Red ants invade Bromley-by-Bow block of flats

Families are calling for action over an infestation of red ants in a six-storey block of flats in Bromley-by-Bow. 

The ants have got into flats on all six floors at Ashmore House South in Violet Road, seeping into food, medicine supplies — and even a laptop. 

Now the housing association for the building, Clarion Housing, is promising “block-wide treatment” to get rid of the infestation.  

Emama Choddhuri and her elderly mum use a torch to search their kitchen for ants before preparing the family's meals

Emama Choddhuri and her elderly mum use a torch to search their kitchen for ants before preparing the family’s meals

– Credit: Mike Brooke

“I have a baby and the ants get into the baby food,” mum-of-five Emama Choddhuri told the Advertiser. 

“My elderly mother is on medication and the ants get in her medicine.” 

Emama Choddhuri and her family... having to live with ant infestation in  their home

Emama Choddhuri and her family… having to live with ant infestation in their home

– Credit: Mike Brooke

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Ants have also got into Emama’s rice storage in the kitchen. She uses a torch to search for the insects before preparing meals for her family.

Emama’s neighbour Anneke Nelson fumed: “I am beyond being fed up. The ants are in my son’s desk where he does his homework, which is riddled with them. Ants have even got into my laptop which I’ve had to put in a plastic bag in a bucket.” 

Anneke Nelson's laptop plagued by red ants which have got inside

Anneke Nelson’s laptop plagued by red ants which have got inside

– Credit: Mike Brooke

Anneke threatened to withhold the service charge for her £1,000-a-month rented home after she says she got no response from Clarion Housing for weeks, and wrote to Tower Hamlets councillor Danny Hassell.

Cllr Hassell confirmed: “We have written to Clarion asking what assessments have been made and what next steps they propose to take.” 

Clarion has called in its pest control contractors after getting complaints from the families. 

Its spokesman said: “We are monitoring the situation and will undertake a block-wide treatment if we find the ants are spreading and not declining.” 

Anneke shows her laptop infected with ants to her shocked neighbours

Anneke shows her laptop infected with ants to her shocked neighbours

– Credit: Mike Brooke

An Advertiser investigation found the infestation has reached all six floors.  

Mum-of-four Lianne John on the fifth floor said: “People are getting bitten and we don’t know if these ants are spreading germs or disease. I wake up and I’m having to spray chemicals each morning and evening – that’s not good in a small space with young children.”  

Her neighbour, mum-of-three Noor Sanukay, said: “We get ants on the bed. My children get bitten. They wake up with spots on their faces. My oldest daughter won’t sleep in the bedroom because she saw ants on her bed.”  

Sushana Alomon on the sixth floor said: “We get ants in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and even on my duvet cover.” 

Families who have lived in Ashmore House since it opened in 2011 say the ants appeared after cladding was removed last summer.

The removal follows national concerns about the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.

Scurrying ants at Ashmore House

Scurrying ants at Ashmore House

– Credit: Mike Brooke

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