Domestic Encyclopædia (1802)/Ant-Hills

ANT-HILLS are so well known, that they require no additional description to that given under the article Ant.—They are very injurious to dry pastures, not only by wasting the extent of soil which they cover, but by impeding the scythe at the time of mowing, and yielding a poor food, pernicious to cattle. The manner of reducing them, simply consists in cutting them into four parts, from the top, and then digging deep enough to take out the core below, so that when the turf is replaced, it may be somewhat lower than the level of the rest of the land: thus the place will be more wet, and the ants prevented from returning to their former situation. The earth taken out should be scattered, or removed to a considerable distance, lest they might collect it, and soon form another hill. This useful kind of work ought to be performed in winter; for if, at that season, the places be left open, the frost and succeeding rains will destroy those ants which are in the lower part of their habitation. In Hertfordshire and Somersetshire, a particular kind of spade is used for this purpose; its blade is very sharp, and so formed, that the whole edge describes about three-fourths of a circle.