Ant invasion drives Yellowknife mom to the brink

A Yellowknife woman is speaking out against Northern Property because her home is infested with ants.

“I explained to that lady… I'm supposed to live like this?” says Stephanie McNeely

CBC's Erin Brohman reports 2:12

Stephanie McNeely can't sleep at night because she sees the ants crawling on the ceiling.

She's sealed up the holes and she's sprayed her walls with Lysol, but the ants keep getting in.

Now she’s fearful for her five-month old son, and her own sanity.

“They're coming out of the walls underneath the vents in my bedroom,” she says. “They're coming out of the cracks and the ceiling and the walls. They're in my baby's crib.”

She says she first saw the pests in her apartment on Gitzel Street five days ago. 

She called her landlord, Northern Property, about it twice. She says they told her they couldn’t get anyone to fumigate the apartment in the Ridgeview building until mid-February.

“I explained to that lady… I'm supposed to live like this?” McNeely says.

McNeely says the problem only seems to be getting worse. Two days ago, her son broke out in red hives, and she’s sure the ants are to blame

“I noticed a black thing on his forehead,” she says. “He's so white it's easy to notice, so when I got closer it was an ant. I took it off him, I shook it off him, and then I noticed he started getting all these spots everywhere.”

McNeely took him to the doctor and is waiting for test results. Benadryl is helping with the rash, but the ants are still there.

“If it was just me and my husband it wouldn't bother me as much, because we can get Raid and stuff to fix it ourselves. But because of him [the baby] I have to be cautious with stuff that I spray.”

CBC News spoke to a few other ground floor tenants in McNeely’s building — no one else has had a problem with ants.

McNeely is staying at a friend's house for the night, but she's hoping to be transferred out of her apartment for good.

 Lizaine Wheeler, vice-president of operations for Northern Property in Calgary, says tenants can get a transfer to another apartment but there has to be a significant pest problem.

"We've got a fumigator that we're flying in from Edmonton in early February and we'll have them sprayed this week but we haven't seen any live ants," she said. "Four people have gone into the suite and nobody's seen any live ants." 

Wheeler says McNeely has requested a transfer not because of the ants but because she owes the company money.

"She was declined a transfer due to owing us money and now, a few weeks later, there's an ant story?" 

In the meantime, building staff gave her a single ant trap.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.