Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/354

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libraries[1] by eating the books, but those already mentioned are the principal ones.

Ants (Formicidæ).—Of the large black or brownish ants that trouble us in store-rooms but little can be said, as, so far as I have examined the authorities within my reach, I have found but little mention of them. Judging by my own experience, they are very difficult pests to expel from the house. Cayenne pepper is said to be disagreeable to them, and arsenic mixed with any kind of attractive food will kill them. Oil of peppermint is found very effectual in driving them away, but everything in its vicinity is so permeated with the odor that its use can not be recommended. It is often said that borax will drive them away, but this has been tried without success; however, according to a writer in the Popular Science News, the borax should first be heated, to deprive it of its water of crystallization. Hot alum-water is very offensive to most of the insect pests of the house, and should be applied with a brush when nearly boiling hot.

Ants are extremely fond of sugar, and anything containing it will attract them. A glass of jelly left uncovered within their reach will be found tunneled in every direction, and, by pouring boiling water upon it, the ants within may be killed.

An excellent and simple trap for them is a sponge wet with some sweet sirup. When the interstices of the sponge are filled with the ants, it can be carefully taken up and plunged into boiling water, and again set for them after saturating the sponge with the sirup.

Another trap which is still more simple is a plate covered with a thin layer of lard, which should be placed in the closet frequented by them. This would probably prove more effectual in catching the little yellow ant (Myrmica molesta), which is sometimes very troublesome in the house.

Mention should be made of the white ants, which, although resembling the true ants in appearance, really belong to the order of Neuroptera. The only species found in the United States does great damage by eating the interior of the wood-work of buildings. These ants enter the timbers of the foundation from below, and extend their galleries to the top, leaving the outside untouched, so that their presence is unsuspected until the supports suddenly give way.

Several years ago the "dungeon" as it is called in the State House in Boston, was found to be undermined by them, and Dr. Hagen apprehended considerable trouble if their depredations

  1. Prof. Verrill found in the library of Yale College a caterpillar belonging to the genus Anglossa eating the leather bindings of old books. When ready to transform, this larva spins a silken cocoon, and after a short time there issues from it a little moth measuring half an inch across its spread wings.