Don’t Cry for me Argentina!

argentine ant

Friday the 13th we arrived and successfully backed into our beautiful site at Cedar Hill National Park in Texas.  I breathed a sigh of relief as we reached our destination safely and could now relax. 

The place was gorgeous!  I took a walk to the lake with the kids as Pete unhitched.  I was soaking in the beauty and fresh air and thinking about  hooping on the picturesque lakefront. I took a step closer to the water and sunk so far into mud that I lost my shoe and had to dig it out.  I should have taken this as a sign! The kids laughed so hard and were screaming, “Quicksand, quicksand!”

After setting up camp I left Pete with the dogs and took the kids to a friend’s house for a few hours. When we got home I noticed several ants on the floor between the bathroom and the pantry. I told Pete we needed to pick up some traps and get these little buggers before it gets worse. He gave me his usual inattentive, “Yes, dear.” that’s so common when he’s writing. I was completely exhausted from the drive and crashed right to sleep.

Pete was infused with caffeine and glued to the laptop as we all snored away in our little home on wheels. At about 2 am he came in distraught saying that he was having a 90’s psychedelic flashback and that the floor was moving. As he talked about maybe seeing one too many Grateful Dead shows I reluctantly got up to check it out. I assured him that he was not having a flashback but that it was something worse.  Thousands of ants were marching in zig-zag patterns everywhere I looked.  They were across the floor, along the walls, on countertops, and on the ceiling, even in our beds.

Like a well oiled machine they were systematically taking over our living space. I had never seen anything like it.  They were small and tickley and getting all over me.  If I leaned on the counter, they would climb up my arm.  I resisted the urge long enough and finally gave in to nature and had to use the bathroom. I was trying desperately not to let my feet make contact with the floor, so there I sat in my tiny bathroom with my knees to my ears!

ants by jackAnts by electric

I thought daylight would never come. This was really bad.  We Googled and posted questions on the RV forums as to what was happening and we soon learned that we were being invaded by Argentine Ants.  They are an insect that live in colonies numbering in the  hundred thousands and are so militaristic that they can drive any other species of bug out of their way. We had to find the source and plan our counter attack immediately or we were goners.

We were told to find the point of entry  and stop them with a barrier of Diathemaceous Earth, Vaseline, Borax, or Comet.

Lucky for us, our camp neighbor had some DE and helped us douse the entire site.  It seemed that we were the only ones around that were unaware of the ant problem at the park.

There had been a steady stream marching into our home all night long. They came up 3 of the jacks, up the electrical cord, and along the sewer hose.  Every drawer, corner, cabinet, nook, cranny, and body part was not without a six legged little creature.

When the kids woke up we carried them out the door and brought them directly to Denny’s for breakfast and dropped them back at our friend’s house.  We were blessed to have someone watch the kids and dogs for the day while we handled this situation.

Pete and I went to Home Depot and armed ourselves with an arsenal of DE, traps, Eco Spray and Vinegar.  We went to work one area at a time. All linens had to be bagged and brought to the laundromat, every cabinet had to be emptied. Any opened packages were thrown away. It reminded me of the hellish lice incident of 2009. I still shudder at that memory!

The plan of attack: Spray them dead and wipe them up. This took hours!  We worked our little butts off and removed the tiny carcasses by the boatload. It was a tough job but we were determined to reclaim our territory.

By the end of the day we had exterminated 98% of their forces. There was still a few stragglers hanging on, but for the most part we were pretty much back to normal.

And although the ants may be physically gone, their presence will live on in our psyche’s forever. Just last night I dreamt that they had returned in vengeance and were carrying Sadie away to their mound, mattress and all. I jumped out of bed reaching for my spray bottle.

Come on fate! What’s next? Bring it… we got this!

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Cry for me Argentina!

  1. Oh brother..gross..I dealt with little sugar ants all summer and I thought that was bad…I hate bugs!! thanks to the friend and chemicals!! xo

  2. Ants…No Uncles? Wow! What a story and I love your ‘take it on’ approach. It truly is the only attitude you can have with what you are doing.

    You are both my Heros.

    Peter

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  4. Ooooh! You sure handled it like true champs. My skin was itching as I read this post. Mommy deserves a glass of something after that nightmare. Glad to hear you had safe refuge for the kids with the kindest of friends. Adventure on!

  5. Oh my goodness. I can relate though. Years back I had gone away from my little house in St. Pete for a 4-day weekend. I left the kitchen light on. I walked back into my house to find my white cabinets had turned black, and the surface of the cabinets was moving. On closer inspection, I discovered I had thousands (and I mean thousands) or carpenter ants. I called an exterminator (who was both a client and a friend … so he ran right over). He discovered there was a huge nest in my attic. He said by leaving my kitchen light on at night, that drew them out. Mostly what I remember from that day was walking in, seeing dark moving things on my cabinet doors, and screaming at the top of my lungs.

    So, yeah, I sympathize!

    Other than the kazillion ants, the place sounds just peachy!

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