It looks like they might be on tile- are they in your kitchen? Do they move really slow? Are they kinda brownish golden? They might be "Fat Ants" I'm in the same zone, and have seen those before. They come out of nowhere and even if you keep an immaculate kitchen, if there is the slightest little hint of butter or crisco or other type of solid animal or vegetable fat, they will come!
I can't find a good photo of a "fat ant" nor can I find
anything on the web that actually identifies one as a "Fat Ant"
However, if it's what I think it is, it's what's known as a Fat Ant here in Southern CAlifornia and you know we are the Ant Capitol of the World! My parents had these one year on their kitchen counter. They were coming in from a little hole in the grout on the countertop. My aunt saw them and said she had them once and her exterminator told her they were Fat Ants.
We were able to get rid of them by keeping the butter in the fridge- some folks like to keep a cube of butter on the countertop in a covered butter dish- keep it in the fridge, and if you make a peanut butter sandwich, clean the counter, and clean it again and again. Get under the bullnose of the counter top. Clean everything and keep it totally immaculate for a week or so, and they will just go away. If they're really bad, prepare foods containing fats on your kitchen table for a while or far away from where you usually cook. Below is a quote from a website that seemed to have the closest description of a fat ant and how to set bait if
nothing else works:
Many ants can be controlled with a boric acid bait. The following was taken from "What's Bugging Me?" by Tenorio and Nishida, a book I highly recommend for identifying and controlling household pests.
For sweet loving ants, mix 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of boric acid powder with 1cup of water plus 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Fill small jars with cotton balls and soak the cotton with the liquid. Poke several holes in the tops of the jars so ants can get in and out easily and place them out of reach of pets and children. The idea is for the ants to take the boric acid back to their nests, not for them to be killed instantly. Be patient, allow about a week to see results.
For ants attracted to fats or meats, mix the boric acid with cooking oil, peanut butter, fish trimmings or whatever else you have seen them eating. Be sure to keep the "bait stations" out of the reach of children and pets.
croclover thanks for the info. I have lived here for over 30 years and have had ants (Argentine?) off an on but I have never seen these tiny little guys. Actually my wife spotted them. I( would probably have just made a swipe with a soapy cloth and never noticed that they were living.
When I had lived here only a short while I got up one morning before sunrise and as I started to walk into the kitchen I realized that there was a dark swatch across the doorway. I turned on the light and there was a trail of ants over a foot wide.
In another incident I had cat food on the back porch and kept having ants in it. I found an oil drain pan and put a couple of bricks in it and set the cat food on the bricks, then filled the pan with water. That evening I came home after dark and started to add cat food to the bowl when suddenly I had ants on the back of my neck. I turned on lights and found that the ants were climbing the wall of the house and following a rafter to their jumping off point. Apparently they did not have a thought as to how they would get off the island. I suppose that their life-span is so short that they do not worry about that eventuality.
Then this spring we spent a few days by Lake Tahoe. There were huge ants running around the yard, these were over a half inch in length.
I know that some colonies of Argentine ants prefer sweets while other colonies prefer fat.
Have you ever tried Terro? One drop will kill the whole family. Works. I bought a little bottle 3 yrs ago and have only had to use maybe three times for 3 different types of ants. One or two drops does the trick. Whatever is in it it's like syrup. They eat it and take it back to the nest. I have found it a lowes or HD.
You are quite welcome George, and yuck- ants are just a pain when they get in the house! One time my mom made my son some waffles and put syrup on them. He kept complaining that the syrup was spicy. She took a closer look and there were 1,000's of dead ants in the syrup. The outside of the bottle was immaculate because my mom is meticulous about not letting things stay sticky that would attract ants. Obviously though, she had forgotten to close the pop top on the container, and she certainly wasn't wearing her glasses when she poured the syrup!
A few years back, I was sitting on a porch at night at a little get-together and was sipping on a beer from time to time. It tasted kind of peppery. Finally I brought the beer bottle closer to a light and discovered that the ants were sipping my beer too! Ants are hot! If you ever run out of pepper, just sprinkle a few ants on your dish!
We have been very fortunate to only have ants outside our new home rather than inside, but living in So Cal, I know that could change in a heartbeat!
If they do decide to come in though, I will try Terro, Pdoyle- that stuff sounds fantastic!