Ants in my Sonos PLAY:1

  • 8 November 2014
  • 25 replies

I know it sounds utterly ridiculous, but there are ants living in my Sonos PLAY:1. As there's no easy way of opening it up, I can't try to kill them all, but they are constantly crawling out, and also seem to leave behind little black flecks of something. I assume they're eating something in the speaker (maybe the rubber?).

Not sure if anyone else has had this problem but would love to hear from you if you have and have any advice, as I'm worried that the sound quality will start deteriorating as they eat away at the speaker.
I've not had much luck with turning it off at the mains and leaving the speaker to cool down. They're still in there.

FWIW I'm in London, UK, and it's getting into winter here - so it's not as though seeing lots of ants in any situation is a common occurrence, which makes this even more bizarre.

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25 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Hi Helen, please call us (toll free) when you are by your PLAY:1. When you call make sure to provide your reference number: 141110-001049.
I have also experienced this problem. I have Play:1 on a table inside by house near my patio door. This morning I noticed a trail of ants coming in my house and tracked them to the Play:1. I lifted the Play:1 and found a small ant colony complete with eggs under the speaker and then ants proceeded to come out of the speaker. Perhaps the device's electronic emissions are attracting the ants?
I doubt that it is the emissions. The player seems warm and safe to the queen.

Here is a discussion that may be relevant.

I don't know about these ants, but many ants don't like to cross vinegar trails. You can steer and discourage ants by drawing vinegar "lines" on the floor. Obviously, the lines need to be renewed (often), but it is a non toxic method of managing ants. Avoid using a toxic agent because you'll just trap dead bodies inside the PLAY:1.

What is their source of food? Can you remove that source or cut it off with a vinegar trail? Leave an escape path for the ants, hopefully they'll use this escape path to move the colony if the PLAY:1 situation becomes untenable due to lack of food -- or the environment degrades.

If you could convince the colony that an external threat exists, maybe they'll all mass outside of PLAY:1 and you can mechanically deal with them.

Another tactic might be to use a heat lamp to make them uncomfortable, encouraging them to move. I'm not suggesting that you literally cook the ants, just make them uncomfortable. I don't know what the magic temperature might be. PLAY:1 can safely operate in 104°F ambient spaces. Beyond that, power to PLAY:1 should be removed.

Some insects, such as house flies, are sensitive to air movement and they will move away from an area with air movement.

The inverse of the above heat encouragement would be a cold flash. If there is a nearby air conditioning outlet, perhaps it could be directed on to the PLAY:1 with a fan. Blasts of 50°F or so air, might be enough to encourage a move.

You'll know when you have discovered a successful strategy because the colony will start moving the eggs. Don't discourage the move -- unless they are moving to the TV.

Here is some additional information. Again, I don't recommend directly killing the pests. I want to encourage them to move out ot the PLAY:1 and take their trash with them.
I just had this same thing happen. Eggs and literally hundreds of ants. We took the speaker out - put it in a bag - and starved them for four days. Put it back in, and all was fine for a few days. Then tonight - more eggs and ants. Help sonos!
I have the exact same ant problem! An entire colony is living in my sonos. Hundreds are poring out along with their eggs. I moved it outside for the moment, but I don't know how to kill them. Please advise, Sonos!
This will solve your ant problem, it will kill them all. They will all be dead inside the speaker though. LOL
I am having the same issue! I've given up. Ready to throw it out. It's not worth the hassle of cleaning all these ants constantly! Any advice welcome please.
Read above you're reply. This will all ants including queen.
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
I will never look at my Play 1 the same way again.. x_x Scary stories!
Userlevel 1
Have you tried cinnamon? Ants don't like it... dust some in the speaker and leave it somewhere for the ants to get out. Then vacuum the speaker grill thoroughly.

If you can't entice them out, put it in a plastic bag and freeze it? This will kill ants and eggs as the cell structures will burst.
This is the best thread EVER!
Personally I can't even bring myself to use my Sonos anymore. Mine is now in the garage and ready for the bin I think. I am a baker and cake decorator so the ants were an absolute nightmare. Since getting rid of the Sonos I have had no more ants in my kitchen - its been sprayed but I am too scared to bring it back in
Anyone ever figure out a solution to this? Found ants all over the play 1 on my dresser this morning.
This will solve your ant problem, it will kill them all. They will all be dead inside the speaker though. LOL

Never had any issues with ants and my SONOS Play 1's, but Terro has always worked like a charm when I get ants in my house. You can get it on Amazon too. I find this topic kind of bizarre. Surprised anyone could fault SONOS for this issue. Wouldn't this be more of an environment issue?
Not sure, Gravity. I could see the potential that the ants might be interested in a glue used inside the speaker, for instance. Not too many other things I could think of that would interest them, since it's mostly electronics inside there. And the couple of posts I've seen about this over the last several years have been Play:1s, so I wonder if there's a different kind of glue used in them.

