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  #1  
Old 07-30-2009, 08:30 PM
The Seventh Deadly Finn The Seventh Deadly Finn is offline
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Will freezing kill ants?

Ants got into the cat food bag. I can't afford to buy a new bag until I get my first unemployment check. Will putting the bag in the freezer kill them?

They're those tiny ones, sometimes called sweet-eating ants, if that makes a difference.
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:35 PM
Serenata67 Serenata67 is offline
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I think it would kill the ants... but would it still be safe for the kitty to eat? (Never owned a cat, so I'm not sure.)
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:41 PM
lobotomyboy63 lobotomyboy63 is offline
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My WAG is that it wouldn't kill them. How do they survive the winter? I've heard frogs can actually go into suspended animation and hibernate; maybe something like that applies as well.

That issue aside, why not freeze the bag, which would probably at least put them to sleep, then filter them out? Just make sure you don't end up with ants all over your freezer (they could crawl out before freezing). Maybe put kitty food in ziplocs, freeze, take out, and pick out the ants or "strain" through old colander etc.?
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:52 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Yes, it will kill them. I have done it occasionally with items that were infested with small ants (the ones called crazy ants).


Quote:
Originally Posted by lobotomyboy63 View Post
My WAG is that it wouldn't kill them. How do they survive the winter?
Ants generally survive the winter in by taking refuge in parts of the nest that are deep enough to remain above freezing.
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:57 PM
Harmonix Harmonix is offline
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I believe ants are quite edible as well, so I would think it would still be safe for kitty to eat afterwards.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:06 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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It would probably be OK. However, you might want to try putting it in a very warm place, say on top of the stove when you are using the oven. In this case, the ants are more likely to leave the bag (or at least try) before they die. If you put it in the freezer, lots of dead ants will end up in the bag.
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2009, 11:16 PM
lobotomyboy63 lobotomyboy63 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Ants generally survive the winter in by taking refuge in parts of the nest that are deep enough to remain above freezing.
Ah. I wondered at what temp the weather gets too cold for comfort.

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Originally Posted by Harmonix View Post
I believe ants are quite edible as well, so I would think it would still be safe for kitty to eat afterwards.
Maybe a question of how many ants, how big the kitty is, etc. Some years ago the ex- and I had pets and now that I think about it, I recall one cat hurling and it contained a few ants. Thing is, he was already sick (vet had diagnosed something). Anyway there's another issue: even if it wouldn't be fatal to kitty, the cleanup might be unpleasant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
It would probably be OK. However, you might want to try putting it in a very warm place, say on top of the stove when you are using the oven. In this case, the ants are more likely to leave the bag (or at least try) before they die. If you put it in the freezer, lots of dead ants will end up in the bag.
Interesting approach. Maybe use a (tight) metal container that won't melt.
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  #8  
Old 07-30-2009, 11:57 PM
The Seventh Deadly Finn The Seventh Deadly Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
It would probably be OK. However, you might want to try putting it in a very warm place, say on top of the stove when you are using the oven. In this case, the ants are more likely to leave the bag (or at least try) before they die. If you put it in the freezer, lots of dead ants will end up in the bag.
Hmmm. There are a few reasons I didn't wanna do this. The main one is I don't want to put the bag in some currently ant-free area, like the stove, and have a few of the departing ants make it back to HQ to tell all their buddies a) what an awesome place the stove is, and b) how to get there.

The second is that the warmer it gets, the better the ants seem to like it. Yesterday it was 108 degrees here in Portland-- probably even hotter in the house-- and it made them peppy as all get out. Their little ectothermic metabolisms were way jazzed; I think the heat is probably what gave them the gumption to find the cat food in the first place-- they'd never found it before.

The third can be summed up by paraphrasing Goldfinger: "No, Mr. Ant; I expect you to die!"

I know I'll end up with ants in the food, but as long as they're dead ants who tell no tales I think it'll be fine. Kitty can eat around them. Or eat them; she likes many bugs.

Last edited by The Seventh Deadly Finn; 07-30-2009 at 11:59 PM..
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2009, 04:35 PM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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I think the real problem here is that it'll take your cat some time to finish the bag. Say three weeks. During that period those ants corpses will be decaying in your bag, potentially hurting your cat if eaten.

If you plan to pick out the ants then you'll be fine.
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2009, 05:33 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HorseloverFat View Post
I think the real problem here is that it'll take your cat some time to finish the bag. Say three weeks. During that period those ants corpses will be decaying in your bag, potentially hurting your cat if eaten.
If they are tiny ants, they will either decay or dessicate within a matter of days. I would doubt there would be any problem on those grounds.
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2009, 05:56 PM
Hennessy Hennessy is offline
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Will they suffocate? Tape the bag and shake em to their death. Sweep the back porch, spread the food out and scare the ants off, rake the food into something to easily pick up a large amount. I'm sure there are a million ways to do this, most will probably require you to help.
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2009, 06:22 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hennessy View Post
Will they suffocate?
No, they don't require enough air to make this practical. They could survive for a long time even if you were able to seal the bag air-tight, which you probably couldn't.

Quote:
Tape the bag and shake em to their death.
They are too small to hit the sides of the bag with enough force to kill them, no matter how hard you shake it.

Quote:
Sweep the back porch, spread the food out and scare the ants off, rake the food into something to easily pick up a large amount.
Well, you could move the bag somewhere else until the ants abandon it and try to return to their colony. You probably can't scare them all out. You will still have the possibility of some live ants remaining in the bag. If you put it on the back porch, you have the chance that something else will come along and eat it, or that other ants will find it.

Quote:
I'm sure there are a million ways to do this, most will probably require you to help.
There aren't many that are a swift, certain, and handy as the freezer.

Last edited by Colibri; 07-31-2009 at 06:23 PM..
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2009, 04:49 PM
Nunzio Tavulari Nunzio Tavulari is offline
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A dusting of talcum or Gold Bond powder will stop ants within five minutes and they won't come back as long as it's there. It may annoy a cat's paws though, and they're climbers so putting the food atop the refrigerator wont help. However, along baseboards and inside cabinets it's a charm.
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2009, 05:36 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Take off and nuke the bag from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2009, 05:38 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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An oven set to 350F would kill them for sure.
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