I am in the process of buildiing a Hobbit Home.
Basicly a covered basement with a post and beam roof, covered in dirt.
My question for everyone, is this....
Is there a spice or a food item, when ground up - will deter ants and or chewing insects ?
My line of thought is, I when I am layering on the different layers of roofing material and waterproofing, would it stop or deter chewing insects, if (as an example) I put in a heavy sprinkling of cyan pepper under the last layer of water proofing membrane - would it stop the little critters ?
What about other powerfull spices? Garlic powder ? The space in between the layers is supposed to be a dry and stable environment, so it would not wash away...
Daves Hobbit Home Build progress
According to "Iverch und Under" cinnamon does indeed repel ants. I have tried it and see a definite effect, but have found it takes quite a bit. Incorporating borax can help prevent insects because it kills them, and is relatively safe for humans.
And he said, "I want to live as an honest man, to get all I deserve, and to give all I can, and to love a young woman whom I don't understand. Your Highness, your ways are very strange."
Layer of sand of specific granular size has been studied and used for termite prevention. I have attached a pdf describing one approach to this. The article is based on conventional construction and you will need to read carefully and decide what might be useful to you. From reviewing the failures it appears that great care is needed in installing the barrier. FYI, the search terms I used were:
termite prevention sand grade
I'm sure there are other and likely better searches if you wish to pursue it in detail.
In my experience, Diatomaceous Earth mildly inconveniences ants for a while, but they quickly figure out how to move around it.
I don't know how you feel about borax, but I wouldn't put it into the industrial pesticide category, as it's a naturally occurring substance. Yes, it's a poison, but in my experience, doesn't harm anything other than the ants who ingest it.
Mix one tablespoon of borax with 1 cup of sugar and 3 cups of water—a very weak sugar solution that ants will love. You don't want the poison to be too strong, as you want the ants to ingest it and take it back to the colony. If it's too strong, they'll die too quickly. But as they drink the sugar water and take it back to the colony, you'll eventually kill the queen (queens -- big colonies have hundreds of queens.
In my area, we have the greening disease that kills citrus. They've found that ants are part of the culprit because they farm aphids and other sucking insects, carrying them up the tree and out to fresh young leaves. So in taking out the ant colonies, you minimize the risk of your trees being killed by the insect that infects the tree with the disease. I don't spray or use any pesticides or herbicides, but these borax ant traps fall into a different category for me.
Best of luck.
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I have had pretty good luck with bay leaves for keeping ants out of cupboards. I read it somewhere and really did not expect it to work, but I had a big bag of it and thought why not try? I wedged the leaves in the cracks of the window frames where the ants used to crawl in, and scattered them on the floor of the food cupboards, and sure enough the ants avoided thos places. Either they don;t like the smell of it, or it masks their pheremones or something.
It's not a total panacea for the kitchen, because eventually they find some new way in that does not lend itself to bay leaf treatment and start crawlig on the counters, but it does keep them out of the "leafed"cupboards and limit their entry points so you can better target your application of other remedies like DE or borax traps.
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