Wednesday, May 4, 2011
NIMH-Not In My House!
One of the places I usually find ants is on the window seat in the kitchen. It's underneath a bay window, so there's lots of cracks for the insects to come in. During the winter the seat is full of plants that would die if left out in the cold. However, right now the seat's not as full as usual.
My four-foot tall schefflera bush started dropping most of its leaves right after the holidays. Soon it was a mess of bare stems with tufts of leaves at the top of each stem. A little Internet research told me that there was some type of pathogen at work. Hoping the plant would re-grow, I cut the stems back to stubs, removing all the leaves. It was so ugly I banished it to the master bathroom tub, where it would get some sunlight.
Today I wanted to give all the plants in the bathroom a good soak from the the bottom by putting a couple inches of water in the tub. When I lifted the schefflera up to make room for more plants in the tub, dozens of ants started running every which way. They'd taken up residence under the pot! Working quickly, I closed the drain, turned the water on, and grabbed the cup next to the sink.
While the tub was filling with water, I used the cup to pour water on top of the plants. A few of the ants ran up the side of the tub, but most of them got caught in the flow. I let the plants soak for about 20 minutes, then pulled the plug and let them drain. When I cleaned out the tub, the lifeless ant bodies washed down the drain.
I moved all the other plants back to their regular places in the bathroom, but I propped the schefflera up on a plant saucer so the ants wouldn't have a nice damp spot to congregate underneath it. I also added a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon over the soil on top. However, it's just for the short term; the plant will be going out on the deck soon!