Blog: Ants in the Mailbox

June 18, 2019
Country Mailbox

Temporary ant nursery

Heidi Stonehill

A few weeks ago, I had a surprise one morning when I opened my mailbox to put in a letter. Inside were dozens of medium-sized black ants busily tending a nursery of a hundred or so cream-colored eggs.

Well, thank goodness for the Internet! I quickly scanned the Web to see if anyone else had this trouble, and sure enough, quite a few people did. They had recommended some courses of action and I tried several, just in case. Whether it was one method in particular or the combination of all that did the trick, the ants have not returned.

In case you ever have this happen to you, here is what worked for me:

  1. Clear out the ant nursery (Not a pleasant task. I felt sorry for the ants, but it had to be done).
  2. Wash the interior and outside of the mailbox, and upper part of post, with a liquid disinfectant.
  3. Wash with vinegar.
  4. Wash with soap and water (I used liquid hand soap).
  5. Place a fabric softener sheet inside the box, over any entrance holes (The mail certainly smelled fragrant the first day, but the scent faded after that).

Have you had an experience with ants in the mailbox? Share your tips with readers in the Reader Comments section below. Thank you!

About This Blog

Your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments!