Do you *want* ants? Because that’s how you get ants.

So when I was growing up my mom never made my sister and I clean anything except our rooms because she said that it was too much trouble because she’d just have to go back and fix everything behind us because she was very particular in her cleaning, and so that’s pretty much how I parent too but today my parents are coming to visit and I just found a shitload of ants in my kitchen which is always a sign that I’ve waited too long to clean so I was like, “Hailey, you have to help me clean” and I told them to unload the coke cans from their box and put them in the fridge but they had the box sideways so when they took the first two cans from the box and walked away all of the other cans rolled out of the box and off the bar and smashed into the kitchen floor and projectile sprayed coke all over the entire kitchen and also part of the living room and probably the ants are like, “FUCK YEAH” and now I see that my mother was right all along.

Or possibly very wrong.

Hard to say.

83 thoughts on “Do you *want* ants? Because that’s how you get ants.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. That is totally a me move except then I’d have to clean it up while trying to keep a 100 lb dog from drinking it all.

  2. Reminds me of the time I made split pea soup in an old time pressure cooker. I didn’t really know to operate it and the pressure blew the pea soup all over the kitchen and worst of all, on the ceiling. Have you ever tried to clean pea soup out of a popcorn ceiling?

  3. Diatomaceous Earth (DE), baby! Kills ants, fleas, and is safe for humans and animals. We had a really bad flea infestation. While we sprayed with insecticide — the DE while messy is a game changer. We sprinkled it every where and left it for three weeks (made the hubs crazy) and we haven’t seen a flea on the animals or us since.

  4. Welcome MOM! To make you feel right at home, the kitchen is both sticky & infested!!! Merry Early Christmas present!!!

  5. Ants? Or maybe call them ‘Anties’. Invading relatives sounds so much less insectal and buggy. 🐜🐜🐜

    – E

  6. Step 1. Make that kitchen sparkle and act like that is how it always looks. Step 2. Tell your mom you’ve had an ant issue and no matter what you try they keep coming back. Step 3. Wait for the sage mom advice and wisdom to take care of the problem.

  7. A similar situation happened to me. With a giant bag of cat food. We lived in an old house that perpetually had ants, but at one point I thought we’d managed to get it under control. Fast forward to the day I set an brand-new just-opened bag of cat food on the counter and turned my back for one stupid second and the whole bag just toppled off the counter and basically exploded crunchy cat food all over everything. The cats were scared and then unbelievably excited. I was so over it that day I just walked out. I went outside for a little while, maybe half an hour, and when I came back there were SO MANY ANTS all over the kitchen. Were there ants already inside the bag of cat food?! Did they just ooze out of the floor tiles? It’s like they were just waiting under the cabinets for me to inevitably spill something epic and then they’re all like, IT HAS HAPPENED and then every ant in ant-shouting distance came running at warp speed. I’m so glad it wasn’t soda.

  8. Maybe if you call them Anties they will seem like invading relatives, and less ‘insectile’ and ‘buggy’.

    – E

  9. Weird, every time I post a comment here, it seems to disappear.

    If I have double posted, I am sorry.

  10. Optigard gel. They grab it up and take it back to the queen, killing the whole nest. I had a terrible ant problem when I lived in Florida, and this stuff was recommended by my exterminator. Works like a charm. You’ll have to squirt little bits of gel in places the animals won’t get to, especially in areas where you see the most ants but even in places where you’ve only seen one or two because they follow each other’s scent trails and you want to make sure any that come along after get their share of the gel.

  11. Eh, I just convinced myself that ants are just part of a Texas kitchen scenario. Mine come and go without rhyme or reason, so maybe they don’t even like Coke?!

  12. Yeah, I can totally relate to this. I have my teenage son empty the dishwasher and within the first several days a mini blind from the back door is broken in two because he tried to open the dishwasher while the backdoor was ajar and snapped the piece of blind. I have him feed the dog and the top to the plastic food container is forever not fully attached to the container anymore. I could go on.

  13. My mother didn’t let us do anything. She even made our beds. When my dad retired and they moved, I found myself on my own, not knowing how to do anything!! Couldn’t turn on a washing machine, had no idea how to make a bed, it was terrifying!

  14. I once dropped a huge glass jar of spaghetti sauce AND a glass bottle of olive oil at the same time and the resulting combination was nigh impossible to clean up. That was fun.

