New Terrorist Threat: ANTS

I made a shocking discovery today.

Terah called me in from outside to inform me that the washing machine was just sitting there. No action. Just stalled in the middle of the cycle. I poked around a bit, and sure enough. It’s stuck.

I then turned on the water faucet next to the washing machine. Nothing came out. So naturally I thought: the terrorists have attacked our water supply! Run for the hills! (which in Kansas are a 3-hour drive)

(Actually, what I thought was we want to put this house on the market next week, and the last thing we need now is a lack of running water. But I’m sure if I watched the cable news channels, I’d think of terrorists first.)

Now before I can explain how SUICIDE ANTS were the cause of our water problems, we need to take a small diversion into the fascinating realm of rural plumbing. When you have a well supplying water to your house, there’s a pump connected to a pressure tank, which is then connected to the house’s plumbing. When you turn on a faucet, you drain water out of the tank. When the pressure reaches a certain minimum, a pressure switch turns on the pump. The pump pumps water into the tank until the pressure reaches a maximum, at which point the pressure switch turns the pump back off.

Now, inside the pressure switch are little metal plates. To turn on the pump, the plates snap together, completing the circuit. To turn off the pump, the plates snap apart.

So, back to our story.

I went out to the well house (the small outdoor structure that houses the tank and switch) with my usual well-adjusting tools: pliers, screwdriver, gloves. I open up the well house and cut the power. I take the cover off the pressure switch and stare at it for a minute.

Hmmm I think to myself. The system pressure is 0 PSI, so the pump should have been running… And indeed the pressure switch plates had snapped together….

…or had they?

No! There was — and I am not making this up — a cake of DEAD, PARTIALLY SINGED ANTS between the metal plates. In fact, there were ants crawling around all over the pressure switch. So I used my screwdriver to scrape the plates off as well as I could. I couldn’t get them perfectly clean because of the angle, but I figured it’d be enough to make contact.

I turned the power back on. Little blue sparks appeared at the pressure switch (burning up the last of the SUICIDE ANTS), and then half a second later, the pump sprang into action.

Now this raises some alarming questions:

Why didn’t our government do anything to stop the SUICIDE ANTS from attacking our water supply?

And more importantly, who is behind this sudden sinister interest in pressure switches on the part of our hill-building friends?

I can see the headlines now:

“Ants attack water supply in Kansas… Is New York far behind?”

“Gitmo Intelligence Links Suicide Ants to bin Laden”

“Price of Raid Hits $200 A Barrel Amid Fears of Ant Attacks”

“5 Troops Deployed With Cans of RAID to Terrorist Ant Training Camps in the Pakistani Mountains”

“Thirsty Latchkey Children Forced To Scrape Dangerous Terrorist Ants From High-Voltage Switches Before Using Faucet”

“Is Your Water Safe? Watch the story about the latest threat tonight at 11”

“Small-town Kansas man detained for posting instructions for attacking rural water systems using ants”

16 thoughts on “New Terrorist Threat: ANTS

  1. The stories that center around the water systems in the country are amazing. I will say that ‘rural water systems’ have made life easier. We now get our water from 25 miles away.
    BTW, I just showed Marilyn the pictures and she said, “Are they nuts!?”

  2. Monday evening I heard a strange hum coming from the laundry room. I considered ignoring it, but since I recently learned what ignoring suddenly disappearing logs on my blog could mean, I decided I had better investigate. Since the sound was coming from

  3. Just today, in a bathroom really quite near….

    I woke up this morning. I used the toilet. I flushed it. There was the satisfying sound of a toilet, well, flushing.

    Then there was the very unsatisfying sound of the toilet not refilling its tank.

  4. No lack of well pressure but our sediment fiber filter plus the entire unit it sits in are coated, and I do mean coated…. with dead ants… the water from our system smells like it passed through a swamp. I removed the well cap and sure enough out of the pip that the power runs down…. ants came pouring out…. question becomes how to control them without dumping a can of RAID down my well…. ewwwwwwww. We have replaced a sediment filter a day so far…still full of decaying ant bodies….. ick . any suggestions?

    1. For the second time in 3 months we now have ants comming in through our water pipes. YECH! How can they possibly invade this way? The pump is 90 feet down in the ground. WHY?

  5. This morning, we closed on the sale of the house we’ve been in since 2002.

    We’re excited about Grandpa’s farmhouse that we’re having renovated, and it will be great when we get to move in there in December or January.

    But it’s sad to leave the place

  6. Just today I, too, have been invaded by ants that are apparently coming from my well.

    When I turn on a faucet or flush the toilet — there they are! So far, they do not seem to have invaded the electrical box on the pump, but they are definitely in the water. The gauge on my pump reads 45 psi and I have water, but the pressure coming from the faucets gets low when the water runs for a few minutes. I think the little boogers are clogging up my water lines or the screen traps somewhere.

    I was running a sprinkler in the yard today and the water got lower and lower. When I disconnected the sprinkler from the hose, the screen trap on the sprinkler was completely clogged with ants!

    I have lived here in the same house in rural, south Georgia for 18 years and have had numerous pump probs over the years, but this is a new one.

    I am going to check with my county extension agent in the a.m. If he has any good suggestions, I will let you know. If you have come up with anything since your last post, please let me know.

    1. Hey there Laura,
      I have been searching the web for anything related to ants in water. I finally hit upon the changelog, and was delighted to hear of your problem as it was similar to mine. We, also, have well water, and it has that swampy smell you told of. This is my story…
      For several weeks now I have noticed ants in only one toilet in my house. Not everyday, but several of them at a time, and frequently enough to wonder where the heck they came from. I have Orkin Pest control on a monthly basis, and have not seen ants anywhere else in the house, just in the toilet! If you could please contact me and tell me what you learned from your county extension service, I would be greatly interested. I plan to get on the phone tomorrow to see what else I can find out about this seemingly very isolated problem.

  7. Thank you to everyone who posted their problems with the invading aunts in the well water. I thought that I was losing my mind when ants came in to the tub water. Really lost it when the filter to the tap water was so clogged with their little bodies. I run an inhome daycare and this is just not acceptable. I have to find a solution to this right away. any suggestions? Just so glad we are not alone in this war against the suiside ants. I hate to see what is in the hot water heater, the washer etc…… That is the upcoming weekend project now, disposing of these little bodies.

  8. Same here in Indiana.. Found Ants in the spigot of my Kitchen Faucet and then check bathrooms, same. Last year the hot water wasn’t running into the washing machine. I took the hose off and cleaned out the inlet of the washer to find what looked like coffee grains. Didn’t notice they were ants, but now I know they were. We had a dreadful ice storm this past winter, and I guess the Ants take refuge in the well housing and create colonies. When the ice melts and defrosts, these colonies fall into the well water, and they are sucked into the watersupply.. It’s creepy for sure.

  9. It’s not a joke, here in Phuket, Thailand, ants regulary invade my coffee machine water tank and just die there in a little floating bunch. This has been observed and going on for at least 2 years (I never saw that before…).
    There is an interresting story about a parasite taking control of the ant’s brain and making it commit suicide to help the parasite perpetuate, it’s latin name is “Fasciola hepatica “.

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