Dealing with ants: natural remedies or poisons? | Marilyn Secco

It seems that I have been fighting a war without help for weeks. It all started when I moved my rarely used toaster and discovered that a busy small ants convention was in full swing. No doubt, the crumbs they found could have sustained them for a long time, but I went into action immediately. I was horrified by this rude invasion and grabbed the closest weapon I could find, a Windex spray bottle. He didn't kill them, but slowed them down enough for me to clean them and rinse them with hot water down the drain. I cleaned the toaster and then cleaned the countertops with bleach, only to find more invaders entering through a tiny crack in the corner above the countertop. I had a feeling that the war had just begun.

A little later, I discovered an ant floating in the cat's food and water dish in the laundry, and I knew that the enemy had infiltrated even more into my personal space. They say that knowledge is power, and I decided to educate myself and discover the best way to eliminate these pests. A little research gave some interesting tips. There were all kinds of natural things that were supposed to repel ants, such as cayenne pepper, peppermint oil, lavender oil, lemon juice, white vinegar, garlic, coffee beans, chalk and even baby powder.

He had a fresh and powerful jar of cayenne pepper in his hand, so I shook him generously all the way he had seen them come in, even just above the ants I saw. He didn't even delay them! The next day, those ants were building small hills of red ants with cayenne pepper! Next, I tried white vinegar dishes placed in strategic areas, and even washed the entire area with white vinegar. The smell was enough to repel me, but not the ants. I found some ants floating in the vinegar the next day, but there were even more creatures coming in, still running through cayenne pepper. By then, I had lost faith in the use of natural remedies to get rid of these little ants, and I went to WalMart to arm myself with something stronger. Back through the mops and brooms I discovered some ant traps. I loaded and went home and put them in every corner where I had seen ants. Then I watched to see if they rushed to these little ant motels as I expected them to do.

Occasionally, some ants came and went, but they didn't seem very attracted to what was inside. The idea was to take the poisonous food to the ant colony and start killing them. After a week without interruptions in ant traffic, I knew I needed some bigger weapons to fight in this war!

I went to Lowe's and went straight to the hall of poisons. There is even a noxious smell in that hallway and I didn't want to spend more time there than absolutely necessary. There were all kinds of products to choose from, and I chose another trap brand that contains poison that ants carry to the colony. The package had all kinds of warnings on the label, such as: "Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Wash your hands after handling." And the poison is not even exposed. It is inside the plastic container. Scary things, but I was desperate. I put the traps around the area as indicated. There was a decrease in ant traffic in two days, and I haven't seen any ant in a while.

When I was at Lowe & # 39; s, I was surprised to see huge supplies of Round-Up, a herbicide that has been shown to cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma, DNA damage, diabetes, autism spectrum disorders and Alzheimer's disease. There have been many court cases in which Monsanto was sued for damages and the plaintiffs won huge awards, but none of the funds granted could compensate for the suffering and deaths it has caused. It has been alleged that Monsanto knew the dangers of this product, but exerted its considerable influence on the Environmental Protection Agency to allow Round Up to continue to be marketed as a safe product. Many American farmers have used it to increase crop yields by reducing weed growth. Despite the dangers we now know, that product is still widely sold! What is wrong with this picture?

We went through this before with DDT, which was a commonly used insecticide from 1939 until it was banned in 1972 due to the changes it was causing in wildlife. For example, DDT was blamed for the near extinction of the bald eagle. The eagles consumed insects or animals that had been contaminated with DDT, which caused the eagle eggshells to soften, which caused the offspring to die. There are so many chemicals on the market today that have not been tested to determine their long-term effect on animals and people, and I think we are unprepared guinea pigs.

I think most people know someone who has been affected by cancer and has witnessed the unspeakable suffering it causes. Often, we have no idea that the culprit could be a widely used and openly available product on store shelves, and government agencies that are supposed to protect us from harmful chemicals may not be doing a good job.

I may have won the ant battle for now, but I will be watching for more invaders before declaring a victory. I just wish that cayenne pepper and vinegar had worked, so I wouldn't have needed to resort to poisons. Now we know that poisons often kill more than pests and weeds.

Marilyn Secco is a retired teacher and author of the book "Front Porch Tales". He has two children and five grandchildren and lives in Kersey with a temperamental cat named Tidder. Contact her at [email protected]

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