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By Stephanie Wagner

There goes another one! Ants in our bathroom!  Teeny, tiny sugar ants waltzing along the bathtub.  I am a huge believer in living with wildlife but I’m not sure I want to share my home with these outsiders.  How can we live together and respect each other’s space?  I absolutely refuse to use chemical insecticides either inside or outside my home. I strongly believe we need to let natural processes govern the ecological system we live in.  When ants are outside the house they are eaten by birds and predatory insects like spiders. I prefer to let that system work without doing anything to disrupt those natural interactions. 

But what about those ants that decide they want to live in my house?  I am sometimes ok with letting a spider (or two) set up residence to catch stray insects that come inside. But there is no way a few random spiders will control an all-out ant invasion.  This is when I resort to ant traps made from a solution of sugar and a little borax placed on cotton balls in a jar with holes in the lid. The ants are attracted to the sugar and end up ingesting the borax, which eventually kills them. The borax is carried back to their nest and can end up destroying the entire colony.  Such is the consequence of making their way into a habitat where they are not welcome. 

This approach is very different from randomly spraying insecticides, either inside or outside my home, that kill a wide range of insects including the predatory insects that help keep the system in balance.  I work to live with all wildlife including invertebrates that are sometimes considered pests. Most insects that make it into my house are patiently carried outside with a reminder they are not welcome inside my habitat.  So back to those ants on my bathtub – definitely too small to catch and carry outside. Presently there are just a few ants showing up rather randomly.  I am mainly curious about where they are coming from and what is attracting them.  There is no food for them that I can identify. Why are they coming to my bathroom and how did they get in there? So for now I am just watching and learning.  I’ll let you know what I find out!