Friday, July 30, 2010

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus

Last week I woke up, got dressed, went downstairs, opened the cupboard for breakfast and saw something really, really fast, small and black running around. At first I thought it was a small centipede, but as I moved things around to find it, I realized it was an ant, and another, and another, and another.

Usually I don't get too worried about ants. Remove the food, put out some poison, wait a few weeks and they die. But these were carpenter ants. Besides that fact that they are big for ants and offer a higher level of creep factor, they also make their homes in wood. We have a house made of structural terra cotta, faced with brick, but obviously everything inside the house is made of wood - the joists, the floors, the walls, the ceilings, etc. I have no idea how entrenched they are in the house or how much damage they have done. Considering that we've never seen them before, we're hoping that this is the first year they've invaded and that it is related to the record levels of rainfall we've received.

So, we removed the food, put out some poison and now we're waiting a few weeks. I'm also kicking myself because this year, unlike past years, I didn't get around to putting down a good layer of diatomaceous earth around the house. That certainly would have helped.

We also went shopping for blinds for the windows, and I was more than a little surprised at how much money one could spend on blinds. I had once heard that the cost of drapes shouldn't exceed more than 10% of the value of the house. I scoffed at that as ridiculous. I can see now how it would be quite easy to exceed that for those disinclined to frugality.

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