For the past few months, I have been mostly living in harmony with these creatures. Resigned to the fact that there will always be at least a few around. But lately the Ants have been overstepping their bounds and committing what I consider to be acts of war. For example, finding their way into a sealed bag of snacks from Isaan. Constantly crawling around on the dining room table despite it being clean. And finally mounting a full scale attack on my rice cooker to eat a gecko that decided to die inside it (gross!). Maybe they were doing me a favor on that one.
So, I’ve stepped up my game the last few days and acquired some weapons of mass destruction.
The powder is good for resolving border disputes with the ants. If they cross the border they don’t get far. The powder also lasts a long time and seems effective as long as it doesn’t get blown, swept, or washed away. The spray is good for cracks and other tight spots where ants might be coming in. It kills them almost instantly but seems to lose effectiveness after a day or two.
I’ve also been filling cracks with wall putty to try to block their points of entry. Ants are pretty amazing creatures though. Blocking the point of entry seems to work for a little while but then they just find another way in. Cleanliness is of course the best defense against the ants but they seems to be able to find the smallest grain of sugar or crumb of food. By Thai standards the room is spotless and average to above average for Western standards but the ants still seem to find things to eat. I’ve heard cleaning counter tops with vinegar can help deter the ants. So far I haven’t noticed it doing much.
I also found this stuff called ARS Ant Killer. I think it is boric acid based or something similar. It’s food for the ants that they take back to their nest then they eat it and die. I’ve placed a couple of these in window sills and near other areas that can not be sealed. It seems to work pretty good but it is relatively expensive.
With all of the above, I’ve seen a significant reduction in ants. Currently there are no ants swarming around invisible crumbs of food and there are just a few searcher ants wandering around. It’s time to get serious though. Borax / Boric Acid seems hard to find but I’ve heard some hardware stores and chemical supply stores have it. Time to start calling around to see if I can get some sourced locally or shipped. Today I found the Thai name for boric acid. Now I know what to ask for. กรดบอริก (grōt bawric).
I’ve been diligent about keeping the room clean, not leaving food out, and cleaning up any messes. I also discovered ant chalk. It looks like regular chalk but apparently has some chemical in it that kills ants. I draw it over any ant trails I find then the next day there are no more ants walking on the trail and usually a bunch of dead ants near wherever I put the chalk. There’s just the occasional ant inside now and the situation is manageable.
I’ve gotten some recommendations to use Borax. Mix it with honey or anything sweet then the ants eat this or take it as food back to their nest then all the other ants eat it and it kills them all. Sounds great! But maybe not an approach approved of by buddhists. So I haven’t tried it. That, and it turns out Borax is rather difficult to acquire in Thailand. At home it’s easily found in grocery stores usually next to laundry detergent. But I haven’t seen any in Thailand yet. Apparently some people were adding it to food which then led to Borax being regulated.
After breakfast we headed over to Chong Phli again. I guess Mad Skills 6b has become my project. I led Zak Attack again to try Mad Skills on top rope since they share the same anchor. I climbed Mad Skills twice each time with one take (an improvement over last time). I also figured out some easier beta so I’m starting to get the moves dialed in. It won’t be long before I can send it on lead and get those mad skills.
After climbing it was a quick stop at the room to clean up and drop off climbing gear then off to Krabi Town to eat a quick lunch at the Tesco Lotus and acquire refrigeration technology which will be delivered tomorrow. I’m pretty stoked to be able to have a supply of cold beers in my room instead of having to go to 7-11 every time I want a cold snack. 7-11’s are really popular over here by the way.
For awhile I thought I was doing pretty good with the ants but now they are back despite my cleaning efforts. At Tesco Lotus I also bought a little jar of cinnamon which I sprinkled all over the room. Ants definitely do not like cinnamon but the ants currently giving me grief have most of their trail on the wall which the cinnamon does not stick to so I don’t think it’s going to do much other than make the room smell nice. It might be time to deploy the nuclear option.
Thai people don’t seem to be bothered by ants but I really don’t like them. Keeping them out of my room has proved rather difficult. Any bit of food is almost immediately swarmed by ants. So the first lesson I learned is keeping the place very clean has reduced the number of ants inside. But ants are curious explorers and they still come inside looking for food and whatever else it is that ants look for. The second thing I learned about repelling ants is to plug their method of ingress. But that leaves the doorway and leads to the third thing I learned about repelling ants. They don’t like strong scents or scented powders. A little research online suggests cinnamon, black pepper, peppermint oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mint, cloves, etc…
I had some baby powder on hand and thought I’d try it.So far it seems to be working. The ants don’t want to cross this line. As a bonus, it smells nice too.
Any other suggestions for keeping ants out are welcome.