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

Weedington Road flats resident Natasha Etheridge uses bleach to combat the ants that have invaded th

Weedington Road flats resident Natasha Etheridge uses bleach to combat the ants that have invaded the block. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A frustrated young mother has admitted being quizzed by police after threatening to burn down her flat to tackle an invasion of ants.

Tiny pharaoh ants are about 2mm in size. Picture: J-E Nystrom

Tiny pharaoh ants are about 2mm in size. Picture: J-E Nystrom - Credit: J-E Nystrom

Natasha Etheridge told a Camden Council housing officer she was on the verge of torching her council home in Weedington Road, Queen’s Crescent, after two years of being plagued by pharaoh ants.

The single mother, who lives with her nine-month-old daughter and four-year-old son, admits she made the rash remark after being driven to her wit’s end by the insect problem – after finding the creatures all over her baby’s cot.

Ms Etheridge, 34, was reported to police by the council officer last month. Police spoke to her about the incident before taking no action.

She said: “I’m living like a freak to tell you the truth. I’m constantly cleaning and my kids can’t play or crawl on the floor – it’s preventing my nine-month-old baby from developing.

“My four-year-old can’t sleep, waking up at night to check his bed. I’m just going mad. They’re in the food, in our clothes, on the TV – everywhere. I threatened to burn the place down – that’s how far they’ve been pushing me.”

Light-yellow pharaoh ants are described as a public health problem on the council’s own website, which says they “carry germs from dirty places to clean food” and are difficult to control.

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Ms Etheridge, who has obsessive compulsive disorder, says the council has done little to help and has ignored her pleas to be placed in temporary accommodation until the problem is sorted.

“I’ve been telling Camden Council now for two years but nobody will help me,” she said.

“Everybody is affected on my road, other people are saying they’re riddled with them.

“When I saw them in my baby’s cot, I just started crying. It’s like I can’t even look after my own kids.”

A council spokesman said pest control officers visited Ms Etheridge’s flat on Tuesday and did not find any live pharaoh ants.

He added: “In the last year, 10 addresses in the Weedington Road complex have reported pharaoh ants.

“Every time a report is made, pest control officers visit to assess the situation and undertake treatment with specialist bait as required.

“Officers have visited Ms Etheridge’s address a number of times over the past year and have promptly treated any incidents as required.”

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