This should be a blog about the fun visit from our Washington family and then the fun visit from our California family. But both visits were preceded by and usurped by our carpenter ant invasion. In spite of our efforts in the weeks preceding the family visits, we were not making much progress on the ant war, so we called in an exterminator. As far as I can tell, he didn't accomplish much either except make us poorer.
Eventually, Spinosad came to the rescue. I had never heard of Spinosad until I read the label on the ant bait I bought (but had not used) months ago from Gardens Alive! (when the carpenter ants last reared their ugly heads). Spinosad, I learned from the web, is nontoxic to mammals and fish and most everything else except ants and some other insects and is the only pesticide allowed on organic crops. Our ants loved it. I put bait containers where we found the ants coming in and out of the walls. Johnny caulked every other spot we could find. We squished ants, cleaned cupboards, counters and floors... and refilled ant bait containers often.
Besides ants, we still had leavings from the chipmunk that had been running around our house earlier... and subsequently trapped inside when Johnny plugged up all the gaps between floors and walls. Before we were able to get the little rodent out, he (she?) had made a very comfy nest in a chest of drawers storing linens in the playroom. And had made a mess of that entire room. Plus stole and stored noodles everywhere. So all that had to be cleaned out before company arrived.
As of this writing, the ants appear to be gone. I love Spinosad. http://www.2ndchance.info/fleas-spinosadGarden.pdf
And our house is, while not pristine, a heckuva lot cleaner than usual.
However, our company did not get to enjoy an ant-free house. The numbers did diminish over the weeks with the Washington crew getting the worst of it. They came last Saturday and left Monday. The California kids arrived Tuesday and left yesterday (Friday). Well, left here yesterday. They missed their flight when their chauffeurs (us) got stuck in a traffic tie-up on the way to the airport. They spent last night in a hotel near the airport and flew out early this morning.
Amazingly, everyone seemed to have a good time and were very gracious about the ants. Kestrel and Cedrus declared the ants to be "secret agents" and alerted me whenever they found a secret agent "spying". Kevin and Ian had slept in a tent in the front yard, thereby missing the night-time ant trauma that Jessica endured with good grace upstairs. Kevin left the tent set up for Kestrel and Cedrus, but they did not want to sleep outside so we bought a little tent and erected it indoors, complete with mattress and sleeping bags. The kids loved it.
I'll save the rest of the photos from both visits for the next blogs... when I promise not to talk about ants.