Doing What Works
Anyone that knows me will tell you I am a huge nature lover. But when something tries to drink my blood (ticks, fleas, mosquitoes), destroy my home (termites, fungi) or spoil and steal my food (mice, ants, cockroaches) then I feel taking action is only fair. Its actually just self-defence and we all have the right to defend ourselves!
That said, there are ways of defending ourselves that are sensible and ways that are not. Defending yourself from a burglar with an atomic bomb would be insane, right? Well, in just the same way, defending yourself against insects with the indiscriminate over-use of insecticides is not a sane choice. Why? Insecticides don’t just kill the insects they are used on; they also kill those insects’ natural enemies meaning the pests can come back stronger and harder next time. Worse than that: many insects are our allies or, at the very least, not in any way bothersome to us and these too are indiscriminately killed with the use of insecticides. And to top it all, insecticides are also somewhat toxic to us, our children and pets too. Now, I’m not saying there is no place for insecticides, just that we need to be very careful and judicious in their use. And we should really only use them when we have exhausted other options.
So given all that, what to do about a plague of ants? I recently had my home, my kitchen and my worm farm invaded. The little blighters got in everywhere and caused havoc. And not only do I prefer not to use insecticides for the reasons stated above, but they are actually of minimal use against ants. You can kill all the ants you see; the problem is not solved until you kill the whole nest – and in my case there were at least two or three nests!
So I was very excited to discover some very useful information. Would you believe there is a solution that:
1. Kills the whole nest
2. Does not kill other insects
3. Is safe and non-toxic to humans and pets
4. Works fast – kills the whole nest in a day or two at the outside
5. Is MUCH cheaper than insecticide
6. Is really incredibly easy to use.
Here’s the answer: Get some Borax from the store. You’ll normally find it with the washing detergents because mostly people add this to the soap when they wash their clothes.
Mix the Borax with castor sugar or icing sugar (you want to use the finest sugar you can) in the ratio 1 part borax to 2 parts sugar. Now add just a very little water – perhaps just a few drops – just enough so that you can stir it into a runny paste.
You can now drop dollops of this paste wherever you find the “ant lines”. Or, to limit the mess, you can put the dollops on little squares of plastic, foil or similar and then place those where the ants are tracking back and forth. I like to make a good few of these little “feeders” and place them all along the ant lines. This way the ants find it quickly and immediately cluster around the sticky gunk and begin to “load up” thinking this is the biggest sugary bounty ever.
It will look as if they are feeding on the mixture but this is not actually so. What they are doing is collecting the mixture to carry home to the nest. And here is why this is so effective: when they feed the queen and the grubs with this stuff they all die. When the nest dies, all the ants die. Problem truly, finally solved!
You’ll notice the flurry of activity around the feeders suddenly dies off after about a day. Wait until you see not even one ant anywhere. Then you can simply throw out the feeders.
Since this is targeted directly at the ants, as they themselves carry it home to the nest, there is little to no collateral damage to other “innocent” life forms.
And since the LDL (toxicity) of Borax is actually lower than that of table salt, this is a pretty safe thing to have in your home. If a child or a pet licks a dollop of this stuff it’s actually okay.
So, I have to admit I do actually feel a bit bad about this. I know all of life is consciousness and I actually do believe an ant nest is an individual. But on balance I think this is a way to defend myself against incursion that causes the least harm to all of life.
So I am really pleased to announce my home, my kitchen and my worm farm are now completely ant free!
If you try this please leave a comment below sharing your experiences and, similarly, if you have found other non-toxic ways to deal with insects please share those too!