If anybody should know how to have a pest free home, it oughta be me, but household pests are incredibly persistent, and pest problems can happen to anyone. You don’t have to just deal with it though, and you don’t have resort to harmful chemicals or expensive exterminators either. If you promise not to judge me too harshly, I’ll tell you my tale.
Chapter 1: Ants come in because of the rain.
Summertime in Florida is known as ‘hurricane season’ and even though we haven’t had any serious storms, there’s been plenty of rain.
It was after 2-3 days of constant downpour that my 7 year old informed me there were ants crawling along the mopboard in our front room. Knowing that most ants are harmless, I didn’t even bother looking and forgot all about it. The next day, she told me they were still there. My 3 year old son and I watched them for a few minutes and found the tiny crack where they were coming from. The ants ignored us, despite my son’s shouts, “Go away you big fat meanie ants!” I asked my husband to seal the opening with silicone caulk and felt like a pest control pro for remaining unruffled.
Chapter 2: Ants stay because of the food.
A day later, my daughter reached for a banana on the kitchen counter, but found more ants instead. My cavalier attitude was turning to frustration -- I had just bought those bananas yesterday! Suppressing the urge to kill the little buggers, I watched them walk along my counter for minutes that felt like hours. The ants were coming from behind the stove.
I cleaned the kitchen, steam mopping the floors and wiping down every surface with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water plus a few drops of dish soap. This would get rid of every crumb, every jelly smear, and every drip drop of juice my family of 6 had spilled, along with every pheromone laden scent trail the ants may have left behind. Even though the bananas were a total loss, looking around a sparkling clean kitchen left me with a sense of satisfaction.
But the next day, my worst fear came true -- the ants had appeared again, in my pantry this time. My patience with this ant invasion had been exhausted, and worrying about how much food I’d have to throw out and replace was weighing heavily on my mind. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t possibly spray a can of ant killer that close to the food my kids grabbed for snacks every day.
Chapter 3: Ants go away when the home becomes inhospitable.
I knew what I had to do. I just didn’t want to do it. For longer than I’m willing to admit, I’d been pinning pictures of Pinterest-perfect organized pantries, but I kept procrastinating the actual work. Now I had no choice.
Once again, I let minute after minute drag by while I observed these six-legged savages. They were coming out of a gap where the laminate flooring and the mopboard didn’t quite meet; then they were climbing about 6 feet up my wall; then they were disappearing into a box. What was in that box? You might be as surprised as I was, because I had completely forgotten about the bag of candy corn I bought for half price after Halloween -- the bag I had opened and used as a treat to bribe a belligerent child, and then hidden in the furthest corner, on the highest shelf so no one would find my stash. Even though I had no idea it was there, these sweet-seeking insects had zeroed in on their target and were executing a precise strike.
I took every single item out of my pantry and inspected it carefully. Anything that was already open, like sugar, flour, instant mashed potato flakes, etc… was placed inside a Ziploc bag or air tight container. The walls, shelves, mopboards and floor got the vinegar treatment. Every single item (except the candy stash) was returned to the pantry shelves in an orderly manner.
And then, for the coup de grace to this ant infestation, I pulled out an unassuming cardboard box. Inside were two smaller boxes, one containing the new Pouch Pod™ from earthkind®, and the other containing a pouch of Stay Away® Ants. The pouch pod hangs perfectly from the top pantry shelf, helping the minty herbal scent of the ant repellent pouch last three times longer than it would on its own.
I’ve inspected the pantry 2-3 times a day for the past week, and haven’t seen a single ant. The only reminder of my ant encounter is a neat and tidy pantry, and the lovely botanical scent of Stay Away® Ants.