As any home owner and chef knows summer brings on pests - namely ants. These ancient creatures come a crawling when the temperatures rise. They are everywhere where there is something sweet. What can a home chef do? Ant proof the kitchen.
First - a word about them. Ants are like cockroaches. They have been with us and probably before us for millions of years. They're surprisingly related to bees and wasps and live in colonies. Like bees, they have a queen who lays all the eggs. There are other female ones called workers or soldiers. Fertile males are called drones.The grouping is called superorganisms because the ants at as a uniform entity.Unfortunately ants are on almost every continent save Antarctica and some remote islands that have harsh living conditions. Right about now home chefs, especially in the Northern Hemisphere would love to move to these areas just so they can have an ant free kitchen.It also doesn't help that ants can live thirty years if not taken care of by various means and methods. The big question that home chefs may have about these tiny but annoying critters is why are they after my cookies and fruits. Like us they go for anything that is energy dense - namely sugar. The more sugar laying around - the more ants you'll have. However like us they also want variety so they will even go after meats and vegetable if there are no sweets around.
What can you do? You could put every foodstuff you have into your fridge. There's are a couple of problems with this. The fridge will get over packed and there's literally no room.It becomes a juggling problem, where bowls and packs are stacked atop each other. Then there's cold food like cold cereal. A chilled yogurt or tomato is fine. A bowl of chilled oat bran? No thanks.One way of combating the ant problem is putting sweet cereal , cookies and candies in sealed containers. Just make sure that these are completely tight. The ants are clever - and determined - and nothing - not even plastic or glass - will deter them. Should you use poisons to get rid of them? You could if there are no children and pets around. Many use a mix of Borax and sugar soaked cotton balls. An all natural one might be better. Mist a mix of lemon juice and water on doorways and windowsills. This screws up their tracking systems and confuses them. You can also use ground cinnamon too. Just keep in mind that the ground spice does stain and your kitchen floor could have stubborn rust colored spots.Anything with peppermint also works. Put peppermint soap or essence in the doorways and window sills.
Like beach days and lemonade, ants are a fact of summer. Try to keep them at bay with natural deterrents. It may be a battle but definitely worth it.