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Ok, David, all I can say is EWWWWW! Ant Mead? That sounds as bad as that goldfish mead. That and I am here in Houston, home of some the most horrendous fireants in the country. Formic acid? You betcha! Not something I'd want to drink. *grins*
Ways to handle ants. First know your enemy. Ants are blind and use chemical breadcrumbs to help the others in the hive to find food. So when you see ants imediatley clean the outsides of any and all containers. and mop your floors with bleach water or disinfectants. If you have carpets in the area then just wipe down the fermenter and surrounding area daily. Adding the soap to the moat will denature the hormones in the moat and keep any ants from being able to find the path to yor mead.
As for ant baits. Use them if you want. But remember sometimes the ants can be helpfull too. Especially if you spill some must in and area you can't clean. The ants will get into the cracks and get out the nutrients before mold and bacteria can take over, helping to take care of your cleaning.
The tray of water to stop ants is the easiest solution. Any sort of tray with a one to two inch lip would probably do the job.You should also try to find out where they are coming from. That way you can hopefully find the nest (more likely not as they can be very hard to find) and take out the lot. Keeping a good seal on you brews is the best solution. Stop them even getting interested. I haven't found any ants that can swim through an airlock. Another option is to get some exterminators in. You would want to make sure you have really good seals on everything if you decide to take that route.