Monday, October 3, 2011

What Do Ants Have to Do With Community Building?

Well, ants live in community, that we know.  When I recently posted about our ant invasion on the Dorshei Derekh listserv, I was astounded to receive a dozen+ helpful responses.  Several people asked for the information.  Hence I am posting it all, with a paean to community.  It's really wonderful that we can share info on anything from ants to tshuva!  Though we hope that the ants will not return....
First, a report from our house.  We put out the ant traps from Weavers Way, which I presumed were screened for eco-friendliness.  The ant population multiplied.  We then added ant traps from the hardware store.  Yet more multiplication.  While waiting for the ant trap magic to work (the ants are attracted to the chemical in the trap, take it back to their nest, where it eventually kills them), we used sticky tape to catch ants, and eventually we vacuumed them up, too.  Suddenly, just as we were about to resort to calling an exterminator, their numbers plummeted, and now there are just a few.  It took about ten days.

The following advice is predicated on the idea that you see how the ants are getting into your house (which we couldn't).
These ant-repellent eco friendly products were recommended:
1. Boric acid, laid out on the floor where ants feed. - From a few people
2. A temporary fix is Orange Guard. It's available at Whole Foods. It's completely safe and ants won't go near it. It won't destroy the nest, but if you're vigilant, you can keep your kitchen relatively ant-free. - From Gina.
3. Try wiping  Citrasolve cleaner (orange peel extract) full strength at doorways and other places they enter and traverse. - from Anna.
4. Use lavender oil or mint oil or cinnamon oil in a spray, and spray any entry points you can find.  This can kill them directly, but they also won't want to cross where the oil is sprayed.  So spray away (nice smelling & toxin free), and refresh it about once each day. -From Morissa in Boston.

A number of people recommended exterminators:
1. Natural Pest Control -- GREAT and responsive -- advice on ant invasion
 1915 West Olney Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19141-1112 (215) 276-2962 ‎- You get a discount as a Weaver's Way member.  Several people made this recommendation.
2. A good exterminator originally recommended by Steve and Beulah:  PTC  215-643-2750.
3. Arrest-A-Pest Termite & Pest Control  109 Northwood Rd , Newtown Square, PA 19073, Phone: 610-356-7600
4. We are happy with Orkin Pest Control.

Shai Gluskin gets the helpful neighbor award.  Here's his household's DIY approach:
We had an ant invasion this summer.
If you are willing to go the toxic approach... spraying the spray on the outside of your house where your wall meets the dirt. If you have a single house it might take 2 - 3 cans to make it all the way around your house. You can also spray on the outside in major cracks you see. For us, that provided almost instant results. In terms of prevention, we got the outdoor traps (from Killian) and put them around the outside in addition to the indoor traps.
We did not need an exterminator for this. We pay a guy to inspect our house for termites every year. He was the one who told us that spraying on the outside of the house was the key.

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