little black inhabitants of my room

When I think of invasive species that directly relate to my life I immediately think of ants. I don’t know if those little black ants that we have here in Sarasota are considered invasive, but as far as my dorm concerned they are. I was actually wondering if those were fire ants or some other kind, and if anyone knows, feel free to post a comment (and get one more done with). They don’t seem to bite me, so I would guess they are of another kind.

I’ve been dealing with them as soon as I’ve moved in to my dorm in the Cove this year. Even smallest pieces of food would be found by the ants and soon they would form a line carrying stuff to wherever they take it. Sometimes it’s quite unpleasant to come home or wake up in the morning and notice that I have missed a little piece of something, or even a dead centipede, that also would crawl sometimes into my dorm and die to become a destination for the ants. 

I’ve been wandering how it actually works for them to find the food so fast, and then manage to somehow send the message to the other ants that would organize so easily. I feel like with their size being so small, a room would seem a whole world for them, but they easily navigate to find what they want. I would guess that throughout long evolution process they must have acquired some particular skills in food finding. It’s also interesting that when they have the target they all walk organized to get a piece of it and then back to their home, but as soon as I would take their target away they would disperse in such panic and would start to bump into each other and run around the room either until they find something else or leave.  What also is curious to me is that they don’t seem to like any food. For example they wouldn’t do anything if I left a banana peel. I wonder why this happens. 

Anyway, I think I’ve learned to accept them for the most part and I try to keep my room as clean as I can, and maybe I even have to be grateful to the ants for keeping me tuned up with cleanliness. Still, I think I would be even more grateful if one day they disappeared and I could keep up with cleaning my room by myself.

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picture from howtogetr.blogspot.com

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14 thoughts on “little black inhabitants of my room

  1. I can certainly relate to your situation big time. Florida is the state of ants I believe. When I first came down to move in to Ringling, the hotel that my family and I were staying at had ants all over the building. We moved to each different room, three times, three different levels and they were still there. When I did the summer feature film here at Ringling, Idelson had the worst ant problem. I got my own ant bait and they were gone within a week. What’s weird to me is I didn’t have any food or drinks in my room that summer yet they always kept coming back. The only explanation whoever has ants here is because of the plants. Now one could argue that we are intruding on their environment and destroying the plants and animals but one could also argue natural selection. That we are the dominant species and greater power. I had some ant problems pretty recent again at the Student Center and many times when I go down the stairs I see ants coming up the stairs. Oh the irony. Yes keep your room clean, ziplock bags are a blessing for food and have an bait year round.

  2. Black ants and ghost ants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapinoma_melanocephalum) are incredibly common species in Florida, and most definitely “invasive” for humans as you put it. As the poster above me stated, the best way to rid yourself of them is typically just to buy ant bait from the store, though you have to be conscious of which bait applies to which type of ants. Just try to keep all of your food sealed up in air tight containers or bags so the ants can’t catch the scent. Honestly though, there is really no avoiding them. They tend to flare up when it rains or when there is a lack of rain from my experience, and they will be attracted to strange items that aren’t even food. Once, I had a box of watercolors sitting in my room that I didn’t touch for over a year; oddly enough, I started to notice a lot of ghost ants in my room and tried to find the source, only to discover they were eating the watercolors and carrying remnants of them back to their nest. All in all, ants are pretty cool for the reasons you mentioned above (like forming organized lines that go right to food), but also a major nuisance.

    • Wow, I gotta be careful with my watercolors too, cause I’ve not been using them that much recently. Thanks for the link too.

  3. I’m so glad we’re not the only ones with an ant problem, we’ve had them pretty bad for the past two years here in the Palmer quads. We tend to keep them fairly under control but every once in a while we’ll wake up to a swarm of them in the kitchen going after our food (they especially like butter for some odd reason) Last year we kept hearing weird squeaking noises around the living room and after some investigation we found that the ants were eating the glue off of the tape on our palettes. I mean as long as they aren’t ants that could cause bites like fire ants they aren’t too bad, but I wish there was an easy way to control them. We’ve tried the bait before but they were way too smart for it. I mean it’s bad enough we have lizards sneaking in here all the time, but I guess that’s just what you have to deal with when you live in Florida.