I've had a lot of issues with Ants in my California home, especially in the kitchen area, but they've never been interested in my Play:1s. But as you say, for me it's certainly an environment issue, dealt with by employing an exterminator, but since they've never been "at" my speakers, I'm not sure how to respond to the issue.
Userlevel 4
Badge +5
My first thought would be to put it in the freezer overnight, however, ants come back to my backyard after each winter so maybe they're capable of surviving cold temps.
So, I've run into this same issue and was astounded to see how many other people have had this occur too. I was optimistic when I read the first response from Sonos support saying, reach out to us, so I did. And what a joke! They were ridiculous!!! The guys response was, "That happens. There is nothing we can do." No offer of suggestions until I pressed him for SOMETHING and he put me on hold to come back on a few minutes later and tell me to have my home owners insurance cover this. Yes, great plan. Let me pay a deductible to have my home owners insurance cover a Play1 cost. Next, I get the automated email saying that my issue is resolved and let them know if I disagreed. Yes, I disagree. The least you could do is provide some helpful information. I've copied and pasted the ever so helpful response from Sonos. Looks like this company needs to learn a little about Customer Support.

"Response Via Email (Kevin C) 04/12/2017 03:46 PM

I hope all is well.

Unfortunately we do not have support or cover for any products that has been affected by infestations. As a suggestion, you may want to look into any local electronics store or pest control that may be able to help you with removal of the infestation if the speaker is still functional otherwise. Please keep in mind if the speaker is no longer functional or damaged from the attempted repair, then the unit will have to be replaced entirely. In this event, I would like to clarify contacting your homeowner's insurance may be the only recourse short of purchasing a new speaker.

In terms of ant infestations, this can be found in electronics and devices outside of Sonos as well. I would certainly check for any other devices you may have as well and not limit this to Sonos.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to let me know. I will be more than happy to assist you where I am able.

Thank you,

Kevin C.
Sonos | Technical Support Specialist | Customer Care
Ask questions, find answers, and share your thoughts on the Sonos Community.
I have the same problem. Play 1 near a patio door. Another Play1 on a table on the other side of the room does not have the problem.

It reminds me of the damage being done by squirrels to automobile electrical systems. The industry has changes the material covering the conductive copper wires to a soy based material... which the squirrels find to be rather tasty. So there are occurrences of people coming out and trying to start their cars... and can't because the wires have been eaten - are not at all unusual.

In this case, it could be a combination of "tasty" materials and/or that the Play1 is a comfortably warm place for the Queen to be... as part of the electronics are always on.

My Play1 is current in a thick (freezer quality) zip lock bag in which I have sprinkled some diatamacous earth. If I get to the point where I think they are all dead, I will try using it again... but will have to put it someplace less convenient to access.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
I'll join in this thread necromancy.

I've not had any issues with insects seeking out our Sonos gear. I'll give the advice on how we handle any infestations of ants, which used to be a lot more common for us.

I start with Terro liquid bait. They take both the poison, and other ants who die from poison back to the colony for max effectiveness. Once the activity at the trap dies down (ha ha) then I cover the point of entry with diatomaceous earth or a long lasting poison.

Of course you'll not want them to trot all the dead back to your speaker, so it isn't a perfect fix for that. Let's be serious though it isn't the speaker's siren call that's getting them in the house. If you can catch them before they set up shop things will be dramatically easier to handle.

My Play1 is current in a thick (freezer quality) zip lock bag in which I have sprinkled some diatamacous earth. If I get to the point where I think they are all dead, I will try using it again... but will have to put it someplace less convenient to access.

An ingenious solution to a problem which shouldn't exist in the first place. 😉
Userlevel 2
wow, is this serious?

Seriously tho... try playing Ed Sheeran, nothing hangs about near a speaker after that....
Once a Sonos system is setup, you don't need the RJ-45 port. That is the the largest entry point for critters... as the power port has a tight fitting power plug. Has anyone had success, after extermination, with putting a piece of electrical tape over the RJ45 port? i.e. would that be sufficient to block future access? Hey, remember... electrical tape is what Mark Zuckerberg (et al) uses to block his webcam. Maybe we found yet another "high tech" application for electrical tape.

I am going to give that a try when it appears the existing infestation has reached EOL (end of life) and is no longer supported. Sorry, couldn't resist. But in the meantime, has anyone tried that approach with any luck?
Userlevel 7
Badge +16
You could put the Play1 in the middle of a big sheet of sticky insect trap paper?. The ants would get stuck coming in and out, eventually they would all be stuck outside the play 1.. I'm sure you can either buy LAN port cover bungs, or buy a set of empty connectors and make your own?.
My daughter noticed some ants crawling in through the mesh this morning and a quick google found this post. I found this youtube video, , showing how to open the unit - it's not too hard and mine is out of warranty anyway so I thought I would have a go. This is what I found in the top of the unit.

I gave it a good wipe out and put it back together and it all works fine.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Terro makes some great ant baits and area poisons that may prevent another infestation. I keep a couple baits stuck behind mom's computer and sprinkle outside her wall for just that reason.