  15. What has worked for us for several years: mix cinnamon bark oil in a 1:100 ratio with water, and spray that around the countertop edges, shelves, baseboards, etc. It’s a deterrent, not a killer; spraying it onto ants may drown them but spraying it around their points of entry into your life will keep them from colonizing your world.

    It sounds like more work than it is, honest. I **hate** creatures in the house except for us and our cats and visiting family members. Twenty minutes of this is fine. And in that solution, I doubt that Dorothy Barker or any of her cohort would be harmed by checking it out. (Probably she’d just think “what fresh hell is this?” and go about her day.)

  16. Trace the ant trail back to its source (usually between two tiles). Saturate that area with Raid Ant Killer. Grab a bunch of paper towels and make them soppy wet. Swipe up the ants on the trail and throw the paper towels in the trash. Spray the trash. Problem solved.

  17. I once dropped a can of diet soda and it happened to get a small puncture hole. Turns out that if it lands just right, is shaken up from the fall, and has a small hole, it creates a spinning effect that will spray soda in an impressive circle. It was both fascinating and slightly horrifying. Fascinating because physics, and horrifying because cleaning-to-come. It was empty by the time I snapped out of the hypnotic trance. On the plus side, given that it was actually a diet soda, no sugar to attract the ants.

  18. I’m sure it’s probably less fun on your end, but I had to laugh. We had a Coke ‘incident’ in a van we used to have. It sprayed all over the windshield and passenger side. I’m sure it was still sticky when we got rid of it years later, though we had tried multiple times to clean it…

  19. We have ants that are drowning themselves in the cats’ water dishes. I suspect they are coming from the sunroom ceiling, again. I keep things as clean as I can and we have ant bait out 24/7. Still had two of the little buggers crawl up my long sleeves this morning. May have to block the sunroom off from the cats to do a massive ant massacre out there. Le sigh.

  20. It’s definitely a spray shit all over your house kind of day, only mine was a gallon of apple cider.

  21. Much empathy, Jenny! Ants invade my house several times a year, swarming the cat food, and it’s terrible!!

    But your Archer reference made her smile like crazy…

  22. My husband valiantly sprays the house for bugs every time he sees too many bugs, or hears me squealing from spider encounters. Your mom’s cleaning philosophy was my mother-in-law’s. Unfortunately this has led to my husband being very bad at cleaning. Or maybe very good at being bad so he doesn’t have to? Either way.

  23. Our oldest son and a friend tried making mead in his kitchen…in a glass jar…on the stove, w/o anything between the glass and burner. Yep – mead and glass explosion. And, later, ants. After I stopped laughing I said I felt sorry for him.
    [Side note: Coke shouldn’t attract too many ants in Texas; Dr Pepper, however…]

  24. Powdered boric acid. You can get it from a pharmacy, it’s an eyewash that isn’t harmful to cats or dogs or babies. You put it along cracks in the wall or the windowsill or between the oven and the countertop and behind the fridge, or wherever you see them traveling to and from. You can blow it into cracks between appliances and countertops or along the wall or windowsill with a straw. The ants (and cockroaches) take it back to their nest on their feet and when they clean themselves they ingest it and it kills the nest and the Queen.
    I once went through a drive through at a feet food restaurant and when they handed me my soda, it hit the top of my open window and the top popped off and soda flew at me all over myself and my seat and there was soda everywhere as I sat in a puddle of soda. The fast food worker just said oops, sorry, (like it was no big deal,) and took back the now empty soda cup and handed me a new full one. I had to go back to my work and had to continue to wear my soda covered wet hair and clothes for the rest of the day until my shift was over.
    The combo of spilled soda and ants and a house to clean with company coming over is enough to push me into a quivering ball of angst. Good thing company is your Mom! Moms usually make everything better and are great with cleaning and advising what to do about housework stuff, after all they are lifelong experts.
    May the rest of your holiday be fabulously without incidents.

  25. Watch Archer. Episode with donuts on the floor of the secret spy agency. Exact same quote. No spoilers, just watch!

  26. I’m also cleaning up in preparation for a parental visit and thought I could get the most important stuff done last night. Instead, our shower broke and it took serious force to get it to turn off. So, instead of cleaning, I spent my time going to Home Depot, disassembling part of my shower, breaking through loads of hard water deposits, and finally reassembling the whole thing.

  27. Oh Jenny, I feel ya. The other day I was moving a box of pins out of the reach of children. Promptly dropped box all over kitchen floor. Thank God for magnets!!!!!!

