Date: Thu, 9 May 1996 14:51:00 -0500
To: The Culinary Herbs & Spices List <HERBS.HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
Sender: The Culinary Herbs & Spices List <HERBS.HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: " (Betty Kexel)"

> Would anyone know how to rid a garden of ants? Everytime I move the woodchip mulch to plant a new herb, ants scatter all over the place!!! And last year, I noticed that some of the ants were harvesting aphids, and putting them on plants, I can't imagine that it is good for the plants. I have heard that coffee grounds will deter them, but we don't drink any coffee! If someone knows that this does work, then maybe we'll start. My other thought was diatomatious (sp?) earth. Can anyone verify this as a deterent, or recommend anything else. I'd be more grateful than I can say. Cheryl

Cheryl.....Whenever I have a problem with ants, I use an organic method I learned about. I dry banana peels all year round and then I crush in my mortar and pestle. I imagine you could put some in the blender if necessary. The banana will turn dark brown or blackish and provide you with a nice powder if you have a means of turning it into a powder. The ants will carry it off as they do just about everything and take it to the nest. The nest will die out. You see, the banana is high in potassium and ants can't tolerate potassium. It will kill them. It's a safe method if you have pets and small children around. No need for pesticides and just put it around the house and doors and they won't give you any problems. I've done this for years and it works. I don't have ants anymore but I used to get them every year. Drove me nuts.

From: Betty Kexel <bkexel.CARAVAN.NOMAD.NET>

> >> Do you know if your banana method works on fire ants also? In Texas, they are a real problem!
> >I can't say for sure but I was my understanding was that it went for all ants. Something in their physical makeup makes potassium poisonous. Surely, it's worth a try. Can you think of a better use for those peels?
> I was in my kitchen looking around at all that needed to be done in there compliments of the couple of days of sunshine and my husband and me trying to take advantage of the nice weather. It came to my mind. Why do we even need to make the powder? It is not as though the ants will carry it away, because it is a deterrant not a killer isn't it? Therefore why can't we just put banana peels in the garden?

No, the banana peel isn't a deterrent. It is poisonous to the ants when consumed. That usually takes place in the nest and not outdoors. It has to be small enough where they can carry it off.

From: Leslie <Teckelish.AOL.COM>

I heard about this ant remedy from a local nurseryman who happens to have a radio gardening show. He swears it works--he gives out the recipe every show. Callers began using it and reporting sucess with it. I recently tried it too, and indeed it did work!!!

Let me say that I use organic methods whenever possible, or at least choose chemicals with the least harmful qualities to the environment at large. This winter our kitchen was attacked by a steady parade of ants until the rainy season was over. I refused to spray poisons, so I set out a few of those Grant Ant stakes and "cans" but was always afraid my Dachshunds would find them and ingest the stuff. I hated using it but was desperate. One day I caught one of the dogs with the Grant's can on my bed, trying to figure out how to get at the contents (tuna can size with little puncture holes). She was trying to lick at this bait thru the openings. I was horrified--she didn't get much at all, but never again will I risk poisons like that around my babies, so I just suffered the invasion until spring.

Well, last week I finally wrote down this ant recipe because now the garden has an ant AND aphid problem. I set out a few traps and there are hardly any ants around now.

RECIPE: Three cups water, one cup sugar, 4 tsp boric acid powder (this can be purchased in pharmacies near vitamans, etc). Mix ingredients in a saucepot and bring almost to a boil. Cool and pour into jar lids, dixie cups, etc and set around the garden (or kitchen). I pour some into bottles and lay them on their sides so dogs and rain can't get in. Ants take bait and bring to nest, end of story.

Fewer ants, fewer aphids. Now a spray from the hose, or a few squirts from a spray bottle with a bit of dishwashing liquid will loosen the grip of those nasty aphids, and everything is under control!!

From: YvettaWill.AOL.COM

I had a lot of ants in the house and sprinkled the trail with baby powder.
They left within 5 minutes.
I used the one I had on hand which happened to be Johnson & Johnson Talc and fragrance as listed on the baby powder container. It worked like a miracle. I haven't tried the corn starch one. Haven't tried it in the garden. Yvetta

someone else answered
>From what I've heard, it is the _scent_ that the ants do not like. They follow each other's trail by scent, and have a hard time picking out the "real" trail in heavily scented areas.

I've used dried oregano for ants, they must be really picky about what smells they like.