Ants play an important role in our bio-network. Outdoor ants aerate soils by digging holes in them which helps water and oxygen to reach the plant roots. They help in seed dispersion by spreading them around your garden.
They are omnivorous insects and feed on organic wastes, other insects and dead animals. For example, carpenter ants make their colonies on dead or decayed wood which quickens the decomposition of timber, which is an excellent fertilizer for the soil.
But the ant colony grows continuously. When the food resource from outside diminishes they mark your home. As a result, you get to see annoying ant trails in your living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and where not! Now they become a common household enemy.
Usually, people choose a common product, which can not only kill these ants but are convenient for a homeowner to get too. The easiest place to find them is the kitchen itself and the easiest product is cornmeal. But does it really work? Let’s discuss this.
Cornmeal is a staple meal made from dried yellow corn. It has high starch content with iron and phosphorus and has a prominent corny texture. It is an essential ingredient for making cornbreads or corn muffins. Finer cornmeal is called cornflower which is a more common baking element. Baked treats with crunchy textures need cornmeal to be added to them for the crispy appearances.
It is a common myth that cornmeal is an effective ingredient to kill ants. Some people suggest that ants are very much attracted to cornmeal (and they are!) and they consume the grains despite the fact that they cannot digest them and eventually dies. Some also suggest that the grains inside the stomachs of the ants enlarge and the ants die of physical explosions.
But these facts are not really true. Cornmeal is not an insecticide and does not affect the ants as suggested by a few people. Ants are drawn to cornmeal but it is just like any other foodstuff to them. In fact, spreading cornmeal in and around your home may increase ant infestation more as it may drive more ants from the nest.
If you wish to use cornmeal, to eradicate ants from your home, it is always better for you to mix it with a baiting technique. You may mix cornmeal with a regular, effective and familiar ant killer, say, for example, boric acid.
Mix 9 parts of cornmeal with 1 part of boric acid. Add soybean oil, peanut butter or honey to create a paste. Honey or peanut butter is better as they attract ants because of their appealing smell and taste.
Boric acid is a highly toxic ingredient and hence comprise of only one-tenth of the solution. Boric acid acts fast in killing ants but here the total process must be slow enough so that the worker ants have time to spread the chemical all over the colony.
Place the bait paste between gaps, crevices and identified entry points of ants entering your home. If you have already identified the nests, place the bait near them or near a place where they accumulate. Worker ants are sloggers and they will definitely find the bait.
They will carry the sweet bait back to their nest, feed to the larvae and the queen in liquid form. The process to convert a solid food to a liquid form is called “regurgitating”. The poisonous liquid food, when consumed by the rest of the ants, eventually kills them.
Cornmeal on its own is not capable of killing ants. Meanwhile, if it is mixed with homemade baits like boric acid, it is effective. The main reasons behind cornmeal to be applied as a mixture for homemade pesticides are, firstly it is attracted to ants as a potent food and secondly, it acts as a mask for the chemical pesticide in the food to be applied on ants.
Eventually, the successful mixture can eliminate a whole colony. Learn true facts about baits and how they can be advantageous for you and you will be successful in eliminating your ant problems effectively.
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