If there is anything that makes me really upset, it’s seeing schools (or parents!) shaking or spraying chemical pesticides (for fire ants or anything else) on lawns or playgrounds.
If it’s applied where children run and play, stirring pesticide-containing dust up in the air to breathe, track into the house, get on their skin and otherwise absorb into their growing bodies – why would we do this?
Vulnerable Children’s Brains
Most people are “not aware of the hazards that use of pesticides poses to their children,” says Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. This includes herbicides to kill weeds and insecticides such as those sprayed to manage ants, cockroaches or other pests.
Pound for pound, children receive much higher exposures to these chemicals than adults do, just through normal daily activity, Landrigan says. Because children are growing quickly, “they take into their bodies more of the pesticides that are in the food, water and air,” he says. They also roll around in the grass and put their fingers in their mouths, which greatly increases exposure. (source)
Researchers are learning a great deal about how vulnerable children’s brains are to pesticides during fetal and early childhood development. “These delicate developmental processes are easily disrupted by very small doses of toxic chemicals that would be virtually harmless for an adult,” Landrigan says.
Pesticides Get Inside Your Home
A 2001 study found that a week after lawn treatment, neurotoxic chemicals could be detected on all indoor air surfaces, including tabletops and windowsills. The team estimated that indoor exposure for young children was about 10 times higher during the week after lawn application than it was in the week before the lawn was treated.
Sadly, our modern society seems obsessed with convenience and quick fixes, rarely taking the time to stop and think about the long-term consequences of an action.
If the stuff is sold at Home Depot or used on school playgrounds, it must be safe, right?
Toxic Hydramethylnon in Chemical Ant Killer Brands
Research the active ingredient of the most popular fire ant killer brands on the market: Hydramethylnon. Even more interesting, the other 99% of the ingredients are unlabeled for these products.
Hydramethylnon is popularly used as an insecticide for cockroaches, wasps, and ants. It is in many popular brands of fire ant killer including Amdro, Combat, Blatex, Cyaforce, Cyclon, Faslane, Grant’s, Impact, Matox, Maxforce, Pyramdron, Siege, and Wipeout.
According to the National Pesticide Information Center, the EPA classified hydramethylnon as a possible (group C) human carcinogen due to the development of tumors of the uterus, adrenals, and lungs in rats.
Hydramethylnon is listed by the Breast Cancer Fund as a reproductive toxin and potential environmental contributor to the development of breast cancer.
Hated Fire Ants
When it comes to insect pests, fire ants would probably top everyone’s list! They grasp you with their strong mouth parts and hold on while their abdomen twists upward to sting you. Their stings burn like fire and they attack viciously and aggressively. It took me a month to get past the intense pain from dozens of stings received in Arkansas.
Known as the piranha of the plains, fire ant can do a lot of damage. They’ve invaded over 370 million acres across the United States and Puerto Rico since the 1930s. Originally from South America, it is believed the pests first entered the country through the ship port in Mobile, Alabama.
Natural Killer That Works 95-100% Against Fire Ants!
When I posted how well and quickly boric acid works for regular ants in my house, I was asked if it would work for fire ants! So I began researching and found scientists and others say it works on fire ants if three things are observed (below).
While this video DOESN’T PROVE anything, watch the fire ants RUN TO the bait to feed, just like my house ants did! I am convinced that the more that feed, the greater the chance the queen will be killed. Skip the first part and go to 3:00.
Evidence Boric Acid In LOW Concentration WORKS
Orkin Pest Control Services uses and recommends boric acid. According to Orkin, “worker ants may live as long as seven years and the queen may live as long as 15 years.” You want slow-acting bait so the ants will remain alive to carry the bait back to the nest and successfully contaminate quantities of ants including the queen.
*United States Department of Agriculture states: “Previous research indicated boric acid was ineffective because the boric-acid concentrations were too high: they either repelled the worker fire ants or killed the ants before they could carry baited food into the nest. New research suggests boric acid is effective at low concentrations. In a lab study, scientists fed worker fire ants sugar water containing boric acid at concentrations of less than 1 percent. The ants lived to carry the bait into the colony, and after six weeks worker ants and brood were reduced 90 percent.”
*In another laboratory study, four dilutions of boric acid (.25%, .50%, .75% and 1%) were mixed with sugar water and offered as a bait to treat fire ant mounds. All dilutions achieved 95 to 100% control within 8 weeks. This same study states that “Boiling water is an effective treatment for individual mounds. If it does not kill the queen, it will not eliminate the colony. Boiling water kills grass and sterilizes soil and may best be considered as a last resort.”
Three Things To Kill the Queen
- Do NOT disturb the nest! You want the ants to do their job to get the bait to the queen. If disturbed, they will just move her somewhere safe! This is a slower but more certain outcome.
- All baits must be kept fresh and moist. It is recommended that you change the recipe/product occasionally (from jelly to sugar, for example) in your homemade formula) so the ants continue to visit your bait trap with enthusiasm.
- The concentration of boric acid must be LOW (under 1%) (see 2 studies* on concentration above);
- a very scant 1/8 teaspoon boric acid (available at drug stores) or 20 Mule Team Borax (grocery stores)
- 8-9 teaspoons of bait material (sugar, honey, jelly, molasses, syrup) (see video above)
Mix boric acid with bait material, put in a jar lid or bottle cap, and place gently near a nest. Put it out on a fairly sunny day, when there is a good amount of activity around the mound, so that the ants can begin to forage the bait.
Note: A larger scale recipe is 1 tsp. Boric Acid to 1 cup (up to 2 cups) bait material.
You will feel good knowing that your children run and play in a yard around your home that is completely chemical free with nothing that can harm them … only help their immunity with exposure to good, “clean”, probiotic filled dirt untainted by health disrupting pesticides.
Try it, follow the 3 steps carefully, reapply until no more ants come, wait up to 8 weeks – and if it doesn’t work, I’ll buy your bottle of boric acid 😀
Pin It! Pin it!
If you’ve been encouraged or informed by something you’ve read here at Deep Roots, please consider liking my page on Facebook, joining us on Pinterest, or subscribing to the helpful email resources. Thank you!
Thanks for reading!