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More crap, and... ants!
By the way... the ADSL connection at the flat died when I was in the middle of writing a rant about being racially abused on the bus. I suppose now I have internet again I should finish it and post it, but it's hard to get into a ranting kind of mood if you're feeling okay. And don't even try suggesting that I should think about something that really makes me angry for a few minutes to get in the mood, I kinda like not being pissed off!

Have decided we probably won't have our house-warming party on 26th June, as Richard is supposed to be paintballing that day already, it's also supposed to be his work's summer party, and there is every possibility that the house will be full of damp proofers and plasterers. (Bets are being taken now as to whether The Chemicals![*] the damp proofers need to use will set off one or more allergies in me. Fortunately? I can always go back to the flat for a couple of days if needsbe). I'd much rather have people come to formally View the house when all the (major) work is done and it's decorated the way we want it. So, with all the various other things going on in July, it'll probably be the first weekend in August instead. As a result I'll do something on the 26th probably not in the house probably only with close friends (but feel free to invite yourself along anyway (unless you're someone I really don't like)).

To finish boring you, ants have invaded our sugar cupboard. Now, I quite like ants - I could watch them for whole minutes at a time - but nonetheless, I would prefer not to have any in my cupboards. Putting poison down is completely out of the question. I have heard of "the Buddhist insecticide" approach, whereby you put down something like bicarbonate of soda, which is nontoxic in small quantities but toxic in large ones - the idea being that instead of you killing the ant, it kills itself through its own greed; but I'm not sure my ethics are even comfortable with that. Does anyone know of a method for removing ants without harming them at all? I wondered if there was something I could do to disrupt the pheromone(?) trails that they use to signal to each other where food is, or intentionally leave a largish pile of sugar somewhere far away from my cupboard...

Help urgently needed for the ant problem. Sarcy comments not urgently needed. :D

[*] Whenever we refer to "bad" chemicals, we always talk about them as "Chemicals!" with capital letters and horrified tone of voice. This is to mock my mother, who is one of these people who believes that "chemicals" are fundamentally bad. I have tried pointing out to her that every cell in her body and everything she ever interacts with contains chemicals, that water and food are chemicals, that herbal medicines also contain chemicals, but to no avail. I half-feel like I have failed as a chemistry teacher in that I can't overcome 50 years of belief with a few hours of common sense. Huh.

Current Mood: loved loved
Current Music: as there is a Richard behind me hugging

8 comments or Leave a comment
From: jinian Date: 18th June 2004 14:00 (UTC) (Link)
The trails are formic acid, as I recall. Washing the area with a weak base ought to remove the trails and probably wouldn't hurt them, but they might come back if there's still something for them to eat.
From: kightp Date: 18th June 2004 14:18 (UTC) (Link)
You can disrupt the scent trails by wiping the area throughly with vinegar, or with baking soda (not both at once unless you want a foamy mess!)

As to luring them out of the cupboard/house ... good luck. Short of scouring out your cupboards and transferring all the contents to tightly sealed bags/cannisters, I know of no way to dissuade ants from going after the food they want.

If you can find where the ants are entering, you can try putting down sugar or honey there (outside the house) and see if it satisfies them, but don't be surprised if it attracts more sweet-loving insects instead.

(I do know a human- and pet-safe way to commit anticide, but won't offer them unless you change your mind about the ethical dilemma. I do sympathize.)
otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 18th June 2004 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
Richard Feynman describes a method for discouraging ants, using a small pile of sugar, some pieces of paper and copious free time.
From: taimatsu Date: 19th June 2004 08:05 (UTC) (Link)
I was just going to mention that, as I've been re-reading 'Surely You're Joking, Mr Feyman!'. But you got there first.. Ah well. ;)
lindsical From: lindsical Date: 19th June 2004 00:16 (UTC) (Link)
Kinda OT but I sent a birthday card to you... I didnt know who's bday it was but I remembered something about-- well you'll see when you open the card.

For ants... chalk works
baratron From: baratron Date: 21st June 2004 11:30 (UTC) (Link)
Yep, it came today. Good timing :) It's my birthday.
From: wuluf Date: 19th June 2004 01:43 (UTC) (Link)
The most humane way is to find where there coming from and remove the queen from the nest. You cannot miss a queen they are huge and I believe their is only one in a nest. Once she is gone they will slowly go away. Ants live in a hierarchical structure and there only purpose in life is to support the queen.

We have an ant problem too at the back of one of the kitchen cupboards though we are using the chemical route.
mjl From: mjl Date: 23rd June 2004 18:06 (UTC) (Link)
Bit of a late response, but I was just flipping channels and QVC were selling an "ultrasonic pest repeller" which apparently humanely repels mice, rats, bats, flies, spiders, cockroaches and ants. Pet safe as long as you don't have a hamster or other rodent as a pet - doesn't hurt them but they may be "distressed". I guess causing distress to rats and ants that can run away from the noise counts as humane. Anyway, might be worth looking into if you haven't done something else by now.
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