Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today I've been battling with ants, but we'll get to that in a few minutes. I started the day by getting up early and mowing some weeds. After finishing the section I wanted to mow behind the trailer, I started mowing a couple of areas I want to clear. One is up the hill behind the shed. Its a nice flat area, maybe 10 ft wide by 30-40 ft long. We hope to turn it into a nice shaded area to sit and maybe put a fire pit. Now that I have the weeds mowed, I just need to cut a few of the briars and saplings that were too big to mow, and then move some tree branches that had fallen. The other area I mowed is similar, except is directly up the hill behind the trailer. We're thinking that if we decide to get rabbits we'll build something up there to house them. I thought I'd go ahead and start getting it clear, so we can see what we have to work with.

At lunchtime I rode the RTV down to the road to check the mail and bring in the trash can. As soon as I put the trash can into the bed of the RTV I noticed ants all over the side. By the time I made it up to the house the were all in the bed of the RTV and long one side. I started spraying the can and RTV down with a water hose, but Luke apparently climbed into the RTV and got bit by the ants. When Andrea came out to see what I was doing, Luke ran into the house and she ended up having to force him back out. I finally managed to get most of the ants washed off, and left the trash can turned upside down in the backyard to dry.

This evening after dinner I went out to work on the wood chipper. When I last used it, it had gotten some debris stuck in the guard behind the discharge shoot, so I just needed to take that off and clean it out. Normally that's a 10 minute job, but not today. When I pulled the cover off of the chipper I noticed something strange. There was, what appeared to be, a large pile of sawdust all around the chipper. I then noticed ants in the area. I decided to go ahead and try to work on the chipper, which was a mistake. I had to rake some of the sawdust-like material away, and when I did ants started going everywhere. My boots were quickly covered, and ants began crawling up my legs. A couple made it past my gloves to my bare arms, and one bit me, which is when I retreated.

After some research, we determined the ants were carpenter ants. The sawdust-like material is what is known as frass, which is the debris they create when excavating inside of tree branches, etc to make their nests. I ended up dragging the chipper away from where it was sitting, so I could go ahead and work on it. I still had to deal with the ants as they were crawling over the chipper, but finally managed to get the job finished. I left it sitting where it was and recovered it, although that may have been a bad idea as the cover had ants on it as well.

After doing some more research I've decided on a plan for dealing with the ants. I believe that if I can locate the nest, and deal with the branch(es) containing the nest I can get rid of the ants. So my plan is to start working through the pile of branches. At first I thought I would go ahead and chip them, but now I think I'll just start sorting through the pile, which will make chipping easier anyway. Hopefully by doing this I can figure out where the nest is and get rid of it. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.

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