Notice the spelling here. If your father's sisters have extended their visit past the point of endurance, this information will be of no use. However, if - like me - you find yourself trying to work in a garden full of red ants, you might want to read on.
Insecticide is not an option in my garden. I read 'Silent Spring' when it was first published and still shudder.
Here's what I learned today about pest removal, though.
The magic word is Diatomaceous. If you want to make that two magic words they are Diatomaceous Earth. Ants eat the stuff and then they die possibly from too much of a good thing.
Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary mineral compound from microscopic skeletal remains of unicellular algae-like plants called diatoms. These plants have been part of the earth's ecology since prehistoric times. It is believed that 30 million years ago the diatoms built up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite. The diatoms are mined and ground up to render a powder that looks and feels like talcum powder to us. The good news for us is that we don't eat our talcum powder. The bad news for ants is that they do.
If all of that seems way to old and scientific for you, here's another thing I learned today. Corn meal kills ants. Yeah. Go figure. They love the stuff. They eat the stuff. And then they die. It should probably be noted that the corn meal has not yet been baked into corn bread or corn fritters or cone pone although I once ate a piece of corn bread that I thought would kill me. Apparently it takes a lot of corn meal mixed into the soil to wipe of an ant colony. Several pounds of corn meal does, though, seem a lot friendlier to the planet than the poison generally used unless, of course, you're an ant in which case none of it sounds too attractive.