Springtime is ant season in Brooklyn and I'm dreading their arrival any day now. I've heard about trails of cayenne and citrus vinaigrettes that are supposed to get rid of them, but in my years in New York I've never seen a healthy approach work. It's hard to convince a landlord to spend the money on a non-toxic pest control, so this time last year we took the advice of an entomologist friend and defeated a major ant infestation without the use of any products containing organophosphates (which could interfere with the nervous system of a growing baby, infant or child, as well as cause headaches, depression and fatigue).
He suggested we put out a bowl of sugar water with a teaspoon of dissolved borax in it. I never thought this would work, but I was desperate and pregnant, so I did it anyway. He said the ants would be interested in drinking the sugar water, but slowly poisoned by the borax, and once they got the message back at home they'd stop coming to visit our kitchen. It definitely required some patience, but when it started to work four days or so into the experiment, I was really satisfied. In years past I have tried pheromone traps, stuffing holes and being obsessively clean, but nothing ever worked this well.
For healthy ways to get rid of every kind of annoying insect, check out this helpful list at Planet Natural.
And I've never tried this, but Seabright Laboratories makes a non-toxic insect trapping adhesive called Stikem Special, which looks like it would be pretty effective, if kind of gruesome.
Or, let someone else take care of it completely.
For more information on pesticide alternatives, see Pesticide.org.
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