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.
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right.