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Taking aim at ants

September 18, 2003

With some embarrassment, I read David Colker's "Ants Balk at Chalk, but What's in It?" (Sept. 11). I've no claim to Asian ancestry, only a profound trust in urban legend. Street science assures me that ants don't breathe lung-wise, just through their hides. If I shut off whatever they use for pores, they quit gathering in my kitchen. I don't need to poison them; I just cosset them with leftover baby powder.

Two years ago I explained this to a neighbor and he gratefully powdered his own ants to ant heaven and even applied a powdery trail around the kitchen of the Hermosa Beach house he was "sitting" for a traveling friend. The friend returned and called the FBI. After the talc trail was checked for anthrax, I quit giving household hints even when they work.

Roxy Edith Battles

Redondo Beach


I have gotten the same results using ... a legal U.S. product: Crayola brand white chalk.

Gary Best



... cinnamon.

Josephine L. Smith

Palos Verdes Estates


... Terro liquid ant baits.

Lynn Marks



... cloves.

Mary Cohart

Beverly Hills


... low-frequency wave wall plug-in devices the size of a cellphone. We have not seen more than two ants in the two years since we installed them!

Michael Bagish

Los Angeles

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