(Which is a short story by Somerset Maugham.) We’ve had a few days of rain in the past couple of weeks, the tail end of the California storms which caused the typical mudslides. But they’ve been in a drought too, so they need the rain as much as we do. Nice sunsets (this from my cul-de-sac).
Christmas is Coming
My daughter and clan drove to Phoenix (where six of my son-in-law’s extended family live) for the long Thanksgiving weekend. (Because she’s a nurse, it means that she has to work Christmas day.) All three grandkids have their birthdays within a few weeks of Turkey Day, so there was a combined birthday party on Friday.
Happy Ho idays
Atom Ant and his pals
Javier Gerardo Miguelena Bada (PhD candidate, Department of Entomology, University of Arizona), expert on the brachymyrmex patagonicus, was kind enough to answer my email on my ant problem and recommend a poison.
We have tested several products against these ants. The one I can recommend is a gel bait that the ants feed on and share with the rest of the colony. Its name is Maxforce quantum ant bait, by Bayer. It can be bought online in several places. Here is a link showing some of them: https://www.google.com/search?q=maxforce+quantum+ant+bait&espvd=2&biw=1024&bih=636&tbm=shop&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=ENyRVNLzKJLsoATskoCYBA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1#q=maxforce+quantum+ant+bait&tbs=vw:l,p_ord:p&tbm=shop&spd=16583415594577743173
You should leave a small amount of bait in places were the ants are likely to feed on it. In Arizona, it is a good idea to replace the bait at least every other day. It might take a few weeks for the whole colony to die, since the active ingredient has to reach everyone in the colony. Even after you don’t see the ants anymore, you should still leave the bait out for them for 2 weeks. Of course, always keep the bait out of the reach of children and pets. If all this seems to cumbersome, you might want to call a pest management company.
But he thought the photo in the last blog was mine. Never had gotten a closeup of my own! Thought that I ought to take a few. Emailed those to him with this note:
Attached are two photos I just took. Not so good, ’cause it is almost 5:30 and it’s raining, but you get the idea, first of a close-up, then with the swarm (moving eggs? can’t tell what the white is), both on the edge of the spa, outside, when I pulled back the cover.
I guess I never looked close enough. These look more like linepithema humile than brachymyrmex patagonicus. (I’m an architect; I never studied bugs.) I had based my original identification on the color (black), the size (tiny) and the penchant for water mostly, but also sugar. However, these bodies are longer and thinner than the rover ants, although they don’t have the orange center of the Argentine ant.
I just shot one in the bedroom (they move from the sliding door from the outside, along the baseboard, to the bathroom), out of 20 tries (darn they are fast! and tiny!), that has the distinctive hind end (I know that’s not the scientific term!) of a linepithema humile. The pink is the shadow.
But the Maxforce Quantum controls many ant species, including Argentine ants.
I ordered a tube of the stuff which comes with 10 plastic bait stations. Hope it’s enough for the house and the outdoor spa. Unfortunately, until that’s delivered, my house sitter will have to vacuum ants daily.