Ants in Power Points

Dear Margaret
I saw on
BURKE'S BACKYARD(A popular Aussie TV Gardening show) that ants in power points can cause house fires. I often find ants wandering around near one of my power points, but I don't want to get in a pest control company as Don suggested. Nor do I want my house to catch fire. What can I do?

White-footed black ants often nest in wall cavities, & while their forays into the pantry are annoying, they won't do any harm. Indeed, they make short work of any termites attempting to work their territory. But, like humans, ants have a population problem, & they are constantly on the lookout for potential development sites. They prefer small dark spaces with an even warm temperature.
My first encounter with this highly creative use of modern technology was when a cassette jammed in my VCR. On investigation I found ants had been nesting inside it for some time, & had eventually glued up the eject mechanism! More recently I discovered minute property magnates attempting to take over a compact fluorescent light bulb. In switches & power points they could conceivably cause an electrical 'short', but in most cases you would soon become aware of this when using it.
These days many appliances continuously draw a small amount of current, making the active power point an attractive nesting site.
If you prefer not to call in the cowboys, & can't locate or afford a responsible pest controller, you may be interested in the following strategies. They are fairly safe, though item 4 should be used only IF YOU ARE INTELLIGENT & USED TO WORKING WITH ELECTRICITY! BUT I CAN TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU DECIDE TO USE THEM.

NB Borax is no more toxic to humans than many laundry products. Wash your hands after using it, even if you wore gloves, & keep it out of the reach of children. It also works on cockroaches, which also occasionally get into the wiring.

Note: In researching & answering questions about earthwise living, Margaret offers information, opinion, & personal experience, but no quick fixes! Readers should evaluate these offerings in the context of their own situations; they are suggestions, *not* recommendations. Any responsibility for their implementation rests *solely* with the reader.

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