Monday, April 16, 2012

More on the war on bugs

Ants. A sure sign of spring when you catch one on your counter. I love the ease of use of diatamaceous earth but it can get pricy. A few more options for you made out of household supplies. First of all, you have to find the ant hill, then place cornstarch or cornmeal around the nest opening and the ants eat it then they blow up. Their bodies can't handle the cornstarch/cornmeal. Home made poison, that is quick and easy to mix up is 9 teaspoons of corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of borax. Take a clean empty small yogurt, chip dip or cottage cheese container and make holes all the way around about 1/4 inch from the bottom so the ants can crawl in. Then put about half a teaspoon of the mixture into the prepared container and place it in the shade outside. The ants will come and eat the poison. If you place the poison in the sun, it will turn hard due to the heat. If ants are in the cupboard, take an old spice jar that has the big holes on the plastic top, mix 9 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of borax, put some into the spice jar and lay the jar on it's side in the back of your cupboard. Boiling water poured over the mound will kill some of the ants, add tea tree oil and that will kill more of the ants. Remember if you have pets or kids, poison is poison and I'd stick with diatamaceous earth in those cases or the hot water or the cornstarch. My mom always had a bird bath in her garden because birds are thirsty! But while they're having a drink they can eat bugs too! This is one of the reasons I have bird feeders year round in my yard. In the winter with all the snow we get, the birds need the bird seed to help them survive. In the summer, the bird feeders attract the birds to come to eat and while they're there, they eat some of the bugs too. One drawback, the birds love fresh strawberries and raspberries and saskatoons, so barrier netting comes in handy to protect your crop. I read somewhere that small rocks painted red and placed around your strawberries, will discourage the birds from eating your strawberries because when they come to have a bite, they can't and the birds don't try again. I wonder if it works, might be something to try.  Hand picking bugs and worms and disposing of them or feeding them to your chickens is more labor intensive but you know for sure the bugs are gone! Potato bugs can destroy a patch quickly, when I had chickens, we use to pick and feed the bugs to them, they went absolutely crazy! Those chickens would clean up my yard of bugs lickety split. They also loved grasshoppers but I'd only let my chickens out when the hoppers were small because in the fall, we have monster sized hoppers in the fields of wheat...I didn't want them to choke on them, not sure they would have! I found a tomato horned worm once. My mom says that during the depression they had them everywhere! I took great pleasure in feeding it to the chickens!  :-)

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