Ants will not Cross a Chalk or Powder Line

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated July 26, 2008)

5

I once had a neighbor, Bruce, who had several apple trees which bore fabulous fruit each season. The apples made the best apple pies I'd ever tasted. However, one particular season Bruce had problems with ants climbing his apple trees to feed on the aphids. Aphids eat plants, become engorged with sugar, and then ants suck the sugar from the aphids. It's little wonder that ants protect aphids, even picking them up and moving them to more plump areas of the plant. Aphids serve as a constant source of sugar for ants.

Bruce's apple trees were literally infested with the ants, protecting the feeding aphids. His apple tree leaves were being consumed voraciously, endangering his apple crop for the season, and dashing my hopes for savoring a tasty apple pie.

One hot sultry morning found Bruce outside, shaking his apple trees. I walked over to where he worked, and watched. He shook one tree, picked up his daughter's thick sidewalk chalk, and drew a thick chalk line around the diameter of the tree trunk, about three feet up from the ground, and then placed a few worms on the tree branches. Bruce treated each tree in the same manner until he had performed this strange ritual on each one. I asked, "Bruce, what in the world are you doing?" He told me that he shook most of the ants from his trees and, since ants won't cross a chalk line, he drew the line so that the ants wouldn't climb the tree. What I thought were worms were actually lacewing larvae, which ate all of the aphids. It took about four days for Bruce to totally rid his apple trees of ants and aphids, and I was able to enjoy my tasty apple pie that season.

I learned that day that ants will not cross a chalk or powder line. Why? Because when ants travel, they leave a pheromone trail that can be followed by other ants. When you deposit chalk or powder across their trail, the pheromone path is broken, and then the ants will find another route. If you find ants around your home, draw a thick chalk line or a good portion of talcum powder around the foundation of your house, across door thresholds, along window sills, and anywhere you think ants would travel to get into your home. You can also chalk or powder your plants if you see ant activity, or even douse ant hills with several shots of talcum powder. The ants will lose the scent of the colony and move on to other areas.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

MORE FROM DORIS

Easy Bread Recipe

Have you ever wanted an easy bread recipe to use? If you are looking for a great, easy, and wonderful tasting homemade ...

Discover More

An Electric Chainsaw for the Home Handyman

If you've got trees in your yard, sooner or later you are going to need a chainsaw. They are indispensable when it comes ...

Discover More

Cleaning Cobwebs from Ceilings

For many people, cleaning spider webs is something of an exercise in controlled terror. After all, since one of the ...

Discover More

Cover Your Entire Back Yard! Flowtron's lantern-style insect killer uses nontoxic ultraviolet light to eliminate mosquitoes, biting flies, and other insects over a 1/2-acre area. Hang it up, plug it in, and you are ready to go. Cleaner, safer, and longer-lasting than messy chemicals. Check out Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer today!

More Pest Tips

What are Sugar Ants?

Sugar ants are identified by their black heads and orange and brown bodies. They are most active around dusk.

Discover More

Getting Rid of Ants without Chemicals

If you've ever wondered how to get rid of pesky ants without using harmful chemicals and pesticides, there are some great ...

Discover More

Stop Ants from Getting into Your Home

If you want to avoid the nuisance of ants inside your home, then find a way to keep them outside. Seal their entrances ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 4?

2015-07-19 18:25:16

Dennis

When sitting and/standing in a hot area and waiting for the bus to arrive, Plenty of ants surround the area you wait in. Surounding with chalk is a good barrier.


2014-06-28 22:32:33

sommer

will ants go past any color of chalk


2013-05-06 17:04:39

awyatt

Talcum powder, as it says later in that same paragraph.


2013-05-04 09:20:46

Jackie

Hello. What powder do you mean?


Thanks,

Jackie


2012-06-24 22:44:18

tina

Thank you much! I just moved into new place & there's a slight ant problem coming along. This is really helpful and informative.