Today, when I took off the tarp to clean our chicken coop, I discovered a line of ants traveling up the sides of it to the roof, where they seemed to be nesting under the eaves. At least I think that’s what they were doing. They were carrying and swarming around what looked to be ant larvae. I don’t have a very good picture of that, since I was so grossed out that I quickly wiped them off before I thought about taking a picture first.
These little ants drive us crazy, invading our house every Spring and Autumn, so my immediate reaction was to get rid of them, assuming they might drive the hens crazy as well. But maybe not, since as soon as I removed the straw, Gloria jumped up and started gobbling them up. Perhaps they make a nice midnight snack? But I wasn’t sure what letting them nest there would lead to (bites? other bugs?) so I took drastic measures, and decided to pressure wash the coop… every nook and crack. Luckily, it was a sunny day, the first in a while, so the sun could help us dry it out. Jonah was excited to help:
In between hosing it down, as it started to dry off, I also saw what looked like a red mite crawling around… and that I KNOW we can’t allow:
There was only the one, so I hope there weren’t more hiding, or if so, that our pressure washing got rid of them. We did it as thoroughly as possible, and wiped everything down with vinegar water. The chickens were VERY curious about this process, and wanted to be involved… whenever the hose was turned off of course.
Gloria seemed quite concerned about the new orientations of her nesting box, and flew to the top whenever I tipped it over.
She also seemed impatient for me to finish, as she had yet to lay her egg today, so I hurried to get the coop put back together, and put it back in it’s usual spot.
My husband suggested that we might want to move it, and when I went out to check on it after Gloria had laid her egg, I saw the ants starting to crawl back up, so I quickly agreed. Probably time to move it to it’s Summer location across the lawn anyway, where it will be in the shade in the afternoons. I wanted to leave the tarp off, to further discourage the ants from a dry nesting place, but I had to put it back on once it had dried out, since this is our weather forecast for the next week:
Ah sigh… back to our usual Spring weather.
But after moving the coop, the hens really enjoyed the feast of ants that must have been living under their winter location. That’s one way to get rid of unwanted house guests. Eat them!