Spring is actually here in the St. Louis area! The temperature has been (and is forecasted to be) in the high 60s and low 70s during the day, and in the 50s at night. We went to sleep with the windows open last night and woke to the sounds of birds chirping. Life is good!
However, another sign of spring has been scurrying around in my kitchen. We've got our yearly infestation of ants. Each year they find a crack to come in; they don't read the memo that tells them they're not welcome. Since I'm opposed to using chemical sprays in the house, each year I try different deterrents, in ascending order of harshness, until the ants decide my kitchen isn't hospitable and leave.
This year vinegar wiped on the counter didn't do it, nor did the lemon juice I splashed in the crack I traced the ant line back to. In years past I've bought lemons, used the juice for cleaning, then threw the peels in the dark corners under the cabinets, and sprinkled cayenne pepper along their trails. If none of those work, I bring out my version of an ant atomic bomb--I sprinkle a borax-and-flour mixture around the house foundation. That always stops them (until the next year!)
However, today I didn't have lemons or borax in the house, and I wasn't planning on going to the grocery store. My friend Google came to the rescue. Out of the thousands of hits for "natural ant repellents", this one was my favorite. I scrolled down the list of tips looking for an ingredient that I had in the house. Bingo! Today I tried using cinnamon as a natural pest deterrent.
I moved the plants off the shelf by the sink, sprinkled cinnamon all along the perimeter, and brushed it into the edge next to the wall. I opened the windows above the shelf, sprinkled some at the edges of the frames, and tried to work it in so it wouldn't show against the white plastic. I washed the window seat where plants had been overwintering, and shook some in the corners there. I opened up the cabinet under the sink that holds the trash can and did my best to get the spice along the edges. If it doesn't work, at least the areas will smell good!
I didn't see any ants running away from the cinnamon in apocalyptic terror; when I got home from work, I was disappointed to see four ants scurrying on the counter. I'll give the cinnamon a day or so to work. If it isn't effective I'll move on to another natural remedy.