Personal Stories – Lawn Chemicals

I do not like using law chemicals, specifically pesticides. I have already gone herbicide free, but can I go insecticide free? So far, no.

Our yard has become infested with ant colonies. The crawl everywhere and many of them wander into our house. With little man dropping (and often throwing) food everywhere, the ants have 24 hour buffet in our house. Every now and then we come across a dried banana slice or a pea hidden under piece of furniture, in purses, and other mysterious places we didn't think little man could get into. Starving the ants therefore not a solution. But what about feeding them. My wife's mom suggested we try corn meal.

Precious little internet research reveals that many homeowners have tried to kill ants with corn meal. The theory is that the ants eat it, expand, and explode. I laid out some corn meal right on top of the ants' titanic ant mounds and listened for popping noises. Nothing. Now weeks have gone by and the ants persist, as does much of the corn meal.

Then I read that ants do not like cinnamon. Unlike the corn meal theory, it is believed that ants just don't like the taste and smell of cinnamon and thus will avoid a barrier of cinnamon. My wife bought a few bulk containers of Saigon cinnamon at Costco and I spread it around the perimeter of the house. For a few days, the house smelled delicious. Now a week has gone buy, and the ants persist. I haven't been scientifically tracking the ants in the house, and perhaps fewer are making the trip inside or perhaps the only ants in the house were here before the cinnamon barrier.

Ants aren't are only problem. Worse for us are chiggers. These almost mythical creatures offend us each time we go outside (but the bites don't appear until the next day). After a series of itchy bites, I had enough, I sprayed the yard with a weak mixture of permethrin, the killer of choice for chiggers. Weeks have gone by, and we still get bites. Soon, however, the chiggers will be in their nymph stage and harmless to us skin bearing animals. My yard will still be poisoned.

So much for better living through chemistry. Even when I do try a bona-fide EPA approved pesticide, things go bust. Perhaps I should have started chigger and ant killing earlier, like around April or the beginning of May. Maybe next year I'll try mixing the cornmeal with boric acid, a.k.a. ant poison.

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