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Buddhist approach to removing pests from the home

I was wondering if there is a non-killing way to remove pests such as ants from the home. Our current solution is the ant bait which is supposed to kill the colony. However I am becoming uncomfortable with that method as I am trying to not kill as much as possible. My house is clean by most standards but it is in the woods so I have a slew of creatures coming in and out of my house.
Any Ideas? My mother in law swears they go away if you just ask them to. But i am a skeptic to say the least.

Comments

  • DandelionDandelion London Veteran
    Oh, I pleaded with the fleas. Maybe they didn't spk English?
    Had to zap them in the end.
    I don't think there is a non killing way, maybe it depends on the type of pest?
    But yes, to find a non killing way would be great.
    oceancaldera20742bodhi
  • There are lots of ways people claim to keep ants and other pests out of a house without killing them, but I have never found any of them to be very effective.
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    edited September 2013
    karmatib said:

    I was wondering if there is a non-killing way to remove pests such as ants from the home. Our current solution is the ant bait which is supposed to kill the colony. However I am becoming uncomfortable with that method as I am trying to not kill as much as possible. My house is clean by most standards but it is in the woods so I have a slew of creatures coming in and out of my house.
    Any Ideas? My mother in law swears they go away if you just ask them to. But i am a skeptic to say the least.

    In your situation you'll either have to learn to live with the ants or accept the karma associated with killing them.

    A year ago, we had a pair of Racoons getting all jiggy in our attic. We contracted with a pest control company that would not kill what they caught. They got the 'Coons and were good to their word, relocating the vermin to another locale.


    BTW, a pair of racoons having vigorous sex in your attic is not the same as watching porn on TV.
    federicariverflowMaryAnne
  • Here in Chile we have a very dangerous venom spider in almost every house, is recommended by authorities to kill it when we found one. If one of that spider bite you and you don't get a vaccine this could be mortal.

    I don't know what alternatives we have to deal with it. Is sad. :(
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited September 2013
    karmatib said:

    I was wondering if there is a non-killing way to remove pests such as ants from the home. Our current solution is the ant bait which is supposed to kill the colony. However I am becoming uncomfortable with that method as I am trying to not kill as much as possible. My house is clean by most standards but it is in the woods so I have a slew of creatures coming in and out of my house.
    Any Ideas? My mother in law swears they go away if you just ask them to. But i am a skeptic to say the least.

    If you are saying that you have got ants in the woodwork of the house then I think that your pondering days are over. Get an exterminator on the double before they chew out too much wood!

    Or you could of course ask your mother in law to ask them to leave. Have you tried it? I am curious. No really I am!

    /Victor

    EDIT: Oh I misread you. You mean your house is in the woods? How long have you lived there? But in that case I think that your mother in law is right. The ants will move out on their own once they realise the house is occupied! I have seen it happen.

    It can take a couple of years though.

  • NMADDPNMADDP SUN Diego, California Veteran
    If I know the exact locations where ants are coming from the outside and inside of the house, I use cinnamon powder to block those locations. Cinnamon seems do the trick, and it is non toxic.

    For those that are already inside the house, I use a used toothbrush to sweep them into a long/tall plastic cup. The reason for the long/tall cup is when the ants are already inside cup, it takes some time for them crawl up, so I will time to sweep others and shake them down again. I use the same technique to catch spiders too. For spiders, do not catch two spiders into one cup. One time I did that, one spider kill other spider instantly when the two met.

    I also chant the "Great Compassion Mantra" and ask these Ant Bodhisattva to go back to where they were from. There is a story about it, I do not remember the detail, something like there is a monk in Australia that chants the "Great Compassion Mantra" to ask these Ant Bodhisattva to leave the temple, to go back to where they were from.

    I also chant "Om Mani Padme Hum". Got the idea way back when stumble on this where a group walks the perimeter of the building site chanting Om Mani Padme Hum. (picture #10 from the link below).
    http://www.sravastiabbey.org/gallery/2012/aug12chenrezig.html

    Compassion to all beings when possible :)
    seeker242
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    ants are hard because they are so small that many attempts to remove them ends up killing them anyhow.
    Our best solution to all bug-related problems has been
    #1 prevention, preferably not harmful to the environment. We have a ton of birds and squirrels and other things, and too often animal rehab sees animal poisoned and very ill and suffering due to pesticides and other poisons. We actually have pretty good luck with citrus stuff, but I've never tried it for ants. Ants we mostly seem to prevent by being really careful with food garbage. Rinsing recyling out thorougly before putting it in the bin, fully closing garbage bags and putting them in a can with a tightly closed lid, keeping floors swept and washed, and blocking any entrances we find.

