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Ant infestation on estate making mine and daughter’s life ‘miserable’, says Camden resident

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 November 2020

Luise Usiskin has tried everything to rid her flat of pharaoh ants. Picture: Polly Hancock

Luise Usiskin has tried everything to rid her flat of pharaoh ants. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

An ant-infested estate is making life “miserable”, says a Camden woman whose four-year-old daughter has found insects in her porridge.

Pharaoh ants are much smaller than black garden ants. Seen here for scale with a 5p coin. Photographed in Luise Usiskin's sink. Picture: Polly HancockPharaoh ants are much smaller than black garden ants. Seen here for scale with a 5p coin. Photographed in Luise Usiskin's sink. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Ashington block on Warden Road in Kentish Town is “overrun” with pharaoh ants, resident Luise Usiskin said, claiming the infestation has dragged on for seven years.

However, Camden Council says before last week, when it implemented a treatment programme which is free for council tenants, it had not received any complaints since 2018.

Leaseholders are being charged £100 by the council to kill the yellow 2mm insects, but Luise said the authority’s poison treatment was ineffective and believes leaseholders should not have to pay for a building-wide problem.

Luise said: “It’s just miserable, you’re constantly covered in ants and you can’t leave any food out. You’re living in a house full of creepy crawlies.

Ashington, Warden Road, NW5. Picture: Polly HancockAshington, Warden Road, NW5. Picture: Polly Hancock

“It’s frustrating because we’re living in a really dirty, neglected block full of ants, and paying a fortune in service charges.”

She pays an annual £1,400 service charge and also footed a further £1,500 for essential building repairs over the past two years.

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Diversity and inclusion consultant Luise said she struggles to deliver her online training at home as the ants cover her laptop.

Though the ants carry a low health risk, she’s worried about the psychological stress on her four-year-old daughter Kiki, who she says has found insects in her morning porridge.

Luise said all her neighbours share the problem, including the 20 flats in her building and residents from across the estate, which includes around 450 properties.

In 2014, this newspaper reported that young mother Natasha Etheridge threatened to burn down her flat in Queen’s Crescent due to an infestation of pharaoh ants.

READ MORE: Police called after young mum threatens to burn down Queen’s Crescent flat over ant infestation

Camden Council said it had implemented a treatment programme at the estate last week, but prior to that, had not received any complaints since 2018.

The Town Hall added that treatment is free for council tenants but £100 for leaseholders.

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “If there is an issue with pests within a housing block, we will always take the necessary action to control and stop the problem in the best way possible.

“The council will be arranging for a block survey at the Ashington Estate this week to determine if any further action needs to be taken.”


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