Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ants aren't marching on...

I was sitting at my desk yesterday, thinking how great it was that the ants have been in fewer numbers lately.  Then I spied out of the corner of my eye about three of them hanging around the handset of my office phone.  I had seen them crawling around it in the past and they've left little treats in the receiver cradle.  I picked up the handset and shook it.  A single ant came out of the hole where the wire connects to the handset, plus I heard some stuff rattling around.

Dead ants and pupae, the black mass on
the paper includes more smashed ants
I pulled the cable out and shook it again and soon ants were pouring out of the hole (it reminded me of the movie, Joe's Apartment, where cockroaches come pouring out of every hole in the apartment).  I kept shaking it so that they would fall of onto my desk so I could smash them, rather than have them try to and bite me.  After smashing about fifty ants, I went to get the guy in the office next door to me since he said he smelled formic acid whenever he used his phone and mentioned finding treats in his handset cradle as well.   After seeing my plight he went to his office and did the same.  Only he took his handset outside.

A small sampling of the ants freed
from our phones outside
I realized that his maneuver was more intelligent and decided to do the same.  Pretty soon we had over three hundred ants crawling around on the stairs outside our office, just from our two phone handsets. It was pure pandemonium.

After about an hour of shaking our handsets we got to the point where no more ants were coming out.  I asked my office mate if he wanted to check his phone.  He shook it and I could hear things rattling in there, but he simply responded, "No ants." And then he went home for the day.

I grabbed his phone and shook it after he left.  Large bits of debris fell out.  I shook it again and about fifteen ants came pouring out.  I quit shaking it and put it back down, thinking that my curiosity had been satisfied and I didn't want to clean up any more ants.

After that I hooked up the vacuum cleaner to my handset and sucked out five more and a couple pupae.  Then I cleaned my desk with some harsh chemicals to clear out any seeking pheromones they might've left around.  Then I shook it again and got nothing.  Feeling satisfied I plugged it back in and taped over the hole.

Five minutes later I had an ant crawling across my desk.  It was a crazy day at work, with a very unproductive afternoon, unless you count killing a hundred ants as productive.  I hope tomorrow is less eventful, and with fewer ants...

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