Family forced to live off takeaways as result of ant-infested home

A WOMAN living in an ant-infested house in Cardiff which had a hole in its floor claimed she had been waiting weeks for it to be repaired.

Ella Mason, who has been living in her council house in Highmead Road, Ely, since 2013, claimed she had also been putting up with cracks in her walls and peeling plaster for over two years.

Cardiff Council said plastering work took place at the property in April and additional work was scheduled to take place next month. Additionally, works to repair the hole in the floor in Ms Mason’s property were completed on Thursday, May 18, said the council.

However, Ella said she was unhappy about how long it took for the work to take place and that she and her two boys, both 10, had had enough of living in the house.

The ant infestation had got so bad, she claimed the family had sometimes had to live off takeaways.

“I shouldn’t have to live like that,” claimed Ella, 36. “My kids don’t even want to be in the same house with all of the ants running around. They are all over my living room floor. They are all over my kitchen floor, they are all over my kitchen cupboards.

“[They] got into my food… so I had to chuck everything out last week. My kids were eating a lot of takeaways because they wouldn’t eat because by the time I had put their food on the plate there are ants there.”

Ella, who works in retail, has also tried her hand at starting her own resin art business. However, she claimed that even this had been affected by the ants.

She added: “They are getting on everything. They are living in my house rent free basically.”

The ant infestation at Ella’s property was reported to the council on May 4 and the pest control team was sent the following day.

Ella said the problem continued after this visit. The council has since responded saying that the pest control team had been in contact with her to arrange a re-visit.

Ella claimed the ants had been affecting her property for over two months and the “gaping hole” in her living room floor appeared about six weeks ago.

Over the past two years of having had to put up with cracks in the wall and peeling plaster work, Ella said she had even resorted to spending her own money on trying to fix the council house.

She said: “I can’t decorate it because all of the problems are still persisting. It is just wasting money into my property and I haven’t got money to waste.

When asked about the impact that the housing issues were having on her two children, Ella added: “My kids just think it is absolutely dirty. One of them is really affected. He won’t have any toast, he won’t have anything which is on the side of the unit.

“He is really funny like that. He has seen the ants now and that is it. He hates it. He hates my house.”

Ella is on Band Bi of Cardiff Council’s housing waiting list, which is one of the higher priority bands, but she has been waiting on this since 2017.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “Works to repair the hole in the floor in Ms Mason’s property were completed this week (Thursday). Some additional ventilation work identified by our operatives during this visit will take place shortly.

Plastering work began at the property in April and additional work is scheduled to take place next month. Previous attempts to complete this work both in June, 2021, and June, 2022, were not successful due to the tenant not being home at the time of the pre-arranged appointment and on another occasion, refusing access to operatives.

While routine works such as plastering are usually completed within 25 working days, we are currently dealing with a high number of requests for replastering work, which is having an impact on these normal timescales. We are grateful for tenants’ patience.

More than 22,700 repairs were carried out by the council’s own responsive repairs teams and contractors on our 13,800 council homes in the city in 2022/23.

“Emergency works are usually completed within two to 24 hours, and we aim to address urgent cases within five working days.

In response to the ant infestation reported to the council earlier this month, while ants are considered as a nuisance pest rather than a public health one, our pest control team did attend the following day. A further report has been made and the team is in contact with Ms Mason to arrange a revisit.”

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