Yesterday I discovered about 100 unwanted houseguests in my living room, all trying to get a taste of the traces of peanut butter left behind in my dog’s Kong toy. What kind of uncouth intruders would do such a thing in such alarming numbers? Ants. Blech.
While I am not crazy about them in my home, I will say there are some facts about ants that I find interesting, if not downright impressive.
- They are small but mighty—able to lift up to 20 times their own body weight. That means if I had the strength of an ant, I could easily lift a Volkswagen Beetle!
- And ants are designed to be impeccably generous. They have two stomachs: one for their own food and one for the food to be shared with their colony. I think humans have a lot we could learn from ants when it comes to taking care of our own kind and alleviating hunger.
- Ants also maintain very structured societies where worker ants defend the nest from unwanted visitors, look for food, look after the young. Some ants are even given the task of cleaning the nest by removing waste and putting it outside in special trash heap.
- They are also capable of leaving scent trails so other ants can find food they’ve discovered. Again – all about the sharing.
- And perhaps the strangest thing I’ve learned about ants is that some species will steal the eggs of other species and when the eggs hatch, they force them to work as slaves within the colony.
I catch and release all pests/insects in my home – including mice, centipedes (you gotta be quick to get these guys!), and even ants. Yesterday, using a piece of paper, I picked up the ants in my living room and put them in a cardboard box. A jar would have been preferable, but I scooped them up quickly before they had time to escape the box. I then carried them outside, releasing them in my driveway, far from where they were entering the house. When I came back inside, I sprinkled cinnamon in a line near their entrance. Stragglers dared not to cross the line, leaving the house immediately upon entering.
The next step will be scrubbing the area with vinegar to erase any scent trails they have left behind. And as long as the cinnamon is guarding the entrance, I doubt I’ll see another unwanted guest any time soon.