Dear Lifehacker, We've been having an ant problem. For a couple of months, we've been spraying the blighters, creating a perimeter around the house with ant-sand and laying bait traps. Nothing's worked so far. Do you have any non-conventional solutions before we call an exterminator? Thanks, Anti-Ant
Ant picture from Shutterstock
Have you tried nuking the infestation from its source? It sounds like you're engaging in a war of attrition at the perimeter of your home when you need to be targeting the nest or colony: the enemy 'spawn point', if you will.
The whereabouts of the nest will depend on the ant species you're dealing with -- try following the ants as they retreat with food scraps to see where they end up. It could be a hole in your outer wall, a stack of garden mulch or a crack in the pavement. If you manage to locate the nest, pour a few litres of boiling water into it to end the problem.
However, you should really only do this as a last resort: eradicating an entire ant nest it isn't particularly friendly to the environment (not to mention the ants) and may also affect the ecology of your garden.
For a more humane approach, you could try using natural repellents, like cucumber. Apparently, cucumber is anathema to ants who avoid the fruit at all costs -- place a few sliced discs near floorboard cracks, under doors and any other suspected entry points. Other natural repellents include garlic powder, peppermint oil and ground pepper.
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