Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ants Alive!

Today I came to the realization that I've come a long way in dealing with the creepy crawlies while checking nest boxes. When I first began checking nest boxes oh-so-long ago, I would FREAK OUT when I stuck my hand in a box to blindly feel around for eggs or chicks (because Eurasian Tree Sparrows cram the nest box to the top with grasses and that's the only way to see what's going on inside) and pull back a hand full of ants.

For the last 3 weeks I've been battling an ant infestation in one of the boxes. Today when I checked the box, the chicks were gone so I decided to pull the nest out. There was a mass exodus of ants. They spilled out and were all over my hands and arms, the top and sides of the nest box, the pole.

  These pictures were taken about a minute after the initial stream of ants exiting the box.

See those little white things that look like grains of rice? Those are eggs.

I left the lid off for a few minutes and continued to watch while flicking ants off my face, neck, arms and legs. And you know what? I didn't freak out! Although I did shiver each time I felt an ant crawling on me.

The next 2 boxes were also infested with ants. Wonder if the rest of the breeding season is going to be nothing but ant colonies in the boxes.  It's a good thing I no longer squeal and jump up and down like a girl with these ants. Ick.


  1. EEEEEEEEEE! That would be an aerobic workout for me!

  2. As long as they weren't biting ants, I guess I could get used to it, after a long, long time
    : )

  3. Have you tried cornmeal or grits? The ants will take it to their origin and when they eat it it will kill the entire ant nation! Shouldn't hurt the birds, it is milled corn.

    The birds are hanging out in my peach trees lately. We lost out mulberry tree to afungus. It always had early fruit and lured the birds away. I miss that tree ......

  4. Ok, eww, ick. I could not handle the ants. Can you get them to move on?

  5. Hillbilly Mom

    Hehe. I get the aerobic workout when trying to avoid wasps.


    Yes, it did take me a few years. 6 to be exact.


    No! I am going to try that. I've been wracking my brain the last few weeks trying to figure out a non-toxic way to get rid of the ants (for the future too). I'll let you know how it works, especially since I'm thinking this may be a bad year for ants in boxes with all of this spring rain.


    When I've come across ants in nest boxes in the past, just my unscrewing the lid and touching the nesting material was enough for them to leave. I would return the following week and there would be no ants. This box was different this year.