May 28, 2012

Unwanted Dinner Guests

Friends, I have some unfortunate news to share: I think I may have to abandon my compost bin.

This breaks my heart because I'm betting I produce more than your average amount of fruit and vegetable scraps than your standard single American. For the past three years I've been composting, I would keep a little bucket of vegetable scraps on my counter and take all of the delicious remnants to the bin on my patio when it was full. Now, one would imagine that this would be a smelly, bug-attracting routine, but that hadn't been my experience at all. That is until this weekend.

Not once, but twice this weekend I have come home to a kitchen ridden with hundreds of ants (and I'm known for keeping a very tidy space and kitchen). For the life of me, I couldn't find where they were entering my tiny home. But they were there, oh, were they there. I started with vinegar and tried to wipe everything down with the pungent deterrent to no avail. I tried leaving drops of honey to attract the unwanted guests and then drown them in it's sugary goodness, but letmetellya, these are the dumbest ants I've ever seen. They would walk in circles and circles going nowhere and were not in the slightest bit attracted to my sweet traps. Not even one.

Then, I read online about how ants leave scent trails for each other and when you kill one another scent trail is left, continuing to attract more and more ants. The online article's solution? Window cleaner. I swear I went through half a bottle of Windex this weekend alone, but it did the trick. Along with more vinegar, furious cleaning and vacuuming every single nook and cranny, I haven't spotted the same crowd since.

Anyway, back to the compost bin. I want to compost, it's such a great way to reduce the amount of trash I'm putting in the landfill, get rid of receipts and other printed financial statements to halt identity thieves, and of course, provide rich and intense nutrition for my container garden. I've found composting results in the most rich, wonderful-smelling earth that you can imagine. But this year, with the extremely mild winter it also means bugs and spiders. Lots and lots and lots of bugs and spiders. I don't mind sharing the bounty as long as it's an outdoor dinner party. But these bugs just don't know their manners and have been inviting themselves into my home. So, what's a girl to do? Keep composting? Take the summer off?

BTW, I spared you from a picture of my unwanted guests because I didn't want you to have the same creepy, crawly dreams I have the past two nights.


chimes said...

I hate using poison, but with ants, it's the only way to get rid of them. Terro is what I swear by. I put some out last year after getting a rather huge invasion and after about 2 days they were completely gone. and I haven't seen any since.

Katie said...

Terro is the best (maybe only) way to get rid of ants. They eat it, and than take it back to their colony, and it kills them all. Yes, kind of sad, but unless you want to find ants in your food, it's the only way to go. It's actually very safe too, it's basically sugar and borax. I've had ants in almost every home I've lived in (the bathroom even, in one instance!) so it's probably not your compost bin's fault, if that makes you feel better! We used some last week, and they were all gone in 48 hours. It's amazing stuff:)

Steph A said...

Oh no! Composting isn't as easy as it seems. Here's what i do: i use a pail in the kitchen but i empty it into the bin after i've done the dishes for the night. I don't put any grains in it. I have a bin that's open to the ground and far from the house so that the bugs have someplace to go when i open it up. And i try to add dry leaves and turn the dirt once a week to help the food break down fast. I hope you'll find a way to keep composting! It's a wonderful thing to do. :)

Steph A said...

Sorry—by "grains" i meant processed grains, like bread, pasta, cereal, etc.