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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » question for heartland folks

   
Author Topic: question for heartland folks
annepin
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Okay guys east of the Rockies and west of the Mississippi, I need to know... do you ever get ants in your salt?
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aspirit
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Nope, though I've lived between the Rockies and Mississippi for less than a year.
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TaleSpinner
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Okay, I gotta ask -- huh?
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Christine
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I've lived between the Rockies and the Mississippi my entire life and have never had ants in my salt -- should I have?
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KayTi
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Do other people in other regions get ants in their salt???

I lived in the tropics for a while and we'd keep a few grains of rice in the salt, where it would absorb the moisture and keep the salt from caking up.

But really, ants? In salt? LOL


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extrinsic
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Not in the Heartland, but as a restaurateur I've encountered ants getting into salt bins around these parts. The species were so-called sugar ants, which actually are exclusive to Australia, in North America otherwise known as Black, Pavement, or Pharoah ants.

The ants were looking for food as ants are wont to do, anything really, but sweets mostly. To get rid of them, I washed away their scent-marked trails and sprayed insecticide. Vinegar works best for erasing the trails. Insecticides with boric acid are best. Boric acid is nontoxic to humans but lethal to insects.


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annepin
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TS: Inalnd Ants Often Prefer Salt Over Sugar.

This is specific to herbivorous ants, however. The ant species that invade homes to tend to be omnivorous or carnivorous. But the article made me curious about ants in salt (and I'm writing a short blurb about it--hence the connection to writing!). The salt also needs to be moist.


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steffenwolf
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Never heard of that, and I've lived in the midwest my whole life. Bugs in the Bisquick, yes, but not ants in the salt.
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dee_boncci
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Sugar, yes.

Salt, no.


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sjsampson
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Never had ants in my salt the 2 years I lived in Oklahoma.
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BoredCrow
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Huh.

When I lived in Massachusetts, we had giant carpenter ants looking for water all the time, but they never bothered our salt. But then, there wasn't an opening in the salt shaker they could get into. I didn't get the sugar ants at all.

In Florida, we had biting ants, but I don't recall them being a problem inside the house.

In California, now, I have noticed that Argentine ants go for greasy food just as quickly as sugar. I still shudder at the thought of when I found a literal three inch wide line of ants going after a tupperware that had held spaghetti... that was on a school lunch bag on my bed.

In Wyoming, it's often too cold for ants!

[This message has been edited by BoredCrow (edited January 13, 2009).]


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Robert Nowall
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It's a new one on me. In here, I'm plagued, on and off, by sugar ants---or, maybe, so-called "sugar" ants---and I usually deal with them by sprinkling some Amdro around the base of my house. This (evidently) gets rid of them for about six months---it's not the intended use for the product---and it can be disconcerting in other way---ever walk into a bathroom in the middle of the night in your bare feet and find, afterwards, that the floor was covered with dead ants?
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JamieFord
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Nope.
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steffenwolf
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Since we're sharing ant stories...
We just bought a house in April or so. A month after moving in, we were getting ready to head out of town for a 5 day weekend. It was the morning of the day of departure, the car's packed up, we're just doing some last minute things before we head out. My wife goes down to the basement to grab something, and the dog followed faithfully along as she always does. Heather walked past the patio door of the walkout basement and the dog started jumping on the ground like she was pouncing on something, dancing back and forth. My wife opens the blinds to the door and the door is COVERED in ants. Big, big ones with wings, which I've heard are scouts for carpenter ants, and lots of tiny little ones. The door was covered with them, and the carpet extending about 4 inches from the door was just a mass of creepy-crawlies.

So we delayed the trip a bit, vacuumed up all the bugs, then double bagged the vacuum bag and put it in the garage, put the vacuum in the garage for good measure, and lined every seam of the door with poison gel before heading out on the trip. If we hadn't had the dog, I shudder to think how much of the house they would've gotten into over the next 5 days!


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DebbieKW
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No, I've never found ants in my salt.
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luapc
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First of all I grew up and live in Iowa, and have never seen or heard of ants in salt, but have seen them in almost every kind of food I can think of. I would guess that they'd run across salt to get to other food, but I wouldn't have thought that they'd eat the stuff until seeing the link above. I imagine that their insatiable need for food to grow their community and expand drives them to seek out any kind of possible food source, and that they will eat almost anything in the right circumstances.

That said, I do have to say that if this is for a story, I would suggest going with what readers are more likely to believe, regardless what the facts may actually be. From the answers here, I would have to say that would be that they don't. That's what I would believe, anyway.


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rich
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Never salt. Just in my pants.
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aspirit
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Steffenwolf, are you sure your creep-crawlies were ants? I've seen termite mating behavior like that.

http://www.pestproducts.com/flyingants.htm


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steffenwolf
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I'm pretty sure they were ants, because there were three visible segments on the big guys. They were huge (by Minnesota standards), probably close to a centimeter. Whether they're termites or carpenter ants, I'm hoping they don't get into the wood, as both bugs cause wood damage.
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tchernabyelo
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Some species of ants produce flying varieties - usually in the summer, in the UK. It's certainly not uncommon. We've certainly had sudden infestations of flying ants, that have come from inside the house, not outside (we havean old house and it isn't exactly a perfectly hermetically sealed box). I believe it is part of the mating/breeding/expansion cycle, and will doubtless be explaiend over on Wikipedia for hose who want to check.
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steffenwolf
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Yes, I think the flying ones are produced when the colony is too crowded and they need to find a new space, then they sound those guys out to find a good place.
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philocinemas
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Steffenwolf, you are correct. When an ant colony becomes too large (between 2-5 years) the queen stops producing a chemical that prevents queens from forming from fertilized eggs. She also allows many eggs to go unfertilized which produces males. The new queens and males both have wings, and they leave the colony in flight. During this time all the males try to mate with the queen. It is quite competitive so only the strongest and fastest succeed (much like sperm). However, it is my understanding that she can be impregnated by many males. She only mates once then loses her wings and moves to a new place to start her colony. All the males die.

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Robert Nowall
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Yesterday, when I went grocery shopping, there were ants in the bakery case. I pointed it out to them...but took my chances with the cinnamon twists...
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Antinomy
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While staying in a in a Cancun, Mexico condo, I was awakened one night to a crawly feeling. Turning on the light I see a trail of ants crossing through my bed and headed for the kitchen. Creepy, I know, but what was more startling is that it happened on the third floor level.
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aspirit
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We had an ant problem in one Florida apartment that was on the third floor. My husband is allergic to ant bites, and he was waking up covered in peculiar welts he gets as a result. I figured out I was attracting the ants to our bed with the milk and honey lotion I wear. They left the bedroom alone when I switched lotions.
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