Ants and Termites and Bed Bugs, Oh My!

You know what really bugs me? BUGS. I hate them. Yeah, I guess they’re necessary, or whatever, for a balanced ecosystem, or something. I don’t care. They need to stay out of my house (and my face) or suffer the deadly consequences. For I am a murderer of bugs. An annihilator of insects. This post is about my buggy experiences and my serial bug killer ways. Ants, termites and bed bugs need to GTFO, or die.

ant termite bed bug icons

The Ants are Back

Spring is here and so are the freaking ants. They show up every year, right around… well, right now. When I bought my crappy house, nearly ten years ago, the ants had taken over the place. This bedroom had a Pergo floor.

master bedroom with pergo floor

When I pulled it up, the ants underneath were so thick that I couldn’t see the floor beneath. They looked like solid, black stains.

Stains that moved.

And I remember the trauma of removing the bottom piece of trim (hidden behind the curtain) on this window when gutting the living room…

Window with red curtain

When I pried it off of the wall, so many ants dropped to the floor that they made a sound. Guys… Thousands of ants hitting the floor at once make a freaking sound

On moving day, I put Egor in the dressing room so he would be safe while we carried in the boxes. I put a few treats on the floor, but he was too nervous to eat them. (It was moving day, after all. I was nervous too.) I checked on him an hour later and the treats were completely black, covered in ants. There was a trail, like a half inch thick, of ants leading from the treats to the wall. I don’t have a picture of this, but here’s a re-creation.

cat in a room with ant trail

Of the many methods I’ve tried to get rid of my ants, these Terro liquid baits work the very best. With each passing year, the ants seem to return in smaller and smaller numbers. (Unlike the Sand People.) Perhaps it’s a story that’s passed down from generation to generation, like a ghost story. The elder ants tell the larvae to stay away from my crappy house because the ants who go scouting end up bringing the plague back to their families and then everyone dies.

Stay outside, ants, and we won’t have a problem.

I Had Termites Too

It’s a good thing I gutted every room in my crappy house when I first bought it because I found a lot of termite damage in two of the bedrooms. Of course, I didn’t take pictures of the damage (Who knew I’d be blogging about it ten years later? I’m not psychic.), but I do have pictures of the fix.

See those extra studs? They’re called sister studs. Their job is to reinforce the damaged ones so the wall maintains it’s integrity. Sisters are so supportive. (So I hear. I don’t have any.)

There were no live termites way back in 2011, but three years ago, I found a ton of bugs in my office one awful afternoon. Seems they were getting busy in my craft supplies.

craft bin with dead termites swarm

Sure enough, the termites had returned.

Fun fact:

The total weight of termites in the world is greater than the total weight of humans in the world.

Wait, did I say fun? I meant horrifying.

So, what’s one to do when they get termites? What did I do? Well, luckily, I have a friend in the business. He told me the best system to get rid of termites is called Sentricon. They’re subterranean bait stations that you put outside the perimeter of your home. (Well, the exterminator guys do it because this stuff is only available to them. Honestly, I’m not sure why. Seems totally DIYable to me…)

The sentricon system for termites

If I didn’t have a friend in the biz, I probably would have gone with the Hex Pro system, which is another subterranean bait made by the same company as Sentricon, but is available to us regular people who prefer to DIY. (Seriously. Why do you need a bug license to drill some stupid holes in the ground? I don’t get it.) Anyway, I have not seen any termites since installing the system in 2018.

Go eat someone else’s house, jerk termites.

My Bed Bug Story

Once upon a time, I lived in a crappy apartment where I got bed bugs from one of my crappy neighbors. My crappy landlord didn’t care that his crappy building had bugs and refused to help me, so I had to destroy them by myself.

DIY style.

my old apartment building where I had bed bugs

I eventually won The Bed Bug War of 2010, but the trauma changed me on a fundamental level. I was bitten by the DIY bug (different than a bed bug) and it made me realize that I had no use for a crappy landlord. Princess Spackle was born! All I needed was my own crappy house to use my DIY skills on.

So I bought one.

The End.

