Adam Lyttle and his family were enjoying their vacation in a cabin outside of Melbourne, Australia, when his son heard scratching noises coming from the walls. The young boy thought it was a ghost.
According to the Daily Mail, the family ignored the noise at first. But a few days later, Lyttle saw ants near the walls of the cabin. He decided to buy ant spray. When he used it, thousands of ants filled the room.Image Credit: Adam Lyttle
Lyttle recounted the moment that the ants started coming out of the wall to the Daily Star:
“It felt really dirty and that strong ant smell was really overwhelming. It was quite the ordeal, our children didn’t sleep well all night.”
He told Independent Journal Review that this was unlike any ant infestation he’s ever seen:
Image Credit: Adam Lyttle
“I’ve seen ant problems before, but never anything like this.”
Ant infestations vary depending on the ant species. In an interview with the Independent Journal Review, Ted Schultz, PH.D., curator of Hymenoptera at the National Museum of Natural History, said that the ants coming out of the wall was fairly normal ant behavior:
“It isn’t unusual for a giant colony consisting of a thousand or more ants to come out of a wall. But, in most houses, you’d be aware of it before it became a problem like this.”
Dr. Schultz couldn’t identify the ant species from the photos, but he mentioned that most ant species don’t nest in walls, which is why it’s uncommon for families to see ants colonies of this magnitude:
“If this cabin was not occupied for months, that would’ve given the colony a chance to move in and surprise the next person who stayed in the room. But I think you could easily get rid of them and they wouldn’t come back.”
There are similar species such as Carpenter ants that can live on building materials; these ants appear too small to be Carpenters, says Dr. Schultz, but they are likely related.
He noted that Australia has thousands of different ant species around the country, but added that the country was not known for having more severe ant infestations than other continents.
Lyttle told Independent Journal Review that the ants were localized to the walls around the bathroom, which were adjacent to his son’s room and the dining room.Image Credit: Adam Lyttle
In the cases where Dr. Schultz has seen ants coming out of the walls, they are typically found near a water source. He recommended that if there are suspected ants living in the walls of a house, to put out bait near water sources.
While the experience with the ants was surprising, Lyttle said his family had been happy with their stay. He says it was the mismanagement of the infestation once reported that may prevent him from returning.
After reporting the ant problem to the management, staff members came and cleaned up the ants:
Image Credit: Adam Lyttle
“After the park cleaned it up there were still many dead ants left in the cabin. We sent them a photo at the time letting them know there were still ants, but never heard back from them. We have not heard from them since.”
Lyttle has written them emails asking for a refund or an apology, but they have not responded.
“It felt, in their eyes, we were the problem not the ants.”
“We check all cabins prior to [guests’] arrival and at the time of checking everything was fine, no signs of there (sic) being an ant problem.
Living in Australia in a bush setting, I would have to admit that this can be an issue from time to time as it can be anywhere in Australia.”
The family may be back at home, but the memory of the ants crawling out of the walls, and carpeting the floors, will stay with them forever.