A is for attitude, ants, apples, aartapples and a few more things besides…
Today we’re focusing on attitude and ants.
Our attitude is so influential on everything around us – from people to creatures to our natural environment…
If we grow up with a fear of all creepy crawlies, the first thing we may look for is something to help us get rid of the little blighters. Our natural reaction may be to freak out -” How dare they come into my kitchen looking for water? They make my kitchen unhygienic and it’s going to take ages to get rid of them and clean up!”
Well, for today, let me simply say, that ants warn us before they go for a full on attack!
They send out scouts so if you see a few ants wandering around, investigate! Do you have any dirty plates or food open food containers around? Make sure you cover food, clean the dishes and then they will have no reason to come back with their family!
Try to see where they’re coming in – look how you can seal the gap (if you can!) or put barrier line deterrent down.
If you really want to get rid of the ants and kill them, see here for some natural ways to do it such as using cornflour as bait. The ants will carry it home and try to eat it but they can’t digest it properly. It isn’t poisonous to pets and children either so you don’t need to use insect sprays or poisons.
If you would like to try to redirect their path using natural products, here are some suggestions.
- Use a 50 -50 mixture of white vinegar and water to wipe down anywhere you have spotted ants. They hate the smell of vinegar and it removes their scent trails.
- Talcum powder or chalk is a natural ant repellent so sprinkle a line of it over the ants path where they are entering the house.
- Ants dislike the smell of cinnamon, mint, chilli pepper,black pepper, cayenne pepper, cloves or garlic so any of these could be placed in the area where you’ve seen them.
- Used coffee grounds sprinkled in the garden and around the outside of the house will repel ants (also cats apparently).
- Leave cucumber or citrus peels in areas of known ant activity as these are toxic to the fungi that some ant species eat so they will avoid these.
Ants do lots of good things, such as eating the larvae of spiders, flies, silverfish and clothes moths so don’t blame them for looking for what we leave lying around for them to eat!
Here are 5 interesting facts I discovered today about ants:
1) Scientists have discovered that ants first arose 110 – 130 million years ago which means that they are older than the dinosaurs and have already survived a mass extinction event!
2) With over 12 000 species of ants known, it has been argued that ants are the most successful multicellular animal on Earth. Found on practically every bit of land except for Antarctica and the Arctic, it is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million ants for every human being on the planet.
3) In most places, ants account for up to 15 – 20% of the total mass of all the animals living in that region and in tropical areas, it can be as much as 25%.
4) Ants can carry objects over 50 times their own body weight. Compared to humans, relative to their size, ants muscles are huge! If we had similar muscle proportions , we would be able to lift a car over our heads!
5) The reason ants seem to follow a straight line between their nest and food is because they do! A single scout ant goes out randomly looking for something to eat. When he (or she) finds it, he eats a bit and gets back to the nest asap along the most direct route by remembering landmarks seen on the way. As he goes back, he leaves a trail of special scents (pheromones) which the ants from the colony will use and add to as they go out to collect the rest of the food.
Now you know a bit more about ants and their bid to ‘take over the world’ – is there really any way to stop them in their tracks?