A homemaker's unsettling find in a washing machine has horrified the internet, with some people describing it as their "worst nightmare".
The desperate Aussie posted a plea for advice in a Facebook group dedicated to cleaning tips after discovering the appliance had been totally overtaken by ants.
Photos reveal thousands of ants inside the washing machine and even crawling around the display screen. "I cleaned them all out and have put Ant-Rid around but when I started a load, more appeared so they must be all inside where I can't get to," the Facebook user wrote.
Fellow group members were equally disturbed by the find. "This is my worst nightmare! Not helpful at all but I'd burn it," came one member's reaction. "My skin just started itching. Sorry, I have no ideas for you," added another. "OMG never seen something like this before! Are you washing with sugar water or what?" asked someone else.
Multiple others shared their own similar experiences, revealing they'd seen everything from hot water systems to steam irons infested by ants. "Ants destroyed my electronics too. Had to replace the board on my fridge," one member commented.
"We had the same problem with our split system air-conditioner, ants were all nested in it. We had to fully replace it," another responded. "We had this issue with a printer - we saw ants around it and on it and opened the lid and they had nested under the glass. We threw out the printer... good luck!" offered a third.
What to do with an ant infestation
Warren Bailey from ABC Pest Control said although it's unusual for ants to nest in such a place, the appliance can be saved in this instance. "I've never seen ants take over a washing machine, but I've definitely treated ant infestations before," Mr Bailey told Yahoo News Australia.
"It's absolutely treatable, I wouldn't think you'd need to throw out the washing machine, if you use a good quality ant gel they'll take it back to the nest and wipe the nest out," he suggested.
However, for an infestation of this magnitude, Mr Bailey recommends bringing in a pest control expert, as a store-bought gel might not cut it.
Why would ants nest there?
As for how the insects came to be in the appliance, Mr Bailey said it's important to look for something that would have attracted them to that spot, as the common black ant wouldn't generally seek out a washing machine as a nesting place.
According to the Victoria Health website, Singapore ants are mostly responsible for nesting in home electronics. The introduced species is specifically attracted to plastics in electrical items and often nests in power sockets, where they chew on electrical wiring.
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