Posted by: scribe9 | May 28, 2010

Inveterate invertebrates

I thought that with autumn falling, and windows being closed, I’d have lots less to do with insects. Certainly the number of dead moths and chafers on the floor has dropped precipitously. (I should note for the record, however, that chafers are now dying on my doormat, and I have no issues with the two mantises who pray on my deck.)

However.  We had a big rainstorm two weeks back, and a couple of ants made it into the bathroom every day for a couple of days.  Not too bad, and certainly much easier to take than the worm that showed up in the sink. (Remember the Kiwi ethos of “good enough.” Except for toilet pipes, drain pipes have a gap outside the house, at least in houses the age of mine.) And I’d learned my lesson early on about keeping the counter clean to keep the ants at bay.

But all bets are off now. The other morning I came out to the kitchen to find ants all over my electric kettle. What’s up with that? It’s perfectly innocent; all it does is boil water. But they were inside and outside of it, and on the drainboard, too. Yuck. So I put the kettle outside and cleaned off the drainboard.

The next morning–yesterday–I discovered that the ants had attacked the silverware drawer. Just a field trip, I guess. But I was getting tired of the tedious rigamarole of sweeping ants away, and decided to do some research on how to spare myself the trouble. My mother, who as far as I know never had to deal with ant invasions, would have told me to call the county agent. But they don’t have county agents here, so I did what I do in the states when I have a home ec question: I went to http://www.home-ec101.com/, whose slogan is “Real solutions for real people with real lives.” I was instructed to wipe down the area with a dilute solution of white vinegar. Fine, I had a fresh bottle of rice vinegar.

So this morning I came out to the kitchen and inspected the area I’d wiped with the vinegar solution. No ants. But then Rick told me to turn around. On the other side of the kitchen–further from outside–ants were all over one of the cupboards, inside and out, and I could see their little freeway above the door frame, down the wall on the other side, and around the kitchen garbage can (which they weren’t very interested in–go figure).

So–another round of wiping things down with diluted vinegar. At least this should keep my arms in shape. And tomorrow morning I’ll steel myself before I enter the kitchen.

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