Dear Sun Spots: I have been having trouble with ants since last winter. They went away for a while. Now they’re back again. Any ideas how to get rid of them? – G.M. Turner.

Answer: Sun Spots commiserates with your dilemma, knowing full well the challenges you face with the ant infestation in your home.

According to a previous column, and information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls (353-5550), ants live in colonies or nests, usually located in the soil near the foundation, in the yard or garage, under concrete slabs, in the crawl space of the house, in structural wood or in other protected places.

New ant colonies are started by a single queen that lays eggs and tends the brood that develops into workers, which shift the brood from place to place as moisture and temperature fluctuate in the nest. Ants feed on almost anything consumed by humans. People often have to discard grease, lard, jam, jelly, sugar and other foods that have been contaminated by ants.

The first step is to locate the nest and destroy the colony. Carefully observe where the ant runs into the house. A piece of bacon or a spoonful of honey will attract them and help locate their route. Once the route is observed, it can be treated and the problem reduced. Use a small paintbrush to apply a thin layer of an oil-based insecticide to cracks along moldings, baseboards, windows and door frames, cracks in the floors and walls, areas around electrical outlets, plumbing and heating pipes, etc. Never treat entire walls or floors.

To prevent ants from entering the house, treat the foundation and a foot or two of the soil around the entire house with an insecticide mixed with water. All insecticides are poison and should be used only in accordance with label directions. Avoid contact with the materials. Read the label and follow instructions and precautions exactly. Recommended pesticides are Diazinon, Propoxur (Baygon), Ficam W, Chlorpyrifos (Dursban), Malathion and Pyrethris.

Additionally, a recipe for getting rid of ants appeared in an article in the Sun Journal on May 31, 1995. The lethal recipe calls for 3 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 4 teaspoons of boric acid powder, which is available at most pharmacies, and at home and garden supply stores. The mixture can be poured into a jar filled with cotton swabs or old pill bottles with cotton in the neck to act as a wick. Experts recommend keeping this mixture out of reach of children. The ants will be attracted by the sugar and then return to the nest with the poison.

Another suggestion is to combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle: 10½ ounces water, 3 ounces Tabasco sauce and 2½ ounces of Dr. Bonner’s liquid peppermint soap (available at health food stores). Spray the mixture where the ants enter the home.

Dear Sun Spots: I am writing in reply to the lady looking for an area for photo shoots for her daughter’s wedding pictures (Sun Spots request May 15): I have such a place. Many people have used my gazebo for photo shoots as well as outdoor weddings. I can be reached at 261 Auburn Road, Hillside Gardens, Turner, ME 04282, (208) 225-3472. – Gordon Twitchell, Turner.

Answer:
Sun Spots spoke with Twitchell who says his property is ideal for smaller weddings as parking is limited along Route 4. Twitchell also says the site has also been used for graduation pictures.

To the reader seeking someone to repair her VCR tape: Contact Jed Shattuck at 104 Valerie Circle in Auburn, (207) 777-6269.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.


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