Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ants Suspect in Illicit Computer Entry


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - A week or so ago I mailed a query to some of you regarding ants suspected of taking up permanent residence in my laptop. Below is the explanation of the problem, followed by your responses. They are shared here with the reader, should they encounter similar problem. Thank you all for your contributions.



Hi Guys,

Turning to the only gurus I know.

I think I've got a colony of ants living in my computer, since a trip to Laos at the New Year. Pretty sure. They keep showing up, every day, on the screen and keyboard, from seemingly out of nowhere.

I believe them to be Lao ants, tiny ants from up north, Luang Prabang.

I'd like to flush them out. Can I hose down the laptop? Like, at the jet wash? Can I douse 'em with raid? Drano? Bleach?

Can I take a kitchen knife and pop my keyboard without permanenty damaging my machine (the sort of thing I'd be prone to do)? Can I do this my OWN DAMN self? What about rubbing alcohol? It evaporates, don't it?

It looks like there are little tabs, which there indeed are, on the keyboard that will allow its removal. Ha. Ha. You know what I'm thinking, right? Except when I pop the tabs and pry it with a kitchen knife, the keyboard bends, like it's being held fast by something else. Is there connected shit I'd tear loose by proceding?

I think the colony is just under the keyboard, and I'd like to have a look.

I'm just dying to take a look.

Thanks for your help on this. Hope you guys are doing well.


the shit is working ok, so why screw with it, right? Take it in to have it cleaned by people who know what they are doing. That's what my inner voice says.

Check One of the Following:


2. Go ahead and pop that sucker and take a look. Use a kitchen knife.

3. What if they are behind the screen? Take it in to the shop.

4. Get some of that canned, pressurized air and blow 'em the fuck out.

5. 1 & 3

6. 2 & 4

7. Make sure they are not simply coming from your table, onto the machine. This 'Lao ant in the computer' thing is all in your head.

8. None of the above. Continue as before. Kill ants as they appear.


The Results Are IN! Your responses:

Hi dad,

I had the exactly same problem actually. They were living in my iPod. They like the warm computer parts and if they stay in a long time it can fuck up your computer. I shook them all out of mine because it was smaller, but then i also sprayed (not directly) some ant killer around it to keep them away. You could also stick it in the freezer if you think it wont mess up any components.

I would not remove the keyboard, if thats what you want to do, take it to takuapa and the computer guy will do it professionally, p'kao knows him. Let me know how it turns out.



I'd say put a little bug stop(poison spray) on the perimiter of the keyboard and make it your own cradle to grave ant farm.



8. None of the above. Continue as before. Kill ants as they appear.

WHATT!!! Kill them? Ruthlessly wipe them out? Men, women, AND children? Totally indiscriminately. Some of them may have been trying to convince the others to leave the computer. Kill them as well? Oh Vic, you can't mean that. Think about what you're doing.

Also, do me a favor and insure that these critters are not on any endangered species list.

Regards, and good luck with the ants,



Buddha's gonna say #1 and #3, man.



I'd try the air over a few consecutive days and then the shop.

I know with isolated keyboards you can run them through water and they'd be ok, but I don't think I would mess with the one that connects into laptop.



what i know about ants could fit in a thimble along with 2000000000000 Lao ants. We get those big, black bastards, looking for water(moisture it think, cause i never notice them in the glass of water that stands out all night), so i'd try to desiccate them if you think you have to destroy a fellow member of Wamaskaskan(sp?).

how bout putting it in the oven, bake at 150 for a while and see what happens?
if that don't work, we had a saying on the boat, "...get a BIGGER hammer."
gudlukwidit...just don't piss them off...somebody said they might own the place where you plopping your ass down.



Hello dit is Martha i put my keyboard in dishwassher one time let it dry good for a few days and it is still working good. or hose it off.


Hey Vic,

three and four.....or do what you want, you're just dying to open the fucker up...ain't it?



Since you are travelling from one country to another, isn't this a NATIONAL issue, immigration or some big important office should be notified!!

On a practical note, I'd try peppermint oil, as ants hate it. I rub the counters where I see the little buggers in my kitchen with some on a cotton ball. They can't smell their scent trail because of it, and so somewhere else. Send 'em packin Vic! (I don't recommend the kitchen knife solution)

Peace out,


What I've learned about tropical ants is that you have to stop feeding them. I used to see a trail of marching ants any time someone left any type of food, especially sweets, around. I could control it by washing the area clean of any food debris.. Blow the laptop with an air can and then carefully swab it with an alcohol swab and keep the food way from it.



Dear Friend.......
What came to mind was something like the pied piper.....maybe if you played just the right song on's the name of that cool instrument that has a bow that is played by pushing out??? you know what I mean ( I hope)........some thing they like to dance to perhaps, they'd all come out for the party......
OR play that movie that has all the ants in it.....maybe it's disney, I dunno......maybe they'd all come out for an evening at the movies and you could act like the thunder beings and blow hard, scattering them to a distant place and then RUN really fast so they can not out for those knees tho, I 'm sure the team needs you on the court.
I wouldn't suggest alcohol or! poison. You've done really good this life helping others and being a man of integrity. The karma of killing all those ants may not be worth it.
You could act like a good american and capitalize on the population. Maybe teach them to type while you dictate, or have them do the graphics, or keep the bank balance and pay the bills. Give them a deadline to come up with a new comedy routine for you.......USE them. Teach them tricks like the flea circus, set up a tent maybe, charge at the door. Don't forget you're an american: MAKE MONEY on 'em.
Watch out tho. If they're not indigenous, it could reek havoc in South Dakota. They might become worse than a cloud of grasshoppers or locusts. They might eat all of the prairie grass, or all of the corn, or all of the wheat. It could spread to Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas....wipe o! ut the midwest before infesting canada and mexico. Oh no! What if they got as far as California. What would they do to the grapes and the future of wine? Please be careful. This sounds serious. Geez, hope none came through with this e-mail.
If you decide on #8, I'd suggest that you get a bird or two that like ants and keep them around to do the dirty work for you. Remember that karma thing. Keep your soul safe.
On the other hand, fun to be around. Why wouldn't they like hanging out with you? Get sour, say mean things, don't bath for a while, don't brush your teeth. Act depressed. Stop being mr. nice guy and maybe they'll move out on their own.
I really don't know what the best approach is. If you're leaning toward #2, we could call in our computer whiz, Zack! oree. Jeff knows him. He could suggest what size knife maybe. Who knows, you said it's held fast. Might need a crow bar. Zac'll know.
Is there a web site for this situation? You might be able to find the solution on youtube (?utube?). 15 hours of beauty downloaded every minute of the day. Did you check wikipedia?
Good luck, Bro. Let me know what happens...........k


It's obvious to me that in the that the ant's most likely view you as the invader in there world. So put something they like more next to the key board and wate for them to take up residency there. Learn to speak ant Lao so you can at least communicate. Be greatful most people pass to the milkyway with out a single friend you now have many. Have a great day.



4 only...maybe. First, do no harm (to the computer, not the freakin' ants)



Hi Vic,

Have you tried electrical shock?



I took the computer to the shop where I paid the utmost attention to it's partial disassembly. Even though the guy was talking to me in pretty good English while he took it apart, I noticed he paid attention to where he was putting the screws.

No ants. He blew it out with pressurized air.

The ants were coming from my table. Laura is right. Stop feeding them. Thanks for all the suggestions. You were great.