Follow
Share

I am constantly finding ants in my mothers room. She constantly snacks in her room leaving crumbs and keeps candy and salted peanuts in her room. Today the ants were in the glass with her miralax that I had just layed out. Of course they were next to the boxes of chocolate mints and chocolate covered cherries and Planters peanuts. This morning I though that things were going to quickly escalate between us about her continuing to keep food in her room. She is not senile, has all her faculties, this is a control and territory issue I believe. I backed off this morning but told her I was not bending over to clean ants and her still keep food in the room. I just had back surgery 2 weeks ago. I have to save my bending over to clean up after her 2 little dogs. Any suggestions would be helpful. It sounds terrible, daughter leaves mother in ant covered room. But short of a physical altercation which I would leave the house before things even got close to that do I do. She insists that if the seal is intact on the candy that it wouldn't attract ants, I don't know. All I know is the ants keep showing up in her room and she is the only one storing food in her room.Help!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
We got a bunch of carpet beetles. We vacuumed them away, and now see either none, or one at a time.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Countrymouse It sounds like they are laying their eggs somewhere in or around the house. Have you checked the air vents? There could be something in there attracting them? You might want to have someone come to clean them out.. Just a suggestion...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Help, please! (And this'll teach me to be blasé about somebody else's infestation problem!) -

We have a sudden plague of flies. They have appeared from nowhere in my (grown up and hygienic) daughter's bedroom. We have searched (and sniffed) for dead things under floorboards; there is no obvious point of entry; the only attraction seems to be light. There are dozens and dozens of them, in waves, it is bizarre and disgusting - any ideas please???
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm just going to share this... for no reason other than my kids and I wrote it back when I was going through chemo in 98
Kamikaze Dust Bunnies

Kamikaze Dust bunnies
rain down on me

blades from the ceiling fan
flinging them free

Under the bed creatures
spy tempting feet

webs on the wall
right there to see

feline stalking through
backyard prairie

obstacle course hallway
makes it too hard to flee

tomorrows treasures
just within reach

what fun would we have
if we were neat?

LA 1998
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Clean is important. I'm allergic to mold. Most people can keep kitchens clean and keep food sealed up in there, and dining tables are typically swiped off and floors vaccuumed more often. My son fortunately is out of the house and room often enough I can go in there and get the trash and leftovers and dirty dishes out if he leaves any. Explaining that the room is not JUST his to keep any old way he wants, because it is CONNECTED to the rest of the house used to be more of a challenge I would hear ridiculous arguments about it!!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

in other words what difference does it make even if it is your mom fault that aunts are in the room- in other words are you looking to find fault or are you looking to solve the issue?? turn your thoughts towards a solution and avoid having disagreements with mom. otherwise you can just welcome angry feelings between the two of you that will make you more miserable.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I bet most caregivers wish their problem with so simple. If you can't afford pest control I suggest you do a good cleaning up around and then spray a line of raid or some other insect repellent around the edges of the walls and then get her a candy dish that has a good seal on it. stop making an issue out of it in fact I would be buying her candy and put it in a beautiful new jar with a good seal. Empathy and compassion and pick your battles- be glad she isn't an alcoholic!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

…???!!!

Jeanne, that is an incredibly good question. Yeah! If they're so smart, how come ants don't know to lie in wait in the dining room where it all happens, eh? I had honestly never considered it from that point of view.

In this particular case, though, I think the regular bedroom appearances are probably related to how long the food is in situ and how reliably it's kept in its containers. They also have to be able to carry their shopping home, which I suppose is why anything in a wrapper, even if it's not airtight, will pose insuperable logistical problems. Ants - it must depend on the type of ant, too - are remarkable in their ability to reconnoitre, forage, scent far-off food sources, etc. They will definitely know where in their territory there are crumbs to be counted on.

Quite admirable in its way, I often think, as I run to get help from my chickens with yet another nest I've dug up in the garden...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This shows my ignorance, and the fact I don't live in a climate hospitable to roaches, but why will eating in the bedroom attract insects to the bedroom but eating in the dining room won't attract insects to the dining room? What makes these two areas different? In the spring we seem to get ants trekking in whether there is something to attract them or not. They seem to appear in my office, my bathroom, and the kitchen. If there is spilled syrup or honey or something on a counter then that is where they head. I have never seen them in the bowls of wrapped candy we keep in several places. And certainly they have never gotten inside of a container. If you had your mom store her snacks in the kitchen, what would keep the ants from gathering in the kitchen? If she used the same storage methods that you would use for them in the kitchen, shouldn't that work in the bedroom?

As I say, I guess I just don't understand the issue fully.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What about food storage bags with the zipper seal? You could drive yourself crazy trying to figure out something to use, but if your Mom is not willing or of sound enough mind to actually use any product you find, the ants are still going to come marching in two by two. You may also wind up with roaches which live in your walls and if you find one, you will have at least 100! You will be faced with having to seek an exterminator. Mom needs to be eating in the dining room, not the bedroom, if it is not absolutely necessary.

Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I like the idea of a sealed container with a rubber gasket. If her hands hurt, tupperware might be too hard to use. If she won't cooperate with that, then let her live with the ants until she cries uncle.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

diotomecious earth sprinkled around the baseboards kills nearly all insects. it wiped out a 20 yr infestation of roaches and the newly aquired bedbugs in my mothers house. one evening a hatch of termites made their way into moms bedroom. they had trecked across the DE on their journey and couldnt fly because of the dust on their wings and all died in a matter of a couple hours. D E is just powdered sea coral. completely non toxic. kills fleas too.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You might also want to try making a boundary of ground cinnamon and see if that works for you. Ants usually don't like the smell nor cross it. I found this tidbit in one of my "green" books, The Green Kitchen. You might be able to find it in your library? I'm a building designer, so I'm always looking for non-toxic solutions for my clients and our house. While it won't solve the main problem, it might be a start.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Who buys the food and how does she get access to it? Change that, call a eco-friendly ant control company because you do not want pesticides inside her living area, and then sit down and talk to her about eating food in her room. There has to be a serious discussion about this issue, otherwise you will have ants upon ants upon ants, and you will not get rid of them!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Tupperware works well for storage, as do canisters you can get from Hold Everything and The Container Store. You can also use a trick from Southeast Asia for food she's been "served": put the food on a small plate or bowl that's sitting on top of a much larger plate with water in it. The ants don't cross the water to get to the plate with food, most of the time.

If she doesn't feel like getting out of bed and trekking to the kitchen for a quick snack. It would be nice for her to have some airtight containers of snacks nearby. My 88 year old dad loves to snack and always has a candy dish nearby. Luckily, he doesn't have ants.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

How funny...My "patient" has mobility issues so keeping food and drinks in her room for the middle of the night when she can't sleep and gets hungry is a must. Fortunately we don't have ant troubles, but I have encountered them in the past. I suggest getting tightly sealed glass jars with rubber gaskets (sold at Ikea, World Market, etc.) and putting the snacks in there. Store-bought packages won't seal as well. If you seal the food up and she's careful when eating, that will probably eliminate the problem.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

At least in your case, it's just ants! This reminds me of my own similar situation.

I tend to be a clean freak. I got worse when I started caring for my mom. I was obsessed with the house being spotless and as germ free as possible. One day while vacuuming, I tilted my mom's favorite chair back to vacuum underneath it, and found a half eaten sandwich. I was like, wtf? I picked it up and tossed it, thinking my mom had simply dropped it and I just didn't see it right away. Time goes on and I forget the incident. Until the roaches started showing up. Oh. My. Freaking. God. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, they were every damn where. I went from never seeing even one, to mass infestation almost overnight. I was horrified and freaked out, stressed and sickened almost beyond endurance. I moved the fridge to clean behind it one day and they were crawling back there by the dozens. I shrieked to high heaven and leaped backwards, my heart pounding and my hands shaking. I grabbed the broom and was whacking them left and right. I was so paranoid after that, I looked for roaches every waking moment of every damn day. And I'd find them. I couldn't sleep at night, sweating bullets over them crawling in the kitchen, I'd be up at 2-3 a.m, killing them one at a time as they came out. I was obsessed.

I finally decided to tear the damn house apart and clean every damn inch of it from top to bottom. I was clean to begin with, but I figured I'd get even cleaner. And that's when I started to find the hidden, half eaten, and sometimes moldy, food all over the house. I'd find half eaten stuff in places I never thought to look before. In drawers that contained nothing but pictures. In my mom's underwear drawer. In the closet on the top shelf. I found a half eaten...and open...container of chicken salad...with a roach in it...under her bed. **shudder** I tore the house apart after that and found all of her hiding places, got rid of that crap, got roach bait, and end of problem. She could still walk at the time, so after this fiasco I was always alert and looking for hidden food and of course, I'd find it now and again. There was no sense in bringing it up, or bitching about it because she had already forgotten she had hid the stuff. I just tossed what I found every day, and I looked every single day. She eventually came out of that phase and quit doing it, thank God.

With your mom, since she's mentally sharp, I'd say let her live with the ants. She's sharp enough to see them herself without you pointing them out, right? Then she's sharp enough to know what attracts them. She's sharp enough to make the decision to keep candy in her room, she's sharp enough to to know the consequences.. I'd leave her...and the ants...alone. When she wakes up one morning with ants on her face, she'll stop in no time.

....Which reminds me of a story of a buddy of mine years ago. She told her son not to keep candy in the room, it attracted ants. Kid wouldn't listen and kept doing it. One morning, my buddy heard screaming from the kid. She ran in there, and yup, the kid himself was covered in ants. Needless to say, he didn't keep candy in there anymore. He wouldn't listen to mom for squat...but those ants taught him real quick. lol Live and learn. I guess your mom will learn the hard way, too. So be it. I wouldn't sweat it another minute.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

You may find some help by calling an exterminator and asking for their recommendations. Perhaps spraying all of the baseboards, window sills, doorways, etc. in her room would provide a barrier so that the ants do not enter the room or live long if they do. My MIL often tries to keep food in her room but quarterly pest control treatments seem to have kept us from having any ant issues in there. If you cannot fight the main cause then pursuing other treatments and things that decrease/stop negative results is a less confrontational option.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Call in a pest control firm and get them to explain it to her, with full technical details. She might listen to a man in uniform in a way that she won't listen to her daughter "bossing her around and talking nonsense" - as I guess she sees it? Just an idea, best of luck.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter