Tedly vs. Ants: Battle of organic matter

tedly ready to engage in the battle of organic matter against philippine ants in the kitchen

Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Ellen

The war continues. It’s a back-and-forth affair. But we will prevail.

As I detailed ten days ago, I have grown tired of Philippine ants. They have been a nuisance since we arrived in this country in mid-November 2019. And for whatever reason, they seem even more numerous and bothersome at our current location in Malay, Aklan on Panay island.

Honestly, ants have been an issue ever since we started spending our lives in tropical locations. And in our four-and-half years of global wandering we’ve learned the obvious lessons:

  • Don’t leave food out
  • Discard wrappers immediately
  • Watch for crumbs and splashes
  • Take out the trash often
  • Sweep, mop, wipe; keep things tidy

Still the ants keep coming. And now, I keep cleaning.

Granted, since I launched my anti-ant offensive, the problem has decreased. There have been no more columns of critters marching around our kitchen area. 

coffee grounds and hot pepper on the left to deter ants in the kitchen, trash hanging from tree on the right

The cleaning, spraying, and daily vigilance works. Further, they do seem to be repelled by the hot peppers and salt and even used coffee grounds that we have strategically kept in the kitchen. The garbage bags hung in the tree out back continue to prove effective too.

Occasionally, overlooked food morsels will draw a small crowd of Philippine ants. But aside from that, only the ever-present ‘scouts’ have been seen in our food-prep area.

Battle of organic matter

Still, each day, there seems to be some pitched battle. Lines of ant warriors appear in other areas and rooms: our living/dining space, the balconies, bedrooms, even the bathroom. The battle expands.

battle of organic matter: ants carry a large dead bug out of the apartment

It appears they are attracted by ‘other organic matter’ in these theaters. Namely insects that fly in and die or stuff that blows in. The lines of ant foot soldiers then converge on whatever detritus collects. In the photo above, they can be seen carrying another insect.

The weather is still mostly beautiful here. It’s a tropical environment. We open all our doors and windows to the sunshine and warm breezes most every day. Sweeping the edges and corners of all the rooms daily, sometimes repeatedly, is a necessary victory strategy.

The other thing which can bring an ant battalion seems to be gecko dung. Yup. We have a handful of geckos that live with us. Ellie says they eat mosquitoes (thankfully there are few) and they’re cute.

left - gecko on a window, right - gecko pellets in the battle of organic matter

But along the edges of the rooms, and especially behind our drapes, they leave their pellets. Vigilant sweeping and removal of these little ‘mines’ is a must.

Search and destroy

Finally, like a good spy, I have started following the ant trails when I notice any enemy activity. Usually, they lead to some crevice to the outside then down from our second level – or into another crack heading down.

For these tunnels and hiding places, I continue to sparingly use the can of chemical bug killer as a weapon to discourage further incursions.

left andts on a window sill, right bug spray

At this point, I feel good about the effectiveness of our battle plans. My morale is good and I remain determined to defeat the insidious enemy. And while the opposing army is huge, there are far fewer of them climbing on our goods and furnishings and bodies. The fight will continue.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails, & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Thanks for reading, “Tedly vs. Ants: Battle of organic matter.”

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4 thoughts on “Tedly vs. Ants: Battle of organic matter”

  1. Can’t relate to the ant issue so far here in Nicaragua. On the other hand, sweeping gecko poop is a daily chore. I don’t see many geckos but the amount of dung I sweep daily is amazing. I would swear there were a 100 yet I see very few.

    1. We saw few at first, but now there are more – many young ones that are smaller. I’ll take gecko poop sweep duty any day over more bugs!

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