Yes, of course I’m going to tell you all about how I got rid of them, but I don’t have time for that in this post. It’s a long story and I’m very busy planning my wedding. (Countdown: 24 days…)

If you are here reading this post because you have bed bugs, what you’ll find here is my sympathy (also my empathy… and a virtual shoulder to cry on…), but no actual help. Like I said, though. I’m totally going to write a post all about it and when I do, I will link it right here. (If the word is pink, then it’s a link…)

Bed bugs stink.

I’m a poet, I think.

I need a drink.

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  • Katherine Davies

    Bwahahaha! That’s either me laughing hysterically at your very funny post or the sound I’d make (like Vincent Price) when I wanted to tease you about bugs in your house. You decide.

    Actually, I’m not a huge fan myself, but I hate mice more. Except for the really big eyelashes (millipedes) we get here, or the giant spiders. I hate them a lot. And we had a snake in our bedroom once. They can crawl up the stone house walls here quite easily and nobody except English people put screens on their windows so voila! an occasional snake visitor can occur.

    Thanks for the entertainment, but shouldn’t you stop writing to us and get ready for your wedding?

    • Marilyn

      I HATE BUGS TOO, but I live in FL and we must be the BUG Capitol if the WORLD. We have GIANORMOUS bugs down here. Dont love here, just visit! I’m worried we have termites and I never knew of a sub ground treatment, so thanks for that info but Sorry you had to deal with all of that, it sure was hillarious though, great for us!? so now you can go back to your wedding planning, time is getting close! Loven Hugs

    • My Crappy House

      Yes, I can never live in Florida. Your bugs are way bigger than any bug has a right to be. It’s unnatural. Nature didn’t make those bugs. I suspect they may be extra terrestrial…

    • My Crappy House

      Yes! I should stop writing and get ready for my wedding! I’m just very stubborn and I don’t want to break my blog promise… It may come to that, but I’m trying to hang in there.

      I’m not a fan of mice either. I had a few when I first moved in. Egor has the hunting instinct, but he’s no killer so he’d corner them for me and I would put plastic storage bins over them. We had a system.

      I also hate crickets and eyebrow bugs. (Probably the same thing as your eyelash bugs. Seriously, what demon conjured those into being!?) I saw my first one ever in my tub in my first apartment. I couldn’t figure out how it could have gotten there without me seeing it. They are terrifying!

  • Barbara H.

    Oh dear, all this was so disturbing. When I moved from Oregon to Alabama I moved into a world full of bugs (and mice) so I have monthly visits from the pest guy and twice weekly visits from the termite guy. Now if only there was a carpenter bee guy…
    Cats (and a trap) took care of the mice with the bonus of working on the chipmunk problem, too. Who knew those cute little darlings were dangerous to your foundation?
    Glad you have conquered your bug problem and you are right – seems like the bait stations could be DIY but then again I don’t want to handle poison. Good luck with the count down – “I have all the time I need. I have all the time I need….”

    • My Crappy House

      But I don’t have all the time I need! I did have all the time I needed, but I procrastinated it away and now I’m in a constant state of freak out! I’ll be amazed if I get it all done…

      Of course, I do routinely amaze myself, so there’s hope

      It sounds like you live in a very buggy place. This is by choice? You can tell us if you’ve been kidnapped. We can get you help…

  • Joan

    I had a war going on with carpenter ants in my crappy house. While I wasn’t getting them in the amount you were, just them getting in is a bad thing. I have no idea what kind of damage they may have done in the past, because I can’t afford to gut rooms to check the studs. However, in my smallest bedroom (my craft room/office), I had to tear up the floor and put in a new one and underneath one section was a TON of dead carpenter ants. I was not thrilled. I took pictures of them becaue I could not believe how bad they were. Unreal. I found a scouting queen once and killed that sucker immediately before the rest could follow her in. There was a nest outside in a dead tree and they loved the railroad ties around the house (folks, do NOT put wood around or near the foundations of your house! It attracts the bugs) Once that tree was finally gone and I got rid of some of the old railroad ties (and a few sessions with the best bug guys in the area) I believe I finally got rid of the damned carpenter ants. Now, if I could just convince the horrifying spiders to STAY THE F AWAY and OUT of my house, things would be better.

