How to Bug the Bugs

I've been busy with work, people visiting, and will soon have to jump through another hoop to lawyerdom, so there's no time to shop. For once, I actually need to shop. I was dressing for work this morning and realized that I don't have enough work-worthy tops for the summer. I've got plenty for the winter, but in these 100-degree days, they're not helping much.

Anyways, on to less frivolous things. It's gotten so hot that bugs have to go indoors for some respite. That's not good for humankind. I'm just glad that I don't have to worry about mosquitos, but ants and roaches can be a handful. The fact that I'm pro-organic foods, anti-organic solvents doesn't help. I just don't like being stuck in the midst of a revolting organophosphate cloud. Hence, I came up with less noxious method for fighting ants. I might have posted about this a while ago (can't remember), but I think it's a good time to bring it up again.

This trick isn't going to get rid of ants entirely, but it's a good quick fix; at least you can scare them and seal off nooks and crannies that you don't want them to get into. Bugs don't like capsacin, which is present in spicy things like chili peppers. If our nerve endings get burned by the spice, think of what a tiny little flake can do to a critter half its size. Spread some pepper flakes on a flat surface, cut out a piece of packing tape, use it to stick on some of those pepper flakes and voila--your very own anti-ant tape. You can lay it out on a particular surface, or stick it wherever you want. I've tried whole chili pods as well, but they just don't work very well. Thankfully, the ant problem that struck my apartment a few months ago is no more. The tape definitely scared the ants (they started to run wild when they reach the tape), and we confined them to areas that are food free, but they didn't go away entirely. We ended up having to supplement with some Raid ant bait to finish the job (and allow us to breathe).

When I was in a serious jam with a massive ant invasion, I needed something that works right away. Hence, I sprayed them with rubbing alcohol (I prefer ethanol over isopropanol, a.k.a. isopropyl alcohol)--not great for paint on the wall, but rubbing alcohol is cheap, the smell is more tolerable, and it stuns the ants instantly, giving me the chance to wipe their dissolved exoskeletons off the wall. OK, that was a bit morbid and sadistic...but I have no sympathy for vermin that invade my happy home.

This next trick is something I heard on a radio show. I haven't used it myself (no roaches in my apartment, thank goodness), so I can't vouch for its effectiveness. It sounded promising and simple, though:

There's an easy way to fight roaches using none other than perfumed bar soap. Cut the soap in really small crumbs, put some on a dish, add enough water to cover the soap bits, then place the dish in places where roaches roam (like wall corners). I don't know the scientific basis for this, but I don't have the time to figure it out (soap = high pH? But what makes the perfume so repugnant to them?) or find out. Maybe another day.

That's all from me tonight. Feel free to share your own "secret" bug-fighting formulae.

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