  4. I have a huge ant problem at my house. We’ve got about twenty fire ant hills all over my yard and recently they’ve been finding their way in the house. Naturally we got some of the ant bait, and it’s killing a lot of them. Fire ants in your house though is the worst. I feel like I can’t go anywhere around my house without being bitten by the little guys.

  5. Oh yeah! I know what you’re talking about! I live in the cove as well and every so often I get an ant problem despite the lack of crumbs and the fact that I keep my room pretty clean. Of course, ants aren’t the only visitors I’ve had. I’m next to the exit, so sometimes I get a lizard or gecko. At least it’s not roaches. I hate those things worse than ants.

  6. Oh my gosh, I feel your pain. Those little pests are EVERYWHERE in my house. It makes me feel like I live in the most disgusting house ever but my roommate and I are really not that dirty. I mostly find that they eat our cat’s food so we had to move it to the counter… but then they found it on the counter so we had to put their bowl of food in a bowl of water so they can’t get to the food… but the water gets so disgusting and smelly. It’s a never ending struggle, I hate it. D:

  7. When I first came down to Florida I never expected to see the amount of ants I saw at my home. I mean, in New York you have these big cockroaches that scatter around, they’re easy to spot but something you don’t want to see when you are cooking or eating.

    These ants you definitely don’t want in your food, but at the same time, we are technically on their land. We can try to get rid of them with all the chemicals and removers we have, but they’ll always keep coming back. It’s a never ending cycle.

  8. Ants have a pretty good system going. For their size, they are extremely strong and fast. I once heard that the equivalent of an ant picking up food is a person picking up a car. I’m not sure what the equivalence in there speed would be but if you notice, they are only about 1-2 mm long and they can travel about a foot in 30 seconds. So they can really become a pain very fast.
    Since I’ve lived in Florida I’ve done a lot of research on getting rid of them. What you want to do is leave out baits for them. Chemicals kill the ants that come into contact with it but it doesn’t stop them from reproducing, which they do in very large numbers. Baits will get carried back to the source and will kill it. The liquid baits seem to work best for me. You just leave them where you most often get ants and replace them often. They are very attracted to the liquid baits and almost completely ignore food. When I find ants in the house its usually a lot of them and very suddenly and with the baits they are usually gone in about a day or two from that area. But again we live in florida so you’ll never completely get rid of them but you can definitely reduce the numbers.

  9. All chemicals wear off over time. I personally have always used natural things to help keep them away, with success, at least in my experience. I put bat leaves, whole dried leaves, in pantries or drawers, it can be a bit smelly, but it does work. Another this that works for me is cinnamon, whole cinnamon sticks placed in drawers or in corners or areas of a room I tend to see ants. I myself have not figured out how or why, but it has worked for years in Colorado in our gardens and works here as well.

  10. Oh, I really feel your pain. We have a bunch of ants in our dorm. And since we have a lot of ants, we in turn have giant centipedes! The giant centipedes eat the ants but they don’t eat enough in my opinion. Personally, I don’t really like bugs.

  11. As a more familiar resident of florida, i can say that they just come with the territory! try to keep things clean, and they wont bother you!

  12. I had ants problem too. When I was a freshman. I tried everything and they just kept coming from everywhere. It bit me when I was in sleep too. It was so horrible.
    But my roommate introduced me the amazing ant trap so we got rid of it from then.
    Florida has so many ants. I’m scared to dig what’s inside the ground!

  13. Wow, i hadn’t even thought about us, living in our own dorms as an ecosystem. Even though the flora and fauna of our ecosystem only contains 5 other things other than humans, i guess we count as one. As for being an invasive species, I’m torn between yes and no, for we do kind of supply them food when we leave our leftover snacks out, but not as they interfere and invade another species’ life.

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