15 August, 2016


We were invaded yesterday. Nous was making dinner and felt something crawling on his leg. When he checked, he discovered it was several somethings. I noticed this--interrupted the liberation of the Citadel, in fact--when he starting loudly brushing his legs (he can do that. It's a superpower) and announcing that We Have Ants.

And we did, indeed, have ants: a column of tiny little brown ants marching from the hinge-corner of the front door, past the welcome mat and around the shoe-rack, gentle bearing right at the shoe-rack, then a harder right into the kitchen just past the alter. And then they promptly disappeared under the dishwasher, with the occasional sideways step into an empty cat bowl. This was an organized, orderly procession, maybe 3 inches wide and, well, a good 15 feet long.

Not okay.

welcome in my house
Ants are a feature of SoCal, and by feature, I mean unfortunate inevitability. We had them in student housing in the bathroom; they came up through the gaps between pipes and plumbing fixtures. They're kind of everywhere. And while I have no special objection to bugs, the rule is Outside Unless You're A Spider, Motherfucker.

Spiders, however, have a tendency to die in this house, since Skugga is Enemy of All Things With Exoskeletons except ants, which he was more interested in observing. Clearly we would need to find another solution.

So here is how you stop ants from trafficking all over your apartment, without poison.


Kill a bunch of ants. Leave their little corpses where you smashed them. Their compatriots will find them by the trail of the distressed hormones. Put cinnamon (or garlic powder, or peppermint) along where they're getting in. I sprinkled cinnamon all over the carpet procession. There was immediate panic.

There was more panic in the kitchen, where Nous was gleefully smashing ants.

Then we removed the cat bowls from the fray and... left it. It's hard to step around ants in your kitchen, but patience is key. The ants cleaned up the majority of the corpses. Within an hour, they were gone. No more ants anywhere. I washed the floor, and then I sprayed some vinegar under the dishwasher, just in case. I left a pile of cinnamon at their initial entry point, so the front door area smells like autumn baking and not The Hell That Is Summer.

And that ends the story of the ants.