Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Santa & his ants land on Faribault rooftop December 14, 2022

Just Santa and one of his ants… (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

UP ON A ROOFTOP in Faribault, Santa guides not his reindeer, but a team of ants. Unusual? Yes, unless your pest control company is headquartered inside the rambler at 904 N. Lyndale Avenue.

Santa and his ants at Francis Animal & Pest Control, Faribault. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

Sean Francis heads up Francis Animal & Pest Control where Santa stands next to the TV antenna, near the chimney, looking down on five red ants, four on the roof, one scaling a ladder. Three carry Christmas trees, the others a wreath and garland.

Toting a tree that lights at night. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

This pest control business owner of 29 years installed the ants earlier this year, hauling the four hefty 60-70 pound aluminum ants onto the roof and keeping one on the ground. A cricket perches atop the garage roof. Francis is used to rooftop work as he’s on roofs daily dealing with squirrels, bats, birds and other pest issues throughout Minnesota.

One of the ant-riding skeletons posed atop the roof for Halloween. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo October 2022)

The ants, he said, add a fun element and draw attention to his business. His four kids, ages 7 to 14, love the ants. And so does the general public, he said. They especially liked the skeletons he added at Halloween.

Up on the rooftop…Santa and his ants. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

The Christmas ants and Santa have been in place for about a month. Whether Francis continues to change things out depends on time and ideas.

Bulbs, greenery and lights transform the ants for Christmas. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

The Faribault businessman first came up with the rooftop ants idea when he saw large-scale ants at a vintage shop in Albert Lea. But when he returned to buy them, they were gone. The hunt began. After 6.5 years of searching, Francis finally found the Mexico-made ants in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where they are assembled.

Santa and the ants add a festive flair to the snow-covered roof of Francis Animal & Pest Control. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

Now they’re comfortably colonizing in southern Minnesota, drawing attention to the pest control company along a busy four-lane in Faribault. They’ve become a humorous roadside oddity and, in this season of Christmas, a one-of-a-kind holiday attraction.

I hope Sean Francis comes back with a new idea for his rooftop ants. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

TELL ME: Do you have any suggestions for these ants after Christmas? What should Sean Francis do with them next?

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Santa & his ants land on Faribault rooftop”

  1. beth Says:

    I love the creativity here, so festive and hilarious

  2. Those ants are brilliant! I love them! Maybe post holidays they can be belly up indicating too much holiday fun AND a successful pest control advertisement. 😊

  3. I remember your first piece about these. It’s good to see a sequel! 🙂

  4. LOVE this – just makes your day! There is so many themes he could do – hearts for Valentine’s, for 4th of July could go so many directions (i.e., army men, red, white, & blue, Uncle Sam, etc.), pot of gold for St. Patty’s, etc. The possibilities are endless throughout the year to dress up the ants – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  5. Valerie Says:

    The ants are great, in their own right. 😉
    Francis is right…the ants do draw attention to his business…that’s how I learned it was a pest control business.
    I like the ants. It’s fun to know the story behind them.

  6. Susan Ready Says:

    What a fun eye-catching idea to draw people to their business. How about they add some big hearts with a message that says Kindness Matters??

  7. Washe Koda Says:

    OMG that is Faribault with that Winguard high- gain TV antenna to pick up Msp/St Paul 😉 I don’t quite understand the ant though 🎅 Season Greetings Audrey. ~Willy

    • Willy, it’s great to hear from you. We get our TV reception via a rooftop antenna also, although not as fancy as the one pictured here.

      The ants connect to this being a pest control business as ants sometimes need to be eradicated from buildings.

      I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for your wishes.

  8. These are wonderful! I love how much fun these ants have provided. They should definitely have some shamrocks and beer for St. Patrick’s Day in the new year.

  9. I laughed out loud when I saw this! I remembered your post from earlier this year but this was crazy funny! What a great way to advertise and add something to the community in a positive way. I think the 🐜 eyes should glow red to guide Santa’s sled.

  10. Sandra Says:

    I know that house, the original owners went to Trinity, was confirmed with the daughter. Martin Schroeder had a crazy sense of humor, would just love this. Pest business people here have to limit themselves to funny trucks, this is just big fun. Did a phone search, guess there is quite a bit competition. Love the skeleton on ant. I predict a long, happy and fun future for them all and maybe a larger storage area. Thanks for this feature!

  11. Char Says:

    I love driving past the ants to see what they’re up to – they make me smile. Thanks Sean!

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