Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Environmentally Friendly Pest Control

Tomato Worm (photo:
One of the first paying "jobs" I ever had was picking bugs. My aunt offered to pay my cousins and me to pick the potato bugs and tomato worms off of the plants in the garden. It was a gold mine. We were given a penny for a potato bug and five cents for a tomato worm. While far more lucrative, the tomato worms were also disgusting. If you weren't careful they would squirt you with a gross green liquid that my aunt insisted was tomato juice. It didn't actually occur to me until this very moment to question what that liquid might be. At any rate, we worked hard that day and were rewarded for our labour, and the potato and tomato plants were saved.

Fast forward 30 years. Last summer was a particularly bad one for ants, especially when the doors weren't always getting closed when the children went out to play.  I told the children I would give them a penny for every ant they killed in the house, as long as they also stopped letting them in! It was a very effective, economical, and non toxic method of ant control. Of course since we no longer use pennies in Canada, they had to catch five before they could be paid. My daughter argued that she should have a nickel if she caught three, since without the penny, cash transactions should rounded to the nearest five cents.  She has always been quite the negotiator.

Then one night I heard a lot of thumping, stomping and laughter coming from the other room, along with gleeful exclamations of "We're rich! We're rich!" I ran in to see what the commotion was about. Hundreds of tiny ants were on the rug and rather than getting me, the children saw it as a money-making opportunity. Here were their pennies from heaven. So. Many. Ants. After dealing with the infestation and disposing of the rug, I gave them each $2.00, I suggested that it is in times like these that it is more appropriate to find an adult to help. They are natural born entrepreneurs though, I'll give them that.
Three Ants (photo:

How about you? Have you ever been paid for catching bugs? Do you have other non-toxic ways of dealing of dealing with pests? A penny for your thoughts?