By Carl Hartley

There are approximately seven billion human beings spread across the planet and about seventy million times that number of red and black ants. That is the context in which the question of how to get rid of black ants needs to be considered. How to get rid of ants in the house and how to get rid of ants in the kitchen can also be considered in the same context.

Such creatures have already been on earth for one hundred million years whereas human beings can only claim an ancestry of about four million at the longest. The twelve thousand species have outlasted the dinosaurs and many other species, the traces of which exist only in fossil records. By comparison human beings are quite a fleeting phenomenon. Pismires live in exquisite palaces under super efficient social rules and it is believed that in a colony of several millions each individual is working entirely towards the good of the community.

Given that scenario it might be better to re-phrase the question as, 'How can I stop these creatures being a nuisance in my house? It may be a more feasible challenge to work out how best to live in harmony with the astonishing creatures that share the planet with us

These little creatures are even more vicious than human beings when it comes to defending their own territory against others of their kind. However their contacts with human beings usually occur in the course of day-to-day work as they forage for supplies. It is difficult to negotiate with them since we do not fully understand their communication systems, nor they ours.

However, most people have experienced the painful nip that an ant can administer when it finds itself in a tight spot, perhaps in a pair of human pants. Carpenter ants cannot digest wood but they are not called carpenters for nothing and their adjustments to wooden paneling is not always what is wanted. Damage can be considerable in some climates.

Probably one key to success over millions of years is social obedience. Each individual is totally committed to the good of the colony and so trust is never in dispute but such obedience comes with a cost. Without the colony the individual is lost.

It is said that American society is under serious threat from obesity and diabetes and this can be attributed to fat and sugar in the diet. Pismires have the same preferences for the such delicacies and this can lead to their demise too. Chemical poisons mixed with sweetness can be left as honey traps where they forage. They are as effective as human honey traps but the difference is that every individual will take its pleasure back to the queen and inexorably poison her, so destroying the entire colony.

Those who cannot bring themselves to engage in such underhand tactics can adopt a more usual human strategy, locate the nest and obliterate it entirely using bombs, fire and gas. The problem with such warlike tactics is that they usually involve great expenditure and damage for the aggressor and more space for a new colony to move in when victory has finally been secured. Negotiation is usually preferable and here computer technology comes in useful. Online sites dealing with how to get rid of black ants can be consulted. They will reveal dozens of tried and tested methods ranging from cinnamon as a detriment to a white chalk line which ants will accept as a boundary over which they will not step.

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