Friday, May 20, 2011

odorous house ant ~ 05/20/11 ~ at home

best guess odorous house ant
best guess Tapinoma sessile
for more information click here and here

Andy was having problems getting internet connection, so we checked behind our desks to inspect the cable modem and router. Surprise! A small ants' nest had formed on a warm power brick.

We turned off our computers, unplugged the power strip, and moved everything possible away from the wall without disturbing the nest. I took an old hand towel and a large bowl full of hot H2O with Dawn dish soap. I squeezed out the liquid from the towel, and then, as quickly as I could, I smothered, smooshed, and wiped up the ants and eggs. This took numerous attempts to get all the ants, which immediately went into a frenzied alarm mode of carrying eggs and scurrying everywhere with their butts in the air. Our office reeked of formic acid, a name derived from ants (family: Formicidae) which give off a slightly sweet and distinctive odor. With fresh soap solution and towel, I scrubbed the rug, wall, and all the electrical cords and let them air dry.

I also found a second nest on another warm power brick to my printer. The nests must have formed within the previous week, because I had just cleaned the area near my printer. Interestingly enough, it had rained 05/14-05/18/11. The last information link below the ID above is from Stanford, and it claims rain brings in the Argentine ants (Linepithema humile). While T. sessile is a different species, they, too, like to come in from the rain. I believe the point of entry was where the cable entered the office from outside, so I caulked all around the cable and wall plate. We haven't seen an ant in the office since, but it's only rained one day in June since then. Plus, our internet connection booted right up, which may have been due to a brief power outage from the storm and not the ants' nests.


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

So this was a computer antivirus?

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Haha! Great pun!

Sue Langley said...

katie, I discovered only a day or two ago, some ants on my laptop!. I Googled "ants in my laptop" ('course!) and was surprised to learn that ants like the warmth of electronics. I then found this unusual way to get rid of them ...I just posted this on my FB over the weekend. I thought you might like the link! hahaha


Nature ID (Katie) said...

Yep, several species of ants like the warmth of household items, like electronics, heaters, water pipes, etc, for their nests; they don't all nest in the ground. So, do you think you have a nest or just some random foraging ants? I'm amazed the water trick worked overnight. Thanks for the link, Sue!

Sue Langley said...

New development on laptop ants!

Last night about ten, I opened up my laptop and out poured the ants, that before were appearing only in ones and twos! Luckily I had remembered the instructions for what to do, because it would have been impossible to concentrate on searching Google while the ants were so active.

I placed the laptop on an upturned bowl sitting in a flat pan of water. I put the whole thing out on a patio table and I set a wooden spoon connecting the laptop to the table. Luckily there is a very low dew point at night. In the morning the ants seems to be gane just like the net link had said. Nice!
I did check the battery compartment( the only compartment I felt confident opening) and there were no ants there.
The ants are attacking my hummingbird feeders and coming into the kitchen as well. Ant season!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Good to hear that it worked for you. It's definitely ant season!