Monday, August 15, 2011

A Natural Soultion to Ants (And Other Bugs)

Every spring (yes, I've been meaning to post this for a while), we get inundated with ants in the kitchen. Blech. I've tried just about ever imaginable natural solution: tea tree oil, peppermint, orange and lemon, cinnamon, etc, etc, etc. I spent all of last spring trying to defeat the ants with no success. They would continue coming in--Ants are easily squished, but they soon come back--and in greater numbers. (hee hee. anyone get that mangled allusion? anyone? anyone?)

This ant is not one that invaded my house. I invited this one in!
He lives in our AntFarm.
Well, this year, I found a miraculous, all-natural, non-toxic bug destroyer! Diatomaceous earth. Wha? That is a mouthful, but read on--it's worth it.

Diatomaceous earth (not dirt) is a rock that contains fossilized diatoms, one celled algae that have a hard cell wall, like a shell. The rock has been ground to a fine powder and you can sprinkle it where ever you have ants (or any bug with an exoskeleton, like roaches, stink bugs, or bedbugs). The bugs walk across the powder, which contains microscopic shards of the diatom's shell, and it makes tiny cuts in their exoskeleton, and they dehydrate and die. Yes! Triumph!

I sprinkled it across my door frame and window sill, and I sprinkled some on the anthills in my backyard. And within two days, there were no more ants in my house. I sprinkled more on the anthills a week or two later just to make sure that any new ants would die! Die! Die!

I bought diatomaceous earth at a local garden center, but it is also available online and at some home improvement centers. I have tons left over for future springs and in case of other insect invasion.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Increasing Garlic's Health Benefits

I love garlic. It is yummy and really healthy, too. And recently I read that waiting 10 minutes between chopping your garlic and cooking it preserves the anti-cancer properties (and anti-inflamatory, anti-fungal, and anti-atherosclerotic properties)!

Mostly, that's all you need to know. But if you quest for more nerd knowledge, like I do, there are two compounds in garlic that are separated from each other by the cell walls. When the cell walls are cut, the two compounds combine, do some enzymatic magic, and form allicin. (Allicin is the anti-cancer, anti-everything-bad compound.)

This is why you need to wait to eat the garlic, even if you're eating it raw. It needs time for the enzymatic action to create allicin.

Awesome! And research shows (this is one of my favorite phrases, by the way. I use it frequently. [I'm a nerd.]) that rats fed garlic that was cooked (but didn't sit for 10 minutes) showed no health benefits and rats fed garlic that was chopped, sat, and then cooked DID show health benefits.

So mince, wait, and enjoy the health benefits.