    #2 removal. Get a Bug Vacuum. It's actually marketed as a kids toy. But they work remarkably well, and are far easier than a cup and sheet of paper. We use them for moths, flies, mosquitoes, whatever we can. it's reducing our killing of bugs by probably 75%. The only thing we haven't found a solution for is hornets that build nests in the ground near our firepit. We spend too much time out their with the kids to just leave them be, and they are aggressive, will attack and bite even if you don't disturb them. So, so far we have only been able to bomb them and attempt every year to make the area inhospitable for them, but so far every year they continue to show up.

    #3 realized that we need to do the best we can. Often, we found we could do better so we made improvement. But sometimes, we can't, like with the hornets or when big horse flies bite and take a chunk out of my ankle, most of the time my reaction is to swat before I even thin otherwise. Working on that one, lol. But sometimes we need to maintain balance and reason as well, it doesn't make any sense to expose the house and family to illness in order to avoid killing bugs, if no other method works.
    oceancaldera207
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I've heard that ants don't like crossing cream of tartar . I have to kill insects now and then.. I just try my best not to.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited September 2013
    For some reason that reminded me of the war between black ants and red ants I had in my driveway this summer. Apparently the crack running through the middle of the concrete is prime territory, and these two colonies went at it one day. In Michigan the soil here is mostly sand and while it's easy for an ant to dig a hole, each rain soaks right through. I guess it was the waterproof location they wanted.

    A line of black warriors came from the house side, and red warriors about twice their size from the neighbor's side. The red ants were twice the size but the black ants seemed to have numerical advantage and three or four would gang up on one red. At nightfall I went out and the battlefield was abandoned except for the corpses from both sides. I never knew which colony won, except that I have only seen black ants after that around the driveway.

    So nature has nothing against killing.

    I guess the only thing I want to point out is, the traditional Buddhist prohibition against killing is fine, but it shouldn't be taken to extremes. Sure some monks live in carefully maintained temples where they can take vows not to kill even bugs. While it's commendable that as a lay Buddhist you want to do the same, how come this attempt to imitate the monks never extends to their vows of celibacy? Lay Buddhists who insist on eating only vegetarian and not killing a fly have no problem understanding that "no sex" is a monk thing and regular lay populations might be better off with a less severe lifestyle.

    Just sayin'

    karastiblu3ree
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    While it's commendable that as a lay Buddhicowant tokilli same, how come this attempt to imitate the monks never extends to their vows of celibacy? Lay Buddhists who insist on eating only vegetarian and not killing a fly have no problem understanding that "no sex" is a monk thing and regular lay populations might be better off with a less severe lifestyle
    @cinorjer

    Oh! see, its not an imitation of meaningless monastic customs, its about respecting and honoring life and living beings.

    Yes animals kill each other, but using that fact as justification for killing is logically flawed. By that line of reasoning, it would also be okay for humans to kill other humans.

    Your best bet is to argue that animals are not sentient/conscious enough to care whether they die, or feel pain.

    But then you have to really honest about how sentient/conscious animals really are.. this is something most people try not to think about.

    So then they just point out that killing is natural.
    But, as I mentioned earlier, that really doesn't logically mean anything in and of itelf.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Well, depending who you talk to, even in Buddhism sometimes it's acceptable for humans to kill other humans.
    Often times when it comes to bugs or critters in the home, it can be a health concern. While I understand that there are people who are advanced enough on their path that they would give their life for a bug in the house, I am not there, and so I would choose my health (and my kids' health) over the bugs' and they would have to go.
    vinlyn
  • Cinorjer said:

    There are lots of ways people claim to keep ants and other pests out of a house without killing them, but I have never found any of them to be very effective.

    I have tried almost everything I have read on the internet about ants but it hasn't worked. I literally have a war with from what I can see 3 different species of ant in my place. Every day I have to deal with and I know that it is more so me intruding on their land as much as they are intruding on mine so to speak, but they do become a problem when you need to keep food in certain places.

    When you think about it though, ants aren't really a health problem and if you just let them do what they are going to do, they will just take tiny bits of food away over time and be nothing more than a little line of workers. That is if they do not start to bbite you or whatever.
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    karasti said:

    Well, depending who you talk to, even in Buddhism sometimes it's acceptable for humans to kill othehumans.
    Often times when it comes to bugs or critters in the home, it can be a health concern. While I understand that there are people who are advanced enough on their path that they would give their life for a bug in the house, I am not there, and so I would choose my health (and my kids' health) over the bugs' and they would have to go.

    :)
    My philosophy is, do what you can. if you have to kill creatures, be mindful and respectful about it.
    And yes unfortunately, evil often does not stop until it is stopped with force. Difficult decisions that good people are forced to make.
    It's also complicated when animals must be put to sleep when they are suffering...and commonly, chronic overpopulation. I certainly would aid an animal to die to stop its suffering..it's humane and moral. You?

