Does ant chalk really work? I decided to find out by holding a couple of basic experiments in our Thai village garden to see if the Chinese made, ‘Miraculous Insecticide Chalk’, would get right up an ant’s nose and send it packing to pastures new.
Ant Chalk – The Big Test – Sweet Piccallili
Ants can be a real pest (pun or no pun. Up2You) at the best of times, roll out a red-hot Thai summer’s day and ants are an absolute nuisance. They are known as social insects but ‘annoying buggers’ would be a far better descriptive term. Ant chalk is used to deter or kill them.
Ant chalk is used in Thai villages (towns and cities too) to thwart the onwards and upwards march of ants. Village shops sell it and use it too – that’s a positive thumbs-up for the product. The chalk is usually seen drawn in a circle around shop table legs which have sweet things and cooked meat for sale on top. The theory is the ants won’t cross the chalk line and that stops them from scaling the table legs to masticate on the food displayed. Read it again…. it says masticate.
The first test wasn’t a major success because there weren’t enough ants about despite me putting down a teaspoon of Papa Farang’s delicious sweet piccalilli for them to chew on. The piccalilli attracted some interest but not overly so.
I cleared the ants away with a few Subbuteo style flicks and drew a square chalk line around the sweet piccalilli – that’s a difficult word to spell (piccalilli) but a very easy and fluent one to type – and then walked away and returned 15 minutes later. Would the sweet piccalilli be swarming with ants or would it be exactly as I’d left it?
The picture isn’t too clear because I got my big head in the shot but the hand-out from that is anyone doing a Google search with the words – Big Head + Masticate – should land on this page. So did the test prove ant chalk works?
By the time I returned the sweet piccalilli had dried out in the blazing sun but there were no ants feasting on it and no live ones in the square, only two dead ones. The ant chalk is toxic and banned from most Western nations but still widely available in countries like America via the internet and Chinatown markets.
There were a few ants patrolling the area to the left of the chalk square but none attempting to cross the line. The experiment seemed to prove ant chalk worked but I needed further proof and decided to dry run the chalk test again with some cheese savoury biscuits. The area around our garden table had a small army of ants ‘socializing’ and searching for food, it was the ideal spot for the test. Our Shih-Tzu dog, Tang Moo, decided to join in as well.
The Ant Chalk Test – Take Two – Cheese Biscuits
Tang Moo was keen to get started and even more so to check if the cheese savoury biscuits were satisfactory or a garden-variety, run of the mill snack.
I placed two cheese biscuits inside a chalked square and one outside by its top right corner. Within seconds ants had swarmed all over the single biscuit and were feasting like crazy on it.
The biscuits inside the square did attract some attention but only about a half-dozen or so ants went inside the chalk box. In the right corner of the photograph you can just make out the single biscuit being partied-on. So what was my conclusion?
I believe ant chalk does work, not 100%, but if drawn around table legs any ants that crossed the line would either be dead or on their last legs before they reached the table top. Also, the ant chalk tests proved, Shih-Tzu’s love cheese savoury biscuits, ants do have jungle drums and at least six ants out of every ant colony are deaf.
Have you ever used ant chalk, and if so, did it work for you?
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© 2014, Martyn. All rights reserved.