They are everywhere in our garden. Or should I say, they were everywhere in our garden. They were also everywhere in our kitchen. For this reason, I decided to go on the warpath and eradicate them. Previously I had just been working on a kill-on-sight principle, but this time there would be no half-measures: a full Steven Segal-like search and destroy mission.
After investigation, I found that due to a very poor piece of design and engineering during the construction of our house, the lintel on the back door had a 3mm gap beneath it which allowed basically anything smaller than a cat to crawl through and into our kitchen. Things weren’t helped by the equally-shoddy construction of the sealant around the door frame. Over time, this has separated from the brick work, which has allowed rain water to run down and cause rot of the skirting board inside. This caused a bigger hole and let more ants in. I’ve now repaired the sealant and replaced the rotten skirting, meaning the inside of the house looks better now. Must get round to painting it though…
So that was the ants prevented from getting in? Not quite. Unfortunately they had already built a home for themselves in the cavity. They then waited for a while and hatched into their evil flying versions. Luckily, just at the point of them emerging outside in a dopey state, I managed to spot them. A liberal dose of that nasty white killer powder later and pretty much everything in sight was dead. That nearly included me because I was looking upwards, trying to spray this powder and it was going everywhere. Judging by my black shirt, it looked like I had a severe dandruff problem, it was in my hair, and I could faintly taste it too. Quick decontamination shower later and all was well. Anyway, I waited a couple of days to make sure the nest was dead and then plugged up that gap too.
This was all happening over the course of several weeks – during which I was also getting tough in the garden. In the past, I’ve used ant killer sprays and powders to kill the little crawlers, but that only kills the ants you can see. For about a fiver in DIY stores, you can get these round, black ant bait stations. They seem quite expensive for what you get, but that little 2” disc of ant poison is brilliant.
Ants are, if nothing else, ruthlessly efficient at finding and gathering food to take back to their nest. The bait station takes advantage of this by providing a poisoned bait which only kills them once they are back in the nest. Hence, it kills the nest itself, rather than just the ones unlucky enough to be in plain view when I was around.
The packaging claims that it can take around 3-4 days for full control. I stumbled on the entrance to a nest, popped a bait station nest to it and 12 hours later there wasn’t a single ant visible in that corner of the garden. Not loads of bodies lying around, just a whole nets has been eradicated.
It’s been a while since I started this mission, but the difference has been amazing. Yes, it has been wet recently, but the number of ants which have been spotted wandering around has been very small indeed. I think that there’s very few ant nests remaining in our garden; the only work I need to do is to make sure that ants from the neighbours’ gardens don’t start exploring our house too much and we’re sorted.
A very good result.