We’ve had pharaoh ants in our apartment pretty much since we moved in last June. I thought it was just because it was summertime, or I just wasn’t cleaning enough. Then they persisted through the fall, and I spent hours hunting them down. Where did the lines of ants come from/go? What are they attracted to?
I would find them on the cat’s plates a few hours after they’d been fed, swarming the leftover bits of meat. So we started washing those right away. I’d find them floating in our electric kettle, which we then had to make sure to empty after each use. I found them marching in lines from our cupboards behind the fridge, and hanging out by the sink faucet. I’d see one trying to blend into a painting on the wall, or crawling along the bathroom towel bar.
I felt like I was being stalked by ants. Where were they while we slept? *shudder*
So I put down traps, after learning about their sugar/water and protein/grease feeding cycles. I did excessive/obsessive research on pharaoh ants (key takeaway: they’re dicks, and they go wherever there’s pooled water), I wiped our counters and the sink down every night to get rid of any water, and I pulled out every appliance in the kitchen many times looking for food sources. I determined on my own that the fridge was leaking onto the floor, and that the sink was a haven with all its wet cloths. So in December I rigged a contraption behind the fridge to direct leaking water away from the wall/floor, and then we got notice that Pest Control would be coming to deal with the ant issue in the building. It wasn’t just me! Someone is actually going to come deal with this!!!
So they came. We had to take off all of the outlet covers, and clear out under the sinks. For the next week I watched and hoped the ants would finally be gone… but they were not. There were fewer, but they were still there…
This month, in a moment of inspiration, I remembered a curtain rod we had in the storage closet that we hadn’t needed when we moved in, and in 5 mins I installed it above the kitchen sink so all of the cloths could actually dry.
No more ants.
I’ve also converted almost all of our open pantry items to airtight Tupperware containers, to keep any future pests out of our food. After I watched some ants crawling around our open pasta boxes… that was it. Nasty.
Pest Control came by for a follow-up today and this time I was home… waiting. Like a creep.
I chatted with them (we work for competing companies, turns out), I told him all of the methods I had employed to curb the ant problem. Then I pulled out the fridge, and showed the guy in charge what I believed the problem was. He left and told our super, and then I yanked the fridge out again to show the super who said, “I’ll tell the manager it’s just broken. Too old. You’ll get a new fridge!”
I told him I loved him. I might have even bowed to him, with my hands clasped. I nearly cried.
This stupid fridge is leaky, rusty, and older than the hills. I mean, all of our appliances (based on their colour schemes alone) are likely from the 70’s/80’s. But at least the oven and dishwasher still work just fine. This fridge is a thorn in my side! And now I might get a new one.
The key is
complaining communicating. It’s the only power you have as a renter! If you’re a homeowner and something breaks, it’s on you to deal with it. As a renter, if something breaks, you get repairs and replacements for “free” (that’s what rent money is used for)! But you need to SAY SOMETHING.
I told our building manager (many times, because she’s very forgetful) that two of our windows wouldn’t stay open, and one wouldn’t close. So they’ve been replaced. I told them about the questionable black mould in the bathroom ceiling, and (after I killed most of it with 100% undiluted bleach), they came and repainted the ceiling with what I hope was mildew-resistant paint. The mould has stayed away so far.
At the old apartment, I called our building manager ALL. THE. TIME. Everything was dealt with very quickly. I even asked if I could paint the kitchen cabinets white, and they said “just fill out a form, we’ll do that.” And they did. It was incredible.
We may feel like we only have a little bit of power as renters, but we are not just paying for a place to sleep and store our stuff. We’re paying each month for upkeep, so it’s our right and responsibility to bring up any problems. Maybe it’ll take forever to have fixed because your building manager couldn’t locate her own head half the time (*ahem*), but at least it gets fixed eventually. You’re already paying for the repairs and replacements every month with your rent. You might as well ask for them! And if you don’t? They’ll get fixed and replaced after you leave… which means you never get to enjoy it. Booo.
And yes, I wrote this entire post just to celebrate getting a new fridge all because I complained enough to the people who have the power. 😛