The method I had used all my life to get rid of ants was the old-fashioned technique of laying down a powdery line of boric acid wherever they were entering. It’s tres effective – the stated reason being that the boric acid damages their hard exoskeletons / shells, they know that – and avoid the stuff.
But then, of course, I encountered Buddhism – awareness of sentient beings – and became a vegetarian as well. It just became harder to threaten the lives of these and other small creatures.
That wasn’t a big problem in most places I’ve lived. But when I moved here, into my house in the woods, I found out very quickly just how many kinds of ants there are. Never mind that since there’s just me, and I mostly eat out or eat leftovers, there’s not much for an ant to find – they show up and check everything out just to be sure.
They are industrious and persistent – two great qualities. I had to be industrious and persistent to get rid of them. Boric acid didn’t feel right, and I wasn’t about to use earth poisons / chemicals. If it can kill an ant, it isn’t good for me. Everything is already clean, though I worked at being scrupulous about that.
Then I just started to talk to them, and explain that I didn’t want to cause harm, but there was no food and they’d be smart to search elsewhere. I also would pick them up and carry them outside. Sometimes that was a day’s work.
And when I had clients and groups over, we could be pretty busy just ferrying ants out the various doors.
But it actually began to pay off. I would talk to the little red and black guys for a day or two, and then they’d disappear. The big black worker ants would show up, and I’d hold the same conversation with them. The first year I invented this, I noted 16 different tribes of ants.
The next year, the first ants woke up in February – so I thought it would be a long hard ant year. Not so – only two or three tribes required the conversation.
Only one group has shown up this year – and they are not leaving – it’s been about three weeks. I’ve been pretty casual with them, haven’t really sat down for the serious negotiations, because I haven’t had to for several years.
These are teeny tiny little black ants, very hard workers and faithful to their tasks. But! I’m thinking I may have to bring in the big ant deva in the sky to back me up. I’ll keep you posted!