Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ant Hunting

I've had a long running war against ants. They're an annoyance that seeks to steal my food, damages the house foundation, and occasionally bites me during the night. The usual way to deal with them involves dumping neurotoxins disguised as food on their nests. They eat it, share it, and all collectively die. Especially the queen ant, who is more literally "mommy ant." Without her, the last ant of the colony dies of old age, squishing, or being eaten in short order.
A big annoyance, however, is that I can only really find their nests after they've built up a bit. A small ant nest goes completely unnoticed. Until they build up to extreme irritation levels.
Biologists have successfuly reverse engineered the chemical signals that ants use to navigate, so I'm tempted to get their "ant pencil," which traces lines not of graphite, but of "food" signal, and leading them to a big pile of the neurotoxin. They won't be able to resist. Muahahahaha!!!

4 comments:

The Chinese guy said...

Vinegar and boiling water seem to work well for me. The ants come back every year... they are only noticiable when you get flying ones.

Originally they were in the cavity wall insulation and it was a bugger to get out (we used a massive vacuum cleaner and fire). These days we lift up the paving slabs and pour boiling water into them. Then dig up a hole where the main nest is each and every year and pour boiling water down that too. Winter comes they all die.

But then again you live nearer the equator than I do. So while its -7 here in the UK you're probably cooking in the heat

Mad Engineering said...

Summer is in the high twenties to low thirties, and a really really hot day can hit the low forties. They live through winters without much of a problem, where temperatures tend towards the single digits.
I wish we used more metric measurements in the US.

Also, in the hot US climates, the house is built on one gigantic slab that I don't think could be picked up without a huge machine and elaborate steps to prevent the house from tearing under the strain.

The Chinese guy said...

"Also, in the hot US climates, the house is built on one gigantic slab that I don't think could be picked up without a huge machine and elaborate steps to prevent the house from tearing under the strain"



You know if only we had a bold engineer of some kind, one might call crazy, or insane, which could solve such a problem.... I wouldn't know where to find one though. ;)

Mad Engineering said...

A housemover, you say? Okay, let me think for a minute about adapting the techniques for hauling houses with a crawlspace, to a cement slab, which is uneven on the bottom.
First, dig under the house. Pipejack a steel beam across the length of the house every 16 inches. Link these at the ends.
Cut all plumbing and electrical lines, which will not survive the transition.
Further down, put a hydrolic ram under each beam, and connect them to a single control. When I push the button, all the rams push at once, lifting the entire house out of the earth where it once stood.
At this point, one can survey the bottom of the slab, repair any damage to it, and then move it to its proper destination, which may very well be the same place.
Don't forget to reconnect the plumbing and electrical lines.

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