Saturday, 9 May 2015


I opened the front door the other day to find ants running round everywhere in the porch and beginning to venture into the house ... I wasn't thrilled as I'm not a fan of ants. Apart from hurting when they bite, I'm always baffled by gardening books which declare that they aren't a problem in the garden and won't hurt plants. Well they may not actually chomp their way through them like slugs and snails, that's true, but I've lost plenty of plants in the past due to them setting up home in and around the roots of them ... Happily they don't seem to be much of a problem out there these days, so I wasn't especially pleased to see a return of them. I didn't want to resort to anything chemical and locating the nest and pouring boiling water over it seems as barbaric as boiling lobsters. Everything has a place in the system, even if we aren't always aware of it's role anyway, so I preferred to encourage them to relocate rather than to actually kill them off. Enter the solution - a tube of toothpaste. I smeared a bit on a finger and rubbed it along the door lintel and watched. Ants encountering it turned back immediately, making no attempt to cross it. I worked more toothpaste into the area, creating a barrier into the house at any rate: it was a sunny day and before long the whole porch was filled with the smell of freshmint toothpaste.
I went out for a walk with the dogs and when I came back found that ant movement was greatly reduced and next day there were only a few to be seen scuttling around. The toothpaste appeared to have done the trick, but just for good measure I mixed a few drops of rosemary and lavender essential oil and used a cotton bud to smear it across the wooden lintel. The next day - no ants in evidence at all. Job done, and without endangering wildlife or Archie and Angel with any chemicals, or any death involved. Oh - and very cheap too ... Next time I find an ants nest in the garden I shall simply bury small pots with dabs of minty toothpaste in them and watch them packing their bags ...

PS I'm told that lemon or white vinegar is also an effective deterrent!

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