Twenty-five years ago we moved into a house that was built on a concrete slab. We updated and remodeled it and put lovely carpet, tile, and cabinets over tiny cracks in the slab that are like freeway ramps for ants to come into our home.

I know they’re in the walls and under the carpet because we find gazillions of them every time a microscopic crumb hits the floor. You should’ve seen them inching their way over the fuzzy carpet after someone spilled a can of pop in our living room during a party, without us knowing. We woke up to a black pond of ants on the carpet, with streams leading back to where they came in.

I could do the easy, sensible, logical thing and put down ant traps or spray them, but I don’t like to kill ‘em. Bless their tiny hearts, they work so hard.

Here’s what I do instead. I blow on them, and they start running. The smart ants run back to where they came from. I follow them, wait until they all go into the tiny crack they’ve found to get in, caulk it and everybody’s happy.

The stupid ants don’t know where they came from. I despise those ants. You can tell the minute you blow on them that they’re stupid, stupid, stupid. They either don’t run at all, or they fan out like somebody dropped a grenade in the middle of them. With these stupid ones I have to gently nudge a few in the bottom and they’re like, “Hmmm, I wonder if I’m in danger since a big thing just poked me in the bottom. Or maybe I just imagined it. I think I’ll mosey around some more looking for…what the hell was I looking for?” Dumb, dumb, dumb ants.  

Eventually two or three of them will disappear into a hole that can’t be seen with the naked eye, and I’ll have to blow and nudge a whole bunch of them to get them back home. Then I fill the crack with clear caulk from the caulk gun I keep loaded and ready for business in the kitchen pantry.

Here’s how to keep a caulk gun primed to fire at all times. Take a a twelve inch square of plastic wrap and fold it down to a four inch square. Put the tip of the caulk tube in the center of the square and fold the sides down around it, then secure it with a rubber band wrapped several times. I used to stick a nail in there but sometimes it would rust or the caulk would get solid. Now I whip that piece of plastic wrap off and start squirting – it’s as soft as the day I bought it. Reuse the plastic until it disintegrates or the tube is empty.

The alternative is to catch them and put them outside. This doesn’t make me feel great. I worry they won’t find their way home, but after a couple hours I’m cussing the little creeps (although I still won’t squish them). I have two methods to catch them: (1) Using two big postcards that come in the mail practically every day, I put one on each side of the ant and overlap the fronts so they form a V. The ant will run forward and end up on one of the cards, and then I shake him into the top of a Nordstrom box. He’ll immediately climb up the side, so I coat the rim in something slippery like oil or vaginal lubricant, which works way better. Anywhere you don’t want ants to cross, smear some Pink (the brand name) silicone vaginal lubricant on it. This stuff never wears off! I don’t know if I’d use it on my private parts – it worries me that it will stay on a surface for weeks and even months, but I’d rate it five stars for creating a barrier that ants won’t touch. I slimed it all around the bottom of my countertops and ants will climb up the cabinets but will never, ever, ever go on top of the counter. It’s a slippery moat they can’t get across. I put some around the top of the Nordstrom box and continue to catch more ants, one at a time, until I have several, then I go outside where there are plenty of ants trying to get into the foundation of our house and turn the box upside down. They cling so I have to thump it a few times. The released ants probably get back into the house faster than I do.

Yes, I’m crazy, I know. It embarrasses me to even divulge how I spend some of my valuable time. When the weather gets better I’m going to go outside and caulk every joint and crack I can find in the foundation, because I’m sick of ants. Sick of watching them, chasing them, nudging them and catching them. Sick of myself being too soft hearted to kill them.

Maybe sharing my ant tracking techniques will help you, and my work will not be in vain. Funny, that rhymes with insane.

Fricking ants.