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The chocolate cake had only been on the table for 20 minutes or so. But by the time I had reached over and taken a bite out of this early morning sugar loaded pick me up I had company. Not that I noticed at first. But feeling something ticklish in the back of my mouth I soon find out: a whole army of ants had appeared from nowhere and were now forming an orderly procession that ran from half way across the room to the remainder of the cake.

Perhaps I’m cursed and the ants are taking revenge. Not so much for what I did in an earlier life but for what I did earlier in this life. Cos when I was a kid I used to teach these tiny little blighters a lesson. Armed with little more than a huge glass lens that had been salvaged from an old piece of world war two equipment I was able to make sufficient inroads into reducing the ant population – provided that the British weather didn’t let me down. Things would be much easier now of course, now that global warming has kicked in and winters are a thing of the past.

But there are other ways of getting rid of ants besides frying em. So many years later, it seems I won’t have to get out my magnifying lens again. I just need some borax:

Controlling ants is a constant challenge in Indonesia. Their industrious efforts to sustain their nests mean that trails of ants into your home may be a fact of life during your stay. Spraying trails of ants in your home is totally ineffective. Ants make their nests in your yard, in the attic or in your neighbor's yard and attic. Only a direct attack on the nest will eradicate it. Fortunately there is a more environmentally friendly alternative to spraying Baygon on the ant nest ... trails of ants are relatively easy to eradicate by placing a simple mixture of a small amount of borax glycerin, put in a sweet liquid and set near the ant trail. They will consume the borax and take it back to the nest to feed the queen ant ... and the nest will die. Indonesian drink syrup works great with the borax! You can obtain borax glycerin crystals from your neighborhood apotik (pharmacy).

The problem shouldn’t be taken lightly either: Indonesia has some of the most voracious ants in the world. Some can kill birds, and others can, apparently, “reduce a tethered cow to polished bone in several weeks”.

Myopopone castanea. Will eat anything but especially likes chocolate cake.





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