    • My Crappy House

      Oh, no! Carpenter ants are way worse than the ones I had. Mine were tiny and I don’t think they did any structural damage. They were just guilty of being gross. I’m glad you finally got yours under control.

      I’m no fan of spiders, but they do eat other bugs, so I tend to spare their lives if I can. Unless they’re giant, in which case I suck them up with the vacuum wand…

  • Margaret A. Johnson

    I totally remember the bed bug infestation in Bay Shore/Brightwaters. Count yourself lucky you don’t have rattle snakes, scorpions and tarantulas.

    P.S. – we also have termites. A while back when Rich was still here we noticed a hole in the master bedroom ceiling and something that looked like a nest hanging beneath the whole. Guess what!!!! Arizona termites. WTF. Freaked the hell out of me. Looked like something from outer space.

    • My Crappy House

      OMG! A nest in the ceiling??? That’s when you cut your losses and burn the house down… And I say no, thank you to scorpions, snakes and tarantulas. Why do you still live there?

  • Gail

    I mean, I bug you about posting more (pun. yes.), but I’m not quite sure this is what I was asking for? At least save this shiz for Halloween?

    Kidding. But ugh. And how I would love to have a bug biz friend!

    • My Crappy House

      Ha, you have a point! I will save my bed bug saga for Halloween… Muahahaha…

  • Natasha King

    Funny… today I was going to plant flowers by my mailbox and there were ants ALL OVER the little area. I ran inside to boil water… some random thought from my childhood…why did I do that as a kid? Does that even work? Then I remembered I read something about baking soda and threw that in the boiling water. I poured it all over the area but saw some ants escaping in a crack between the 10 decorative cement brick things that circle my mailbox. So I flipped them over with my foot and OH. MY. Is kabillion a number? Cuz that is how many I saw. I ran back in the house to get boiling when I came across wasp spray. Well… let me tell you- that sure got them! So gross.I hate bugs too and look forward to your next buggy post!

    • My Crappy House

      Wow! A kabillion? That’s at least several jillions! I tend to let the outside bugs live their buggy lives, but when they congregate in the kabillions, you just know they’re just plotting their invasion into your house. You did the right thing.

  • Em

    Ugh, bugs. The things nightmares are made of.
    Only you could make this topic funny.

    With our early spring, we’re well into the Terro baits…and you are so right; they work like a dream.
    Termites sound like a whole other ballgame. Not playing!

    I absolutely have bedbug phobia…and ticks… I try to relocate spiders. They’re hideous but I don’t want them angry at me.

    We once experienced sheer terror when my daughter’s class had headlice. Which of course meant our cuddly family did too. I still have PTSD from that. Your post is making me itchy!

    • My Crappy House

      Ew. There was a giant spider in my bathroom last night. Schnoopy tried to get it, but it was hiding under the radiator. He was THICK. Like a mini tarantula. Thankfully, he showed himself this morning and he has been reunited with his long lost spider relatives in buggy heaven.

      If you have a bedbug phobia, you might want to skip that post (when I eventually write it.) It was a pretty traumatic story. I’m saving it for Halloween. I don’t remember if I ever had lice, but the lice episode of The Office is very funny when Meredith shaves her head

  • Julie

    So we used to occasionally get ants in a couple areas of our house, bathroom by the back door, kitchen. Areas that made sense to me. Then they started visiting the upstairs bathroom and I started imaginging that behind the walls, under the floors, and in the crawlspace was basically a carpet of ants. And then I was like, no that can’t happen, that’s crazy. BUT WTF, IT CAN!??!? Why didn’t you just burn it down haha. Also, Terro is amazing, bwahaha.

    • My Crappy House

      hahaha YES, it CAN!!! And DOES!!! Having gutted every bit of this house, I can tell you that the bugs make themselves at home inside your walls! Here’s a little throwback for you that I probably should have included in my post. Click here to see what was inside my kitchen wall… YIKES!

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