I breathed a deep sigh of relief when entering my home Thursday after work. For the first time in a week, my kitchen didn’t resemble a war zone.

It wasn’t dirty; actually it was far from that stage. The kitchen was clean, except for the piles of noodles, cans and boxes cluttering every free space available, a direct result of some unwanted creatures converging on our home — ants.

Everything started last week when we noticed a cluster of small, reddish-brown ants scurrying around on our counter. My wife immediately sprayed the area and checked around the windows and the floor boards to see if any ants remained. It appeared the coast was clear and we returned to our normal, ant-free life. Then last Thursday, the true battle began.

After I placed a box of crackers on the counter, more ants appeared, in almost the exact spot as earlier in the week. Instead of being fooled this time, my wife questioned what previously rested on the counter, which led us into the cupboards. At that point, we realized the ants tricked us into believing they infested the counters, when in actuality, they were living the plush life in our cupboards.

Little did they know they were messing with my wife, and trust me, they should have picked a different target.

She cleared out a part of the cupboard and sprayed mercilessly. The ants disappeared, only to reappear the next day in another part.

So she brought back out the vacuum cleaner and sucked up all the live and dead ants, and made sure to spray the area clean, before we took off for a wedding last weekend. Not being the best exterminator in the world, I joined my daughter on the sidelines as a good cheering section for when the vacuum disposed of the household pests.

When we returned home, we were disappointed to say the least. More ants made there home in our cupboards, prompting my wife to bring out the big guns.

Instead of making the entire house covered in ant spray, my wife took a different approach this time and went to clever hunting methods by using bait.

After doing a little research on that fabulous (yet dangerous) tool called the worldwide web, I discovered we may have hindered our animal control efforts by spraying, since some ants spread out when threatened by poison.

Another problem occurred with our lack of knowledge discovering where they were coming from. We couldn’t figure out their entry point, so we couldn’t eradicate our problem completely.

But with bait, the ants take the poison back home, killing off the source of the problem.

To make sure we reached all our house guests, we emptied everything out of our cupboards (that was salvageable; thank goodenss I bought garbage stickers this week, or my trash load would have reached epic proportions by next week) and placed the baby gate between the kitchen and the living room.

At first, our daughter protested, throwing all her toys into the kitchen, daring one of us to let her in on the party. But we didn’t, and she was quarantined to specific rooms for the week (as was I for that matter while my wife participated in the ant war).

By Thursday night, the plan appeared to work and my wife calked openings around the home. Dead ants littered the unsprayed areas, and no new ants joined the party.

If only the ants would have consulted me first, I could have saved many of their lives. In all the battles I’ve waged in that house with my wife, I’m still waiting for my first win. The ants never stood a chance.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.

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