Natural Ant Control Tip
Your Dance Instructor, Andy Lopez – The Invisible Gardener
I combined this initial system of ant control via persuasion with an understanding of “cause & effect” to develop my present day system that I call “Dances with Ants®”. The presence of the ants is an “effect”, a biological response by that creature to its environment. There is an abundance of resources that they seek – the “cause”. If you kill all the ants you see without addressing the cause, you have done nothing more than make a void to be filled by other ants from outside your area of application. Whatever substance you use to kill the ants will only be viable in the environment for a short period of time and when that time expires, other ants will explore, discover and set up shop to recover the resources – the “cause” that still exists.
This system combines the initial persuasion techniques (food baits), my understanding of cause and effect, and substances that, with respect to the ants, are either repellant or poisonous. In some cases these substances are intended to initially get their attention, and then if necessary, to actually reduce their population – a form of insistence. In other cases, these substances are used as barriers (warnings and boundary markers), an ongoing form of persuasion. However, let me state for clarity:
This coexistence is the dance itself. While at the same time you are trying to teach the ants, they are also trying to teach you. Both are teachers and students. It is not necessary to kill the ants if you understand why they do what they do. You can use this understanding of the why of what they do to impose your lead on the dance. Remember, they are an effect so if you control the cause, you control the effect. You lead, they follow. You teach, they learn. They teach, you learn.
“So, why is this system better than conventional spraying?”
My best answer to give you is: “Once the poison leaves the spray nozzle, there IS collateral damage.” That is, conventional spraying does more than just attack the ants. While the strategy of chemical spraying is essentially the same, that is, to both reduce the population and provide a barrier against their return; with respect to this system, it is very heavy-handed. The chemical footprint left behind has an initial effect on the air and sustained effects on soil and water.
The “Dances with Ants®” system of control targets the ants specifically without adversely affecting other elements in the environment – air, soil, and water. This system applies a scalpel to the problem, as opposed to the broadsword approach of chemical treatment.
Make no mistake, the ‘control’ described in this system does include reducing ant populations by death. It does include substances that destroy the insect either from the inside-out or outside-in. However, these are only recommended for use when the population is initially too large to be a viable dance partner. In this case, trimming the population is necessary to achieve an initial balance for this system to work.
Perhaps the most revealing answer to this question is that you don’t actually annihilate them. Eventually they will return forcing a re-application of the chemical barrier which contributes to a process of accumulation. Each application adds a little more collateral damage to the environment.
Also, large populations of ants are present in part because access to and availability of resources are abundant in their environment (both from human and plant sources). Humans are a big contributor to creating and enabling this abundance. A primary goal of this system is to teach you how to control the resources available to the ants through some common-sense practices (for both inside the home and outside in the garden).
In the next section, you will be introduced to the ant itself and I will explain in further detail why ants are beneficial to the environment.
excerpt from ebook