Frank consults his niece, Ann, about how to handle an insect invasion.
F:Annie! Help me! I've been robbed in my own backyard!
A:Do you want me to call the cops?
F:Yes, call the ant police! This time they've descended on my picnic and infested my lemon meringue pie! How can I get rid of them?
A:Why would you want to do that? Your backyard is the ants' natural habitat. They actually help ...
F:Yes, I know --- ants maintain the ecological balance --- but they have to go.
A:You could use a mixture of water and vinegar, and spray your yard. ...
F:Too smelly! Maybe I could just buy some predator bugs, such as the praying mantis, to keep watch.
A:They might not cooperate. They eat more than just ants.
F:How about pouring hot water on the anthills?
A:That works, but planting things like spearmint, southernwood, and tansy could both beautify your yard and deter your invaders.
F:Sounds like too much work to me. Couldn't I just line the perimeter of my yard with something to keep them at bay?
A:You could try bonemeal, powdered charcoal, or lemon peel. Or sprinkle a solution of flour and borax around the yard. Ants won't cross those barriers.
F:Great! Thanks, Annie.
A:Anything to keep your pies out the hands of those vicious insects.
--by Charlie Chan