We’ve had ants in this apartment ever since we moved in. Our househelper says it’s because we are on the second floor and surrounded by trees. I think she’s right. She also pointed out that the apartment below us has been vacant this whole time, so all manner of bugs are probably having a heyday down there and using it as the base of operations for expanding their reign of terror into the rest of the building. Okay, that’s paraphrasing and elaborating from the Mandarin, but whatever. It made me think of all the cockroaches, ants, and spiders that are living the good life right below our feet. Not exactly the kind of happy thought that will help you fly, Wendy.

Anyway, until four days ago, we only found ants in the back bedrooms or on the back balcony, where they seemed to just accidentally come trooping through the room on their way to somewhere else more interesting. We would sweep them away and that would be that. It was quite manageable.

“At least they haven’t found the kitchen yet,” I’d say to our househelper. She would nod in agreement. “Yeah, if that happened, they’d be much harder to get rid of.”

Well, find the kitchen they finally did. And they certainly have been much harder to get rid of.

Day One

I found three or four lines of ants going up and down the south wall of our little kitchen. After moving stuff around, I found what had drawn them in. Our sugar bowl, which has a screw top lid that I thought ants could not get into.


Um, they can.

They also got into another lidded jar that had the remains of precious powdered sugar, and into a bag of brown sugar that was clipped shut.


Ugh. Eric and I spent a long time spraying things with vinegar, wiping down the ants and their trails, dumping out the sugar and cleaning up everything. I also tried to make sure there wasn’t anything else they could get into, and thought we were done.

Day Two

Ants are very tenacious. It’s in the Bible and everything. So, they weren’t dissuaded by our efforts, and just moved their operation to the north wall of the kitchen, where they had discovered the trash can. (A metal trash can with a heavy lid, mind you. These guys mean business.)


More spraying and wiping and sweeping and such. There, that should fix them.

Day Three

I was pleased as punch to wake up in the morning and see an ant-free kitchen. Finally, I thought. Then I walked into the dining room. They were swarming all over our little sideboard and coffee cart. Stink.

It took me a long time to figure out what exactly they were getting into. They were on our coffeepot (“Oh great, they’re caffeinated,” my son joked), our blender, and one of the chairs. I suppose all those things may have had some kind of food residue, but didn’t seem enough to explain the hundreds of ants we were seeing going across the wall and floor. I finally realized we had a box of sugarcubes stored by the coffee and tea. I opened it up and found the inside covered with ants. Yup, that seemed to be the attraction.

More cleaning and swiping and drowning ants in the sink along with the sugarcubes.

We had friends over for dinner, and I lamented to one of them about the ants. By this time, there was hardly any trace of the fiends. We set three bottles of soda on the sideboard during dinner. Sometime during after-dinner coffee, my friend looked up and exclaimed, “Emily! Ants!” They were swarming on the soda bottles. Quick little buggers. More battling and cleaning.

Day Four

I’ve learned my lesson and knew when I woke up this morning that the ants may have found something new to attack. And they sure did. I found them all over our water dispenser. Really? Water? But there they are. More spraying and wiping.


At lunch, the floor under the table was suddenly covered with them. “Oh, yeah, there was like a little crumb of pancake there after breakfast,” my son reported, “but I cleaned it up. Maybe there’s just some residue?” These are some lihai ants, people.

After lunch, my daughter set her empty cup down, and about 10 minutes later, it looked like this.


It’s bedtime now, and I’ve checked and re-checked everything, and moved furniture, and tried to wipe and sweep and clean all I can. It looks like the coast is clear, but I don’t know what the ants will be up to while I sleep. I don’t know how long this battle will be waged, but I do know one thing: if I ever want to take over the world, I’m going to recruit ants for my evil, unstoppable army.

Life on the 2nd floor

Where everybody knows your name. And your apartment number.

5 hours or 109 miles, whichever comes first