Over the years I've gotten used to finding the occasional few ants that
find their way in; a drop or two of my favorite ant bait used to resolve
the problem. I always put some where I found the first ant, and then
patiently waited for the ant to bring friends. Once they establish a
trail to their meal it's fairly easy to follow them and figure out where
they're coming in. Then I put bait on their trail outside, go nuts with
a variety of cleaners to eliminate the portion of the trail that extends
inside, and caulk whatever crevice they found through which to invade my
abode. I've found that White Footed Ants require a little more work.
I fed a few, and the trail grew, and grew, and grew. In desperation, I
tried new baits. I was overlooking one very important thing, and I knew
Trees grow. In the hot Florida summer, particularly after a deep soaking
rain saturates the ground, many trees extend their branches with
stunning speed. Those branches are often ant highways.
I generally use a slow acting borax bait, but I stormed the stores and
bought one of every bait available. I didn't want to cut the branch and
trap all of those bugs inside, but I didn't want even more ants to come in. I
baited the trail, the branch, the tree, and every other tree, shrub and
plant taller than the lawn.
For a couple of days I baited every morning and evening. See, the bait
dries up, and these ants aren't as active during the heat of the day
anyway. It worked. The trail slowed to a trickle and we cut the branch.
I kept baiting and baiting, and trimming and trimming. I caught this ant
alone on the wall outside trying to move in with a pupa. Perhaps all of
the trimming knocked some nests out of the trees.
What I'd overlooked was a tree branch. Funny, it was a
Black Olive Tree
Talk about extending the Olive Branch! We'd just recently trimmed the
tree, but one branch grew fast and escaped my notice; the ant trail that
poured off of the branch and stormed the soffit vent was at least four
inches wide. I'd never seen such a thing! I was totally creeped out! I
wanted those bugs gone RIGHT NOW!
With some ants, it's enough to bait the bugs you see. White Footed Ants
are different; here's what I've learned. First, never, ever let a tree
branch touch your house!
Second, it isn't enough to bait the problem
trail - you have to bait the trees too. Third, this will not eliminate
the ants, so you can't ever really stop. Wow, that rots, doesn't it!
(Disclaimer - this is my hobby, I'm sharing my experiences; call a
professional if you need advice, don't count on me.) Speaking of
professionals, I submitted this last picture to
confirmed that the little black ants are indeed White Footed Ants.
Thanks Bug Guide! The
University of Florida has great information about White Footed Ants
For a day or two I deeply desired to torch the trees, but my husband,
local fire laws, and common sense restrained me.
The ants moved in from
somewhere, and even if you kill every ant on your property, which
probably can't be done, they'll just
move back from whence they came before, so the objective is to keep them out of
the house. I think that my ants swell in number when the Black Olive
Trees bloom, so I'll have to remember to bait more while they flower
and prepare for invasion when the flowers fall and they look elsewhere
For years I've taken a walk around the house every so often in search of
trails to bait, but with these ants in the area I'll have to do so more
often and check the plants too. The ants also moved into my White Crownbeard, which I'd planted much too close to the house, so my
have one less
now. A few other plants are
also on my list to remove now that I've had this unbelievable ant
After all of that bait, the ants are still easy to find in the trees,
but there aren't as many of them.
It quit raining a
little while ago, so I went out for one more picture of these ants to
show you how small they are. This little group took shelter in a dry
spot under a branch and was briefly content to tolerate my finger beside them.
They look very much like little black ants until you zoom in on the
bottom half of their tiny legs and see their white stockings, or at
least notice that it's difficult to see the more pale bottom half of