I’ve grown so used to being bitten by ants on a daily basis, I have reached a point that it almost doesn’t bother me that much anymore. What bothers me is when they invade my food! Every Filipino household seems to be under attack by these tiny flightless insects, and getting rid of them, as you probably have experienced if you live in the tropics, is near impossible.
Your first impulse when you have an ant infestation in your house will probably be to use a commercial pesticide or insecticide. However, you will do more harm than good when you do so.
Firstly, you are spraying toxic substances inside your very home! Exposure to pesticides causes several health problems, including nervous system damage, respiratory diseases, and cancer. Children and babies are especially more vulnerable, and pregnant women should stay away from these chemicals, because unborn babies are in danger of having developmental problems when exposed.
Secondly, you might also be killing the good creatures, like spiders and lizards, which help control insect populations.
And thirdly, it is an exercise in futility, as it has been shown that ant invasions cannot be prevented by using pesticides. Well, maybe the number of ants will decrease a little bit, but this will only be apparent when their abundance is already extremely high in the first place.
Extremely hot weather seems to increase ant populations inside the home, like what we are experiencing with the El Niño phenomenon right now. I don’t remember our ant problem being this severe last year.
Here in our home, we never really use chemical insecticides. How then do we prevent ants from getting into our food? Below is a list of the few things we’ve tried, with variable levels of success:
1) Talcum powder. We just sprinkle some powder on surfaces where ants typically roam. They seem to love computer keyboards, and you’ll find that our computers at home have turned white with talc, haha.
2) Petroleum jelly. Many ant species can chew through cardboards and plastic bags, so what we do with our noodles, potato chips, cat and dog food, etc. is place them inside plastic boxes. But you know how air tight plastic boxes could be too expensive, right? So we just buy the more affordable, non-airtight boxes, and smother the mouth and sides with petroleum jelly before placing the lid on them.
This won’t work with the larger ant species, as they can clear a path through the jelly, believe it or not! Just watch this video that my mom recorded:
3) Water. Good old water. We place food in bowls that are then placed on dishes with water. Ants are not very good swimmers. Just don’t forget to refill!
What other methods do you use to deal with your ant infestation at home? Please share them with us!