

They thought they were on some ant Club 18-30. Ha ha. No.

This was frickin war, man. Entomological ‘Nam.

After opening the window I reached for my trusty barrage of powerful insecticides, and saturated all surfacts with lashings of Raid. I also tossed in an ant poison trap, hand grenade-stylee, for extra measure. A few minutes later all the ants were dead or disappeared. As a final flourish, I trailed ant powder along the edges of the skirting boards, to deter any future visitors. As the heady scent of carcinogenic insecticide filled my lungs, I could almost feel my cells mutating.

When the battle was over I was out of Raid (£4.37), out of ant traps (£2.99 for two) and the ant powder bottle (£2.45) had pouffed its last.  I worked out that to replace these products would cost almost £10.00, poking an oversized hole into my thriftylicious supermarket budget.

So I looked around for other ideas, and found a bunch of rubbish ones. For the record: Windolene does not demolish flying ants (not the ones around here, anyway). And scattering icing sugar around a bathroom would end badly, for obvious reasons.

However, these ideas sound much more promising:

1.  Talcum powder. I picked up a small vat of the stuff in a discount shop for £0.80.  Use instead of ant powder – it’s a third of the price. It doesn’t poison the ants, but it messes up the scent trails with which they communicate with one another, and they hate walking through the stuff. (Thanks to Bubble and Bean.)

2. Cornflour.  A box costs around £0.90. Use instead of ant poison traps – again, it’s a fraction of the price. Ants take it back to their nests and eat it. They can’t digest it, so they swell up and die.  (Thanks to Bill & Barbara Jo.)

I’ll let you know how I get on…

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