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Ants in Our Homes

As the seasons change, it is common to find a number of unexpected (and tiny) guests in our homes. Unfortunately, these guests are not so welcome and can be tough to get rid of.

There are various insecticides that will eliminate ants. Chlorpyrifos is probably the most effective and is available in a number of commercial versions containing 0.5% of the active ingredient. It is also commonly used by professional exterminators who may have to drill holes in walls and spray in a mixture of chlorpyrifos and boric acid. Diazinon, another insecticide, when used as a spray at a concentration of around 12.5%, can also work well. And if the infestation is localized, ant traps with 0.125% chlordecone will work. Faced with an anthill? The answer is hot vinegar! Just pour it right over.

There are also various "home remedies" that can be used to get rid of ants. A mixture of borax and sugar placed around baseboards works. Some people even claim that ants will not walk across a line of powdered Crayola chalk, a mixture of calcium carbonate and water washed clay. Then there are homemade ant traps, which can be made by mixing a quarter cup of sugar, a quarter cup of baking yeast, and a half cup of molasses. Smear this goop in a thin layer on index cards then place the cards are syrup side-up where the ants will travel. These ants will soon find themselves in a sticky situation (as will you when needing to clean them up).

But how should you keep the ants from showing up in the first place? A simple recipe of boiling two tablespoons of sassafras leaves with two cups of water. Wait for five minutes to strain the mixture and then paint the ants' entry point. 

Another method to deter ants from showing up is moldy lemons! Believe it or not, bay leaves also do the trick. As do cloves, which might work the best of them all. 

And if all else fails, at least they're cute to watch. The bay ones, at least. 


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