Yikes! Ants!


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:

  1.  Spray the wooden pillar with bug killer.
  2.  Place the poison tin out of reach of curious felines.
  3. Apply the poison gel to the support rod and around the moat cup.
  4. 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.

Published in: on June 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have used Vicks, Vaseline, anything smelly and sticky and they work pretty good. I smear it on the branches surrounding the hanger within a couple of inches or so and all the way down to the top of theI feeder. Works pretty good but messy on the hands. Someone told me you could use baby powder too as far as ant control in the house – works like cornmeal probably.

  2. Interesting. I, of course will be looking for a noticeable dip in the numbers of Ruby Throats at my feeder several miles away. If I do think the population has dropped, I will notify PSHAW (Protective Society of Hummingbird Aficionados Worldwide) and they will immediately make a trip to Bokovoy Lane and take appropriate measures.


  3. I ditto the cornmeal application. I even use cornmeal at my doorsteps and under my sinks. I do live in the tropics after all and there a big aggressive ants (aka Fire Ants) in these parts.

  4. We sprinkle cornmeal around our bee hives and have noticed a decrease in ant populations. Supposedly they take it back to the nest and can’t digest it and die.
    Our hummies and chickadees like to sit on the edge of the cup so we wouldn’t put anything on that. Good luck.

  5. My problem is rolly pollies….they are EVERYWHERE. in my house! Under the couch is a polly graveyard.
    I too have purchcased the dome ant traps and they have worked well for me also.

    • Thanks for the tip. When I looked for the ant traps on Amazon, I read where one guy smeared his moat with petroleum jelly and claimed it worked. I’ll give that a try first.

  6. Entertaining as always, Warren. It especially stuck a cord as I was sitting at my desk and an ant crawled across the top of it – where the heck did that come from ! I buy something called “Ant Traps” for my hummingbird feeders and they seem to work quite well. It is a dome like thing with probably some horrible chemical in it that hangs above the H B feeder. I just bought a couple at Fleet Farm.

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