Victory

I guess the title kind of gives it away: I beat the ants! I now have a nice green grassy field in my backyard and no ants to spoil the fun. And I did it without chemicals.

I have to admit I was very tempted to go get some. Some friends even thought I was an idiot (although they did not say in so many words) that I had not done it sooner. Other friends gave me advice on what to buy. And yet, my stubborn side told me: no! These are only black ants, not the vicious red ones, there were just too many of them. I know it can be done and I will give it another shot before resigning to chemicals.

I studied the movements on the grounds, and, to my big surprise, there hardly was any. The boiling water had done the job after all! The flying creatures came out to the former ants nests. There still was the question of what they were of course, but they seemed friendly enough so I was not going to worry about them any time soon.

One of the comments in the previous blogs mentioned the use of coffee grounds. This is another well-known, though old-fashioned way of eradicating ants, and stems from the time before everyone bought their ready-made coffee in a shop or used pads to make their own. I figured coffee grounds would be good to make sure the ants would not come back.

We fortunately live across the street from one of those coffee shops. As I have become one of those people who buy her ready-made coffee in a shop, they know me well there. I went over and asked if I could have some of the leftover coffee grounds. They were silent for a bit. They know my Spanish is not really good, so they were wondering if I really wanted what I asked for. I explained it was to keep the ants out of the backyard. Then I got a big nod, a smile and a ‘sure, no problem’.

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which burns the feet of the ants. Sort of like when you walk barefoot on a real hot beach. I assume. Coffee grounds make your soil acidic too, but we have a big pine tree in the garden, so I didn’t think that would be a huge problem.

And … it’s been a week now and I have not seen ants since (well outside that is). So: mission accomplished!

Hoverfly as seen on Wikipedia

Back to the flying creatures. Apparently they are not royal ants. People call them wasps here, although that is not what they are either. From the internet I kind of deduct that they are hoverflies. According to the locals they will only be around for a short while. And whatever they are, they do not sting and are apparently very good for pollination. Well, there you go. They have moved in to the ants nests and I guess they are happy with the space.

Today the gardener came back (yeah!) and I have asked him to spray against the mosquitoes. Being green is good as long as you don’t get stung by it.

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8 thoughts on “Victory

  1. I’ll see if this works on Canadian ants. Hope you’re able to see hundreds of little legs pointing to the sky when you get here.

    Rob

  2. Zweefvliegen ? I didnt know those lived underground. we have a bunch of them (half a dozen orso) buzzing arouond the backyard.

    I do think you cheated a bit by getting your coffeegrounds from the shop across the street 🙂

    Coffee grounds are also great for keeping shitting cats out of your garden. (and I guess any kind of animal), just deposit a layer of them around the place(s) they use as their instant toilet.

    Funny, I never knew it was the nitrogen in the coffee that burned their feet.

    Live and learn … and time for me to get some more coffee ….

    • I prefer to think of it as being smart instead of cheating 🙂
      Coffee grounds are also good for shiny hair, for taking the smell of your hands after cutting onions or garlic etc. It is awesome stuff!
      I have never seen these hoverflies in Holland, but then again, I never had a garden either! So anyway, it seems they are undestructable. Even the mosquito spay did not do them in 🙂

  3. Congratulations Pleun! We can say you won the clean way, not using any kind of chemical or poisoning products.

    I was using my coffee grounds to fertilize my garden, but when the gardender started to leave the grounds bag beside my kitchen door, I just started to ’em in the pots I have inside. I must insist with new and organical arguments. 😉

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