  28. When the army has the nerve to invades my space the kids know it’s best to hide as my maniacal laughter followed by my proclaiming it was time for me to bring out my “big ole caulk” has a tendency to frighten the natives… lord help them if their friends are over and they have to explain that their mother was shrieking about CAULK and to please not contact the authorities… I follow them to their source and caulk the hole and then the ones left across enemy lines get the cloud of flowery death (floral scented raid) it works and there is usually only about one attack a year if that now… Good luck!!

  29. This is exactly my cleaning philosophy. And my husband is all “you need to make the kids clean.” And I’m all “I can’t even get you to clean things properly, how am I supposed to get the kids to do it right?”

  30. I found some great bait traps a few years ago, recommended by a biologist friend. They take the bait back to the nest and vanish in a day or two. Terro liquid ant bait. Good luck!

  31. When I was in an apartment, Terro was the way to go. The ants swarm all over it for a couple days but then after they’ve shared it with each other they all die. It’s just a boric acid/sugar syrup, so easy enough to make yourself though I found it easier to just buy a bottle of the stuff and keep it under the sink to use when needed. The individual traps are convenient but they get expensive if you need to kill a lot of ants.

    But then I moved into a new house, which is surrounded by about a hundred ant nests, and every time I killed off one of them with Terro a different one would find the trail in and replace them. I had waves of ants back to back for weeks. Not even any food they could access, they just come into my house for shelter during the summer heat waves or winter rain.

    Now my go-to is Ortho Home Defense blocking every entrance. Every six months or so when the weather changes, the ants find a new entrance, like coming out of an outlet or a crack in the paint around a window frame or something. I follow their trail to the new source, spray on a layer of Ortho to block it, then sweep all the wandering ants back outside in a dustpan. Might find a few scouts in the following days that I missed with my sweeping, but it mostly takes care of them.

  32. I shouldn’t love a perfect stranger so fucking much but I do. I’m so happy I found you!

  33. I feel this so much. My mom was the same way, and my kids are. A friend once told me the secret to a clean house is to just spray Pledge near the door. People would come in to her house and remark on how clean everything seemed. This is not the case (as I found out) if you have linoleum at the door. Then they come in and slip and slide on a surface that is now completely friction-free and have to go to the walk-In clinic.

  34. Just another vote for cinnamon here. It worked for me. Adam Ant has a song called The Ant Invasion. Worth a listen.

  35. We can’t kill ants at our house….Buddhist husband….he gets them on a piece of paper one by one and takes them outside…usually apologizing to them for moving them. Time consuming.
    We did find out that our ants do not like cedar oil. So we watch to see where they enter and spread some cedar oil around. We have to do it every few days, but they do disappear after a while….probably lurking in the walls. The downside is now you have cedar oil spread in weird places.

  36. Oh Jenny!! I’m laughing and cringing at the same time. I dropped a jar of liquified duck fat this morning and now I have duck fat on the ceiling. It also took me nearly a whole roll of paper towels to clean it up. I’m not sure which is worse.

  37. My grandson, 11, stays up at our house until 1 AM. (Trust me, not our idea, his dad says he can) He loves to snack and when I got up Saturday morning, our counter was crusted in sugar and ants were trooping around a sugar spill on the floor. This was not the first time. Sigh.

    Then, since we are getting cabinets installed, after they were up, but way more had to be done, but the walls and ceiling had been painted, I knocked a tiny can of V8 out of the upper cupboard to the floor. That sucker spewed V8 on the ceiling and every new and white cabinet in the kitchen and all over the floor and walls. When I picked it up, it was still mostly full and sputtering!. Days later, I am still finding V8. Those cans are lethal. That’ll teach me to try to drink something healthy! Back to liquor!

  38. I work for a park district, so when we had an employee raffle the prizes were random things like new hard hats, chainsaw oil, and, for me, ant bait. I thought it was random at the time but I have used that raffle prize many times now!

  39. You’d make a fabulous Mallory Archer! Jessica Walter’s passing was one of the suckiest things about 2021. She was brilliant.

  40. I have one nearly empty ancient bottle of Ant Terro made back when it really worked. Made back when it contained arsenic.

    I hoard that bottle, only breaking it out when nothing else will work. Old Terro ALWAYS works.

    I understand why it had to be taken off the market–it was Blanche Taylor Moore’s secret ingredient, after all. I’m 65, and I just wish I could find one more bottle of the stuff to last me through my last couple of decades.

