Home Again, But Not Alone

The fireworks down the street have finally stopped. Six Feet Under has just ended. And I’m home again, from another great weekend, settling back in with the cats.

But we’re not alone, alas. My little monster cats, who usually eat their way through any quantity of food left for them, hadn’t touched one of the bowls I’d left for them, and it took me longer than it ought to have to figure out why — a trail of ants, stretching all the way across the apartment, had invaded the bowl. And I’ve got a pantry moth infestation, to boot.

I’m realizing that I haven’t had to deal with vermin at all for the last several years, and I’m a little alarmed as I contemplate why. The campus maintenance and gardening folk must have routinely sprayed the hell out of the outside of the faculty residence, at a minimum. They may even have sprayed inside, but if so, I had no idea.

Ick. The point, of course, being that I’ve got to start dealing with the vermin now. So now I’m madly googling info on getting rid of ants and pantry moths, and hoping for relatively easy and low-chemical options. Any advice?


  1. Windex, my friend. Squirt the trail well with it, sit back, and enjoy the sight of writhing formicular bodies.

    They’ll make another trail — that is now the Donner Pass of ant trails — a few days later, and you’ll do the same again.

    It will take them longer to build the next trail, and longer for the next, etc., but you will do the same each time. Eventually, they get the idea.

    All for the cost of a bottle of Windex.

    Believe me, I’ve been through the Bug Wars. It sounds too easy to be true, but it works. (Unless, like a friend, you’re too soft-hearted to watch them writhe, in which case you’ve got a problem.)

  2. Oh, I’ve got no problem with watching bugs writhe, something which no doubt earns me major karmal demerits. But I do have a problem with screwing up the finish of my lovely wood floors. I’ll have to check and see if Windex is safe there, but I fear it won’t be…

  3. Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. Do you have real wood, rather than Pergola or whatever that stuff is?

    If you have the Pergola, you should be okay. We had that in our SF loft, and since you wipe up the Windex (now body-strewn) afterwards, the floor doesn’t get that much ammonia exposure.

  4. For better or for worse, it’s real wood. Engineered wood (meaning finished before it gets installed), but real. I wonder if a solution of Murphy’s and water might work. Do ants hate soap?

  5. Depends on how you define “hate.” I hate beets the way that ants hate soap, in that we’ll eat them/it if pushed but would strongly prefer not to.

    I wouldn’t describe myself as hating plutonium, but my feelings about plutonium are probably similar to ants’ feelings about ammonia (the main ingredient in Windex).

    If ants had any feelings, of course, which one doubts. In terms of bad karmal points, I have, when under attack, wished that they *did* have emotions just so they would feel the Great Windex Death even more.

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