A Series of Failures: the Dreaded ANTS!

Hello, dear readers!  I hope all is well with you.  By now, CF and I are off galavanting in the UK, so to keep you all entertained, I give you another post in our Series of Failures.  Today, you’ll meet the Dreaded ANTS! (I will continue to call them ANTS! because that correctly indicates the way in which I uttered their name when I discovered them in the kitchen).

The funny thing about ANTS! (is there a funny thing about them?) is that our recent encounters with them are actually not the first.  When we first moved in to our dear little Lot 26, I noticed a small ant problem the first few times I cooked in the kitchen.  However, they only came out when I was chopping vegetables and as soon as the weather got colder, they went away.

So I forgot about them.

I think ANTS! must have been angered  by the fact that I had forgotten about them because they made a pretty rude entrance when they came back.  Imagine a quiet Friday morning at home, away from work.  For the first time in weeks, I had a Friday where I didn’t need to grade papers.  CF was out of town.  I had some amazing plans to make myself a little breakfast and eat it while indulging in a kids’ movie: How to Tame Your Dragon.  I made some toast, slathered some on PB, banana slices, maple syrup, and cocoa powder (so good!), and I put some water on to boil.  We have an electric tea kettle, so I poured some water in and flipped the switch while I prepared my teacup.  I put a little maple syrup in the bottom of the cup and then went in search of a teabag (when CF’s not home, I don’t bother with looseleaf 🙂 ). 

By the time I’d gotten my food prepared, the water was done.  I poured into the cup with the teabag, and went to go sit in front of the TV.  It wasn’t until I’d finally gotten settled with the movie that I finally looked down at my breakfast.  Know what I saw?  About 10 dead ANTS! floating in my tea.  (Now do you see what I first named them ANTS! ?)

At first I wondered if ANTS! had quickly crawled into my teacup (to go after the maple syrup) while I finished preparing my breakfast. Could they be that quick?  But then, upon investigation, I learned those ANTS! had actually been inside the electric tea kettle.  They’d gone in to drink the little water droplets that were left from the kettle’s last use.  I knew this because several of their brothers and sisters were still inside.  Dead (having been boiled to death) and stuck to the sides.


Needless to say, I cleaned out the tea kettle and made myself some new tea.  Then I watched the movie and had my breakfast and tried to forget about the newfound infestation for a little while.

Over the course of the next few days, I did some research.  Many people have posted several ways to keep ANTS! out of your kitchen, and at least one musician has written about the problem. I learned that ANTS! apparently wouldn’t like cinnamon, cayenne pepper, bleach, vinegar, or peppermint oil (I don’t understand the last one, but whatever). Lucky for me, I had both cinnamon AND cayenne, and I also clean counters with a vinegar/water solution…so I simply added the peppermint oil to that and sprayed away.  I also doused the counters (where they met the wall) with cinnamon and cayenne.  And I kept spraying the wall where it appeared they were coming and going.

See, ANTS! know where to go based on pheremones left behind by previous scout ANTS!.  So if I saw one crawling on the counter, I would spray that counter down to confuse the scent, and therefore the ANTS!

The ANTS! were still on the counters, but it seemed they were only hanging out on the small counter where we grind coffee.  Which was fine with me.  I don’t chop or prepare food over there.  However, once they were finished with that counter they moved onto the larger one…where I do indeed prepare food, and that made me really mad!  (I don’t know why they make me so angry, but they do!  I think it’s because their presence makes me feel like I keep a dirty home or something…)

[In the midst of all these ANTS!, we also found another creature in the kitchen, but I don’t want to talk about it.  We only found one, and it was trapped in a mixing bowl in the cupboard, and I made CF take it outside. I refuse to believe that we are infested with that creature.  I truly think it was a prank by the ANTS!.  I’m thinking the ANTS! were mad that I was actually stepping up and battling them, so they slipped a little cockroach into my cupboard.  Jerks. (That’s a plausible explanation, right?)]

Anyway, recently, I haven’t seen ANTS! as much, but the weather has been a little cooler (with still no help from Furnace, I might add) and rainier, and ANTS! are little wimps when it comes to bad weather.  So they might be back.  And when the return, I’ll be ready for them.

Well folks, that just about concludes our Series of Failures–except that we have one more upcoming possible failure: the A/C.  More on that next time…

Until then, may all your kitchens be critter free, and may all your homes be happy!


About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
This entry was posted in Events and Stories, kitchen adventures. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Series of Failures: the Dreaded ANTS!

  1. Lauren Sweeney says:

    We have the ANTS! as well – they seem to let themselves in through some crack that I can’t yet find. I’ve been using clove oil diluted in water (also on the list of things ANTS! don’t like), which seems to slow them down. Found a bunch of them in my Honey Nut O’s this morning, though. Very disappointing.

    And I know what you mean about their presence making you feel like you keep a dirty home – I’ve been wiping down counters/sweeping like an insane person with each sighting, even though their presence is probably weather-related.

    ANTS! What a bunch of jerks.

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