It's my life! / Lifestyle

Managing ants with black pepper

Don’t you just love learning? I do. I really love it a lot.

My past few weeks have been consumed by heavy readings ranging from Starbucks and leadership to hand hygiene, from bony ankle prosthesis to flexible drug delivery biomaterials. It is further highlighted by a TEDx event on social entrepreneurship and a Dharma talk on dealing with difficult people (which I’ll label as ‘A talk that tells me about things that I already knew, but it’s good for affirmation purposes’).

But, I must say, the piece of knowledge that I’ll boast of today comes from my victory over the pesky, ever-so-resilient ants that have been marching into my room.

My clean wall, free from ants

I’ve had major issues with ants ever since staying in the National University of Singapore’s residences. Whether I was in King Edward VII Hall, or Ridgeview Residences, or now, in Kuok Foundation House, I’ve had an ant problem. The only brief respite I had in the past four years was when I had a squeaky clean room in Sweden with zero pestilence issues. Yup, no cockroach, no lizards, no ants, and no mosquitoes. But, now, I’m back in tropical Singapore where more than three types of ants can invade your room simultaneously. Sigh, life must go on. I can’t keep pining for temperate climates.

Being a good Buddhist, I try to be magnanimous. Whenever I see an ant bravely running around my laptop, I take a piece of paper, pick it up, and place it elsewhere. It was okay when it was just an ant or two. But, it worsen two weeks ago when I brought in a friend’s baking appliances. It must have had some sweet remnants, and now, I have a trail of ants coming into my room.

I still didn’t want to kill the ants, so I continued patiently migrating them out of my room. I sought out their main hideout and sealed it with cello-tape. But, it didn’t work as these resourceful ants found another way into my room. I couldn’t possibly seal off the wall outside my window, could I? Then, I sealed off all my food, even the dried ones, in Tupperwares and put them into the refrigerator. I wiped my entire room with strong solutions of apple cider vinegar to no avail.

Frustrated, and thoroughly annoyed, I have to say, I did think of getting those mini ant poisons from the supermarket. But, I tried those poisons once a long time ago, and it didn’t work too. In fact, ironically, those ant poisons attracted more ants to the room. And, like I said, I didn’t want to kill them. It’s violating the Five Precepts.

Then, today, I tried to Google alternative ways and I chanced upon a piece of advice of sprinkling black pepper at the

black pepper , Kali mirch

Black pepper. Great to tantalize your taste buds, and to get rid of ants! Image via Wikipedia

ant source. Ants dislike the strong pungent smell of pepper and stay away from it. So, I experimented by sprinkling a layer of black pepper on the window sill and the cracks on the outer wall. Just 30 minutes after, there’s no more trail. I no longer have a moving black line on my yellowish-white wall. I’m glad.  Hoorah!

I cannot say that my room is completely ant-free because I still do see a few of them running around. But, at least black pepper helps to reduce their numbers, and now, I can go back to migrating those few wayward ants elsewhere.

I know that this entire post is thoroughly bizarre. Who in their right minds would boast about their obsession with ants? So, I have to say, please forgive me. From my city upbringing, I’ve been inoculated with the obsession of cleanliness and sanitation, and this compulsion has been further fueled by my ongoing research on hand hygiene for my medical history course.

Small hand-drawn ant graphic

Image via Wikipedia

Forgive me, but now, at least you know how to get rid of ants without killing them. It’s natural and environmentally-friendly too! Isn’t that just great?

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5 thoughts on “Managing ants with black pepper

  1. Hi Chrissy I found your Ant post by coincidence I searched for PSH and so I read how to offend the ants, I too in spring have carpenter ants and tried several things too but not black pepper, I’ll try that then next year, we have fall now in New England (US) but I was amused by your story, good luck studying, Simona

    • I don’t know whether we have carpenter ants in the tropics. I was trying this out with the tiny black and red ants.

      Now, I clean my room with lavender-scented cleaning products. This works very well too.

  2. hi chrissy, how is the life like in Ridgeview vs Kuok Foundation house? and Tower Bolokc in RVR vs Blocks? What about the number of singaporeans there? I am really rather urgent as to find out which one i should opt for!

    • Oops, sorry for the late reply. It would have been much better if you asked this on KFH’s Facebook account.

      Anyway, I was a RA for KFH (so I’m very biased). Haha.

      But, having stayed in KFH and RVR before, I can honestly say that KFH is much nicer. Much cleaner, much nicer RAs (because it’s tradition. We have high standards for ourselves), much more strategic (easier to walk to Utown, and still accessible to the library, McDonald’s, YIH, Sports Centers, and etc.). If you want more adventure, you can even walk to Clementi (20-30 min of walking).

      Like all residences, there are more foreigners in KFH and RVR. Most Singaporeans flock to UTown, or the residence halls.

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