Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Am At War With The Ants, And My Potential Allies Suck.

Oh, my god, how annoying is my life right now? Because on top of the leaky roof, there's also the ants. Let me tell you the saga of the ants!

Apparently the damned things built a nest right under my concrete slab floor and were coming up through tiny cracks in the floor and between the tiles. I know they were nesting there, because they built a damned anthill in my floor. This is the stuff of nightmares. As in, I have had actual nightmares about this exact thing. *shiver*

So, OK, I kept my cool. I put down baits for them. So many baits. Baits of every description, to tempt any self-respecting ant. I put them under an inverted plastic tub to keep the cats out, which is good, because some of them were liquid baits, and they leaked, and it was pretty freaking toxic under there. The ants, however, did not seem particularly interested. They would wander around and into the baits, but not form the usual tidy ant-lines to haul the yummy poison away. Still, I hoped they were carting the stuff home and dying from it. And, eventually, after a couple of weeks, I stopped seeing so many ants. There were one or two, but I was hoping they were stragglers. So I cleaned up the toxic sludge, and I cleaned up the dirt the ants had carted up, and I sprayed around the inside of my house to keep the ants from coming back, and I sprayed around the outside of my house to keep the ants from coming back, and I sprayed the area where they were coming up, and I saw some dead ants there a few days later, but I was optimistic.

But... Nope. They found another teeny-tiny hole, and they are building another nest. I saw it when I got home from work today. Eeeeeeek!

Clearly it was time to give up and call the professionals. So I called Orkin. They're a big, reputable national company, right? I called them and they were ever so solicitous as they went about taking my credit card info and making me an initial appointment and signing me up for a bi-monthly extermination service (which, frankly, did not seem like a bad idea), and they told me they could have someone out tomorrow. Which surprised me, but, hey, awesome! So I made an appointment. And they I realized, wait, you idiot, you have to be at work at that time tomorrow. And then I played a lot of phone tag with them trying to change the appointment, and finally ended up making arrangements for someone else to cover for me at work so I wouldn't have to change it, after all.

Then, just after all that, I get a call from the exterminator himself. The conversation (shortened and paraphrased) went something like this:

Me: Oh, hi! You're probably calling to reschedule my appointment. Sorry for the confusion about that! Tomorrow will be fine, after all.

Him: Um, yeah here's the thing. I can't come out tomorrow. I'm not going to be down in Socorro until the 24th and 25th. The person who told you someone would be out tomorrow? Yeah, she's in Atlanta; they don't know how far Socorro is from Albuquerque. I travel around the whole state and only get out there a couple of days a month.

(Which, note, is not in itself a problem. NM is a big, sparsely populated state. Waiting for the person to make it down to your area is often how things go, and I wasn't actually expecting someone to be able to make it out right away. What is a problem is being chirpily lied to about it by someone who clearly doesn't have the information she ought to have. Knowing whether the time and day you're making an appointment for is even available seems like pretty fundamental customer service. Don't you think?)

Me: Oh. Well... This... is not filling me with confidence. But all right. We can do it then. Only I have to leave for work by about 3:30 that week, so it has to be earlier in the day.

Him: Um. Well, actually, I'm booked up all day, and I usually try to work in new customers at the end of the day, but if you're working nights... Well. Huh. Well... I'll call you before then. I'll try to shuffle things around. Maybe someone will cancel.

Me: As long as you're sure you can make it that day.

Him: Well, I am definitely making it to Socorro that day. Maybe someone will cancel.

Me: Wow is this unprofessional. I think I should reconsider my choice of exterminators.

So, um, yeah. I haven't officially cancelled with Orkin just yet, but I think I'm gonna call a local exterminator tomorrow. And then see if I can get Orkin to take me the hell out of their system. The guy swore up and down I wouldn't be charged if I told him not to come, but I fear there may be a distinctly Comcast-like snag-the-customer-and-don't-let-them-go vibe here.

Moral of the story: if you live in a rural area, Orkin's clearly a good company to avoid. Which is good to know, I guess. But... Sigh. I just want to live like a human being: dry and bug-free. Why is that so difficult?


  1. 1) At least the call center is in the same country as you are.
    2) Definitely go local. At the very least, if you have an insect emergency, they can (and will) respond more quickly than a company 70+ miles away.

    1. Well, I did call the local guy today, and he came right out and met me as soon as I got off work and sprayed the whole house for less thank half what Orkin was going to charge me. I just really, really hope it works. He sprayed instead of baiting, which I am dubious about, but he says he'll guarantee that if they come back, he'll come back and deal with them again.

      The only thing is, in traipsing through the house, he thoroughly traumatized the already traumatized and not very well cat. Sigh.

    2. Unfortunately, the only homemade baits I'm aware of would not be beneficial to your pets, so I won't suggest them. (By the way, the ants weren't attracted to where Nova had his "incident", were they?

    3. They were not, although I've had ants in that area before.