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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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