For those of you in cooler climes, you aren't likely to have the problems with ants we have in SoCal which is apparently built on a giant anthill. Ants are driven into our homes most frequently during times of intense heat and little moisture (like last week) but also during times of much rain.
Some of you may recall my post asking for advice on how to clean our new stainless steel fridge about 2 weeks ago. Well, Saturday we opened the freezer door to find about 100 ants, many frozen to death in a pile where they had fallen. We have never had ants inside a refrigerator or freezer in our many years in CA. I saw a few come in at the top right hand corner seam in the rubber sealer/gasket on the freezer itself (not the door) and sealed it with earthquake hold (a temporary removable adhesive). This appeared to stop them.
But....how did they get in the freezer? My only guess is the junction of the water line to the dispenser and ice cube maker. Any ideas or experience with this? Very unpleasant!
They do tend to travel along water pipes, especially in the heat you're speaking of seeking water. Ants come into homes seeking water as well as food. So I'm guessing you're guessing correct in the water line to the ice dispenser.
Well, NJ how would I know if they came back to life? We ate 'em frozen-even crunchier that way. The unit is really too heavy for us to move without emptying the whole thing. I may call the store for advice.
Both my parents and sisters house had horiable Ant problems. They found this chalk at local nursery you basically draw a line around openings doors, windows, etc and they wont pass it. I know it sounds crazy but it actually worked! Not sure if the chalk is toxic I'm guessing it's some type of chemical.
"Nanciejeanne says: ewww! So tell me, when they thaw out, do they come back to life?"
I assume NJ is kidding, but this is a question for people who don't understand science. Viruses and bacteria can "come back to life" after being in sub-freezing temperatures, but complex, multi-cellular organisms do not (once the liquid water reaches the solid phase.)
As the water in cells freezes, it expands and bursts the cell walls. Chemical reactions necessary for biological processes cease.
The ants D. Dolan mentions weren't frozen if they were still walking around after the experience. ;)
same thing happens to bumble bees and flies i've caught them in a cup and put a piece of paper to cover come back later in that day or next day and lay them out on the table and eventually they fly off like normal
If you turned off your freezer for awhile, you probably made it possible for them to crawl into the back of your freezer, and then into the freezer itself. Once you turned the cooling fan back on, well, the ice age hit 'em hard.
Gregg, I have personally chipped small fish out of solid ice, thawed them out in plain water, and watch them start swimming again, and this was after a long hard freeze, so i guarantee you they were solidly frozen. SOME multi-cellular organisms can be frozen yet not dead. To post such a blanket statement most always will be proven untrue by the exceptions that exist to every rule.
Gregg S, invertebrates can survive freezing: http://www.amentsoc.org/insects/fact-files/overwintering.html
toonin: I would suspect they came in during the "defrost cycle" of your "frost free" freezer. Quite possible they followed a refrigerant line in. The location of the ant pile should help you locate the entrance. Try to seal the entrance from inside the freezer using some kind of sealant If the stuff you used doesn't work then call the manufacturer of your refrigerator/freezer for a recommendation.
BTW toonin, what brand of machine do you have? I think it is a manufacturing flaw if even the tiny Argentine ants common in much of Cal. can get in.
toonin, Frost in your freezer comes from moisture in the air that enters the fridge every time you open its door. When your auto-defrosting fridge is in its daily defrost mode, the evaporator is heated to melt ice that has accumulated on it. The water produced is drained into a tray under the fridge. The condenser fan blows warmed air over this tray, evaporating the collected water back into the atmosphere. The ants are probably attracted to the draining water (and refrigerated food smells) and periodically follow it up the drain tube. Ant carcasses may eventually plug the drain tube, causing carcass-laden defrost water to overflow the evaporator catch tray daily and dribble down inside the fridge. Boric acid based ant bait placed near the fridge could prevent this.