Is it just my house or have ants taken over the world? Oh sure, they’ve always been around, pesky little devils that they are. But now, they’re everywhere; on the driveway, in the yard, in the house, and worst of all, in the hummingbird feeder. Once an ant gets in the sugar water, the hummer turns up his nose like a kid looking at a plate full of broccoli.
My feeder hangs from a rod mounted on a wooden pillar on the back deck. It’s at least six feet off the floor. A new mixture, freshly hung, would be discovered by the ants in no more than 37 seconds. Our favorite problem solver, the Internet, had a solution. What you do is buy an feeder accessory in the form of a little cup. Place the cup between the feeder and the support rod via wire or whatever, then fill it with water. Voila! A moat. There was no mention of miniature crocodiles but it was a moat and ants don’t like to swim, at least my ants don’t.
Problem is, heat and evaporation deplete the moat water in about, oh, a day and a half depending on the wind and temperature. The ant scouts immediately call back to the colony via smart phones. “The moat is dry. Let’s eat.”
I tried spraying the wooden pillar with Ortho Bug Spray, soaked that baby down. Somewhat effective, but again, time and weather comes along and you’re back to square one. Back to the Internet and a search for ant killer. There was a plethora of products. I chose the cheapest of course. It came in the form of a small round tin with 4 holes. The ants, the label declared ,would sample the gourmet ant food inside (laced with poison, hee, hee,) and carry it back to the Queen where all involved flop over dead in an eating orgy. That was the theory. Apparently a few survived, a couple hundred thousand of them.
I went for a poison gel, the best on the market. Hang the cost. Ah, but I had to be careful, very, very careful. There was a warning label. KEEP AWAY FROM PETS AND CHILDREN! Yes, the cats. Always around, always a problem. And if one of the little darlings should happen to lick the poison well, talk about ugly. I’d be living in a van down by the river.
Working through the limitations, my latest plan was to:
- Spray the wooden pillar with bug killer.
- Place the poison tin out of reach of curious felines.
- Apply the poison gel to the support rod and around the moat cup.
- Fill the moat with water (sans crocodiles).
I mixed a fresh batch of tasty nectar for Mr. & Mrs. Ruby-throat and within the hour the birds were drinking and partying like it was New Year’s Eve on 1999.
I’m really hoping the ant poison doesn’t get in the nectar otherwise I’ll be known as the Kool-Aid Killer of Hummers, an avian Jonestown. Best laid plans and all that.