Keeping the food in refrigerator or in tightly capped container may not always possible. Like preparing meal for dinner and leaving it for 30 minutes to an hour. The time is more than enough for ants to find the nicely prepared meal. We need to find ways to deter them from coming. What ant deterrent shall we use?
Whenever I let a cauldron of rice on stove top, ants rarely found it. The reason might be, the charcoal absorbing the pheromones left by founder ants. I placed few milligrams of sugar crystals on top of wood charcoal. Ants found it still and started hauling.
The salt. For unknown reasons, salt tend to disrupt communication among ants. I placed few sugar crystals on top of rock salts. Ants found it and started hauling.
Cinnamon, bay leaf, mint, red chili powder, and black pepper drive away ants. Maybe because they are not eaten by ants as food, their strong aromatic properties scare them away or override pheromones. Only black pepper was available in our home, sorry folks! I sprinkled ground black pepper around the sugar crystals. Ants found it and started hauling.
Vaseline or petroleum jelly. I spread it around sugar crystals. Ants found the sugar but never got near. The jelly was sticky, no ants were able to pass through. It was effective but leaved a sticky mess.
Ant repellent in form of chalk. It maybe effective but might contain harmful chemicals. It was not available at the moment so I never tried it. I am not willing either.
Baby powder. I never tried this one. Baby powder has very fine particles and can contaminate food easily. Easily carried and scattered by mild wind blows. Not recommended.
Water. I got a wide jar cap half-filled with water. Then placed a tanzan with sugar on middle. Ants found the sugar but none were able to swim through. It was effective. Do not use this technique for prolonged period or it’s going to be a mosquito breeding ground.
Vinegar. Do not use this! Plain water works fine.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.