  41. ROFLMAO! I recognised the first line immediately and knew things were going to go pear-shaped rather quickly. Unfortunately for you & them, but good God, hilariously reported to the rest of us! 😀 I was reading this book, giggling to myself, then LOL when DH insisted I tell him what was so funny. We’ve been reading your books aloud ever since, usually through the tears of laughter.

  42. I have always found the soda “fridge packs” to work the same as the depth charge racks on old naval destroyers. Once they go, they go one after another, onto the floor like the fridge was hunting submarines.

  43. Bought a new house, did not realize the walk in closet was infested with fire ants until a day I changed shirts after a hike and did what is now infamously known in our family as “Mom’s Fire Ant Striptease Dance.” (Full disclosure, my husband’s immediate thought was that I was having some sort of seizure…🙄)

  44. Switch to Diet Coke …no sugar.. It attracts absolutely nobody , not even dates because supposedly it makes you fat or think your fat, I’m not sure I can’t keep up with change .
    Anyway at least the ants will be disappointed and when it dries its basically water that you’ve paid good money for to drink and use as a cleaning product..

    Ask Amanda? Or the Racoon.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  45. Thank you for the Archer reference!! I say this line every once in awhile and most of the time I get a very quizzical look in response. Sigh

  46. Darlin’ we’ve all been there. I used Diatomaceous Earth all around the inner *and outer* walls of the room being invaded by an Ant Army and they have NEVER shown up again. It’s been, like, 10 years… You can ask her advice (all Moms love it when their daughters ask and listen to their advice. note that I did not say “take their advice”…)

  47. When we were rehabilitating a river otter orphan in our clinic, she climbed on top of a freezer we thought was out of her reach, & knocked gallon jars of both bleach and detergent onto the concrete floor, where they both broke open. The glass bleach jar scattered shards all over the floor while the detergent made the whole place slippery. I didn’t want the otter coming down off the freezer until I’d cleaned it up, so I had to scream at her and growl while at the same time mopping, trying not to get cut or slip and fall. Didn’t think there was any chance to avoid total disaster, but my luck held. Turns out wild animals can be even less helpful at chores than teens and children.

  48. You just need to bring in something higher on the food chain – like an anteater! Pet anteaters will be all the rage in the future.

  49. Okay somewhat similar experience with me today, except I don’t have any children to help me. I was making tuna sandwiches and I picked up the jar of Kickin’ Chicken Finger Lickin’ seasoning, (which I use on everything) and gave it a big shake to loosen it up. BUT, the lid was on very loosely and at least 3 tablespoons went everywhere – including in my hair and down my front
    into my bra. My husband got to clean up my Kickin’ Finger Lickin’ boobs!🤣

  50. I was once cleaning old food and beverage containers out of the fridge and went to throw away an old 2 liter bottle of soda. It was only about a third of the way full and VERY old so I assumed it would be super flat. As I moved to take the cap off and pour the contents down the sink it partially slipped out of my hand, fell to the floor, and proceeded to spew a volcanic eruption of sticky, sugary soda all over EVERYTHING in the kitchen. And I mean everything. It took me months to find all the places it had sprayed. The back side of the fridge. The ceiling. The inside of the hood vent to the oven. The hard to reach bottom crevices of the fridge shelving. Felt like crying for a split second but it was so thoroughly absurd all I could do was laugh (part of why I love your page and your writing so much, Jenny!) This is all a long winded way of saying that I totally feel your pain.

  51. I once left a rental house (permanently) after the second time being woken up covered in ants. Ahhhh Texas.

  52. One year I had those nasty, enormous ants that kept crawling out from behind the bathroom medicine chest. I put out traps, I sprayed, it didn’t matter. They kept showing up. So finally I caulked all the way around the medicine chest. Haven’t seen one in the bathroom since. Bastards.qui

  53. OMG…ants. I hate them! I’ve found that peppermint oil helps repel them, because the scent is so strong it interrupts their ability to smell the other food they’re searching for. Also makes it hard for them to “follow the leader”. Remind me sometime and I’ll tell you the epic story of how I experienced a mental breakdown over finding my lap COVERED in ants and almost gave my neighbors a not-sexy strip show.

  54. I’ve noticed growing up in Texas ants will come in your house no matter how clean. If they want to come in they will.

  55. Has someone already mentioned “The ants go marching one by one: hurrah, hurrah?” The best advice here I believe was move.

  56. We had pharoah ants in our condo a couple of years ago. Kept finding the jerks floating in my cat water dish. The ENTIRE condo had to be exterminated.

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