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  1. #1
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    Default How to keep ants off your food

    In well travelled camp places, there is sometimes a problem with ants.
    On our desert hikes, we usually spend a few days at the beach in a pretty basic but very nice camp.
    There is a massive number of ants, which are so tiny that you could easily overlook them, just tiny black slashes of 2mm.
    They can access any box or container, and will chew through most of the usual plastic wrappers.
    So if you leave the backpack just plain resting on the floor, after one day your food most likely is spoiled.
    Even hanging the pack or the foodbag off a chord will not solve the problem, but just postpone the issue for another day or so.

    First solution I found so far is, to spray the chord the foodbag is hanging on with Moskito repellent.
    Works fine for a few days, but eventually the repellent will fade and the ants come back.

    Then I had the idea to apply a "Cup" to the middle of the chord, fill it with water and by this create a barrier that no ant will be able to pass.
    Now I'm asking if anybody ever heard about or seen such a "Cup"?
    If not, I'll produce one my own to see how it works.

  2. #2
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    For my humming bird feeders, I made one from a small aluminum can punching a hole in the bottom using a wire and JB weld. Kept the ants away.

  3. #3
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    One of my friends owns an exterminating company. Knowing my aversion to rampant use of insecticides and pesticides, yrs ago he told me to use ammonia. It works here in Georgia for the very tiny hard to individually see reddish black ants that rampage over food and drink around the kitchen and pantry.

    I spray Dyneema packs with a WPing but on just the bottom how about applying Permethrin.

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  5. #5
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    Bottle nipple - I'm afraid they won't work, as there is no geometry that would hold the "Cup" upright and the brim even.
    What I would need is something like a bottle nipple (bottom-up), the nipple upended, and something to keep the stuff from tilting off.

    When in this camp, I makeshifted a device from a piece of paracord and a plastic bottle srew-cap.
    Looked nice and easy, but (a) was leaky and (b) didn't stay even.

    This is (almost) 3rd world, so anything complicated would not work.
    Best would be to makeshift something out of the all-present litter, like plasic bottles.

  6. #6
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    An idea hit me just minutes ago:
    Cut off the top part of a syringe. Might just need some seal, wax could do the job here.

  7. #7

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    Thread the nipple onto the hanging cord and select the spot you want the nipple to be. Fill the long/narrow part of nipple with silicone caulk. center the cord and let dry. Nipple remains on cord during storage. Make it work! :-)

  8. #8
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    ants ain't a problem on the AT. walk on

  9. #9
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    True, the topic might fit better in a more technically related forum.
    But maybe you could make good use of the experience with an ant-stopper to develope a bear-stopper?

  10. #10
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    Ive never had an ant eat thru a ziploc. And i dont want to run into ones that can
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  11. #11
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    Maybe a brand new Ziplock can keep them off, but how long is a Ziplock in the backpack really brand-new?
    Fact is, these tiny ants chewed through almost any bag, box or wrapper we ever had our food in.

    Discussed the baby bottle nipple idea with my wife a bit, and as soon as our grandkids have a surplus one I'll give this a try.
    One big advantage might be, that the setup would be rubbery and elastic so easy to store in the pack.

  12. #12

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    Borax powder.
    I live in the tropics.
    We have lots of ants.
    Spreading some borax around problem areas works.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    Maybe a brand new Ziplock can keep them off, but how long is a Ziplock in the backpack really brand-new?
    Fact is, these tiny ants chewed through almost any bag, box or wrapper we ever had our food in.

    Discussed the baby bottle nipple idea with my wife a bit, and as soon as our grandkids have a surplus one I'll give this a try.
    One big advantage might be, that the setup would be rubbery and elastic so easy to store in the pack.
    Give me your address in a PM and I;ll send you 2 new ones to experiment....Christmas Gift. I ship to Austria :-)

  14. #14
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    Talk about Ultralight! No need to carry your own protein, just leave the carbs out for 15 minutes, and boil.

  15. #15
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    @Glenn:
    Love the idea with Borax.
    Will tell the owner of the camp about it (and lets hope they can get Borax in Egypt)

    @Zelph:
    Too big a honor!
    Shipping baby stuff to us would equal to carrying water to the ocean.

    @Zalman:
    Those beasts are so tiny you'd need hundredthousands to ge a mouthful.

  16. #16
    Registered User MtDoraDave's Avatar
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    Treat the hanging cord with permethrin.
    Similarly, treat a lightweight cloth bag (pillow case?) with permethrin and store the food in that.
    .
    Windex (glass cleaner with amonia) kills ants on contact. I use it on my kitchen counter when those little buggers show up. After it dries, however, it doesn't seem to be a repellent.

  17. #17
    Registered User MtDoraDave's Avatar
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    ...and I have seen a hiker on the AT using one of those fabric bear-proof sacks whose food was ruined by ants - so this discussion could be applicable to AT.

  18. #18

  19. #19
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtDoraDave View Post

    .
    Windex (glass cleaner with amonia) kills ants on contact. I use it on my kitchen counter when those little buggers show up. After it dries, however, it doesn't seem to be a repellent.
    So does dish soap. In fact soap/water used to kill antpiles
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  20. #20

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    So does dish soap. In fact soap/water used to kill antpiles
    Only if it contains amonia as does windex.

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