  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Lay Buddhists who insist on eating only vegetarian and not killing a fly have no problem understanding that "no sex" is a monk thing and regular lay populations
    I dont get it.. obviously monastic celibacy is a part of the comittment to seeking wisdom and avoiding the distractions of a household life. This is very different from the vows not to cause harm, which is a moral thing, and also an exercise in compassion and thoughtfulness and awareness. Its pretty thoughtless if you to say that the decision not to kill (as little as possible )and eat vegetarian is basically just some mindless imitation of monks. There's plenty of people who prefer not to eat meat and kill things without any admiration of religion. It is an ethical decision.
  • ants need food and water nearby,
    if you keep your house clean, they will move somewhere else.

    the main problem is we see ants as pesky and disposable.

    every life is precious, why kill unnecessarily.

    ps. once, i followed the ants to find their nest ie the queen,
    it was in an old pencil case. i carefully moved the box
    to the garden shed, and the ants followed.
    karmatib said:

    I was wondering if there is a non-killing way to remove pests such as ants from the home. Our current solution is the ant bait which is supposed to kill the colony. However I am becoming uncomfortable with that method as I am trying to not kill as much as possible. My house is clean by most standards but it is in the woods so I have a slew of creatures coming in and out of my house.
    Any Ideas? My mother in law swears they go away if you just ask them to. But i am a skeptic to say the least.

  • blu3reeblu3ree Veteran
    edited September 2013
    http://lifehacker.com/5817218/how-to-get-rid-of-ants-naturally
    never tried this myself, but seems like a good start.
  • Lay Buddhists who insist on eating only vegetarian and not killing a fly have no problem understanding that "no sex" is a monk thing and regular lay populations
    I dont get it.. obviously monastic celibacy is a part of the comittment to seeking wisdom and avoiding the distractions of a household life. This is very different from the vows not to cause harm, which is a moral thing, and also an exercise in compassion and thoughtfulness and awareness. Its pretty thoughtless if you to say that the decision not to kill (as little as possible )and eat vegetarian is basically just some mindless imitation of monks. There's plenty of people who prefer not to eat meat and kill things without any admiration of religion. It is an ethical decision.


    Sure, it's an ethical decision. I never said it was mindless, at least for many people. Sorry for giving that impression. I have great respect for people who deny themselves the experience of biting into a succulent hamburger because they don't want to contribute to the killing of bovines. But unfortunately people justify the practice by pointing to monks and how people live in temples.

    I've actually heard people say, "I might like being a Buddhist but I don't want to become a vegetarian."
  • salt. ants never like them. for cockroaches there is this chalk here in the philippines that you just draw a line across the floors and it keeps them away. bugs that flies incense keeps them away. finally, keep your house really clean and throw your garbage regularly. so they wont have any excuse in getting inside your house. just keep eveything clean and spotless. its a good chi also :thumbsup:
  • Cinorjer said:

    Lay Buddhists who insist on eating only vegetarian and not killing a fly have no problem understanding that "no sex" is a monk thing and regular lay populations
    I dont get it.. obviously monastic celibacy is a part of thr committment to seeking wisdom and avoiding the distractions of household life. This is very different from the vows not to cause harm, which is a moral thing, and also an exercise in compassion and thoughtfulness and awareness. Its pretty thoughtless if you to say that the decision not to kill (as little as possible )and eat vegetarian is basically just some mindless imitation of monks. There's plenty of people who prefer not to eat meat and kill things without any admiration of religion. It is an ethical decision.
    Sure, it's an ethical decision. I never said it was mindless, at least for many people. Sorry for giving that impression. I have great respect for people who deny themselves the experience of biting into a succulent hamburger because they don't want to contribute to the killing of bovines. But unfortunately people justify the practice by pointing to monks and how people live in temples.

    I've actually heard people say, "I might like being a Buddhist but I don't want to become a vegetarian."

    Well that Is a good point..people tend to not know that a buddhist laypersons life need not have tons of strict behavior restrictions. If anything, Buddhism should be a support and enhancement for decent and open minded people. You're absolutely right, it's not 'monk or nothing'... and its too bad that people feel that way.
    And yeah, to be honest, i have to admit, it probably is actually a mindless imitation for some.

    but as far as giving up that succulent hamburger goes, believe it or not, some of us don't feel all that deprived not eating meat. I feel about eating cows and pigs the way you probably feel about eating dogs or cats..(and my (ex) girlfriends family overseas (Korean) certainly eats dogs occasionally; I'm not going to say 'how dare you!'...because I understand that it's a cultural norm there and a personal choice, not my place to judge. )

    For me, sometimes baking chicken smells good in stores if I'm hungry.. but that's about the extent of it. Its really not that extreme. I'm only saying this because just like we agree there is the perception that Buddhism is exclusively a strict monastic practice, there is also the perception that vegetarianism/veganism is an extreme, crazy practice of deprivation with no purpose beyond ritual.

    Now what's really tough is a low calorie diet (torture)!
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