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Keeping the ants out

Last Updated : 30 July 2015, 18:41 IST

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Left, right, left. Left, right, left. Forward march the army of ants towards any food, crumbs, or titbits left unarmed on the battlefield. Once they feast on our leftovers, they continue the war by finding the rest of our perishables and making sure they stay true to their name.

These seemingly insignificant creatures prefer to make their move during the
summer season, when they can play a game of “Who can annoy the humans the most” against the scorching hot sun. My money would be on the pesky ants.

Fortunately, we can arm ourselves against the ants by grabbing a few common household items. Most of these home remedies involve the use of strong scents to negate the ant’s sense of smell. Ants have roughly four times more the olfactory receptors of other insects.

Considering the fact that this amounts to more than 400 receptors, this proves to be a very effective method. Although the degree of effectiveness varies with each method, they all should be tested to find the perfect one for your household.

Vinegar
Spraying vinegar at points of entry around the house and areas where ants were last seen do not just misdirect the ants but also destroys pheromones that they leave behind. These tiny creatures depend on these pheromones to navigate and find their way back to previously visited spots.

Black Pepper
Tired of stamping on the line of ants and doing your best to rid yourself of them? Sprinkle black pepper on them and watch them retreat. This also shows you their entry points, which can now be reinforced using the other methods mentioned.

Mint
A prettier and more productive idea is to plant mint. Keeping a pot of mint near doors and windows works out to be very beneficial. Again, this interferes with the ant’s sense of smell. Apart from keeping the house ant -free, it also keeps the place looking fresh and green!

Chalk/talcum powder
You need to know where to draw the line. Literally. Using chalk or talcum powder, create a laxman rekha for the ants. It destroys their sense of smell and crossing it is near impossible for them. Use this to create a barrier at the points of entry at your house.

Citrus Peels/Cucumber
If the above supplies do not sound very appealing, you can choose to use citrus peels or cucumber to keep the pests away. Placing either of them near the ant’s areas of interest nauseate them. Citrus peels and cucumber tend to be mild, compared to the rest of the remedies. Ants tend to avoid them because they kill a certain fungi that they feed on.

Cinnamon sticks
These are preferred over a lot of other options because the convenience of leaving it in your storeroom is less tedious than growing and caring for a mint plant. A lot of sweets and dishes use cinnamon to add flavour and also a lovely aroma to them, so having your house smell like this is just an added bonus!

Apply these to the entry points of the house that the ants use, or just places you suspect in general could be ant hotspots - usually the windows, doors or small holes in and around the house.

Purchasing poison to rid us of this problem is just a walk to the store. Although this is not advisable, especially around children and pets that stand in the line of fire against the ant battalions.

Especially when there are easily accessible alternatives that happen to be more earth-friendly, convenient andbetter smelling, there is no point of using anything other than these home-brewed ant-busters.

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Published 30 July 2015, 15:24 IST

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