Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Consumer Report - Ant Bait

The other day I went into the kitchen to get a drink and saw what looked like dirt race across the floor. After analyzing the floor closely I realized what was happening, we have a little ant problem. Now the word "little" refers to the ants, not the problem. You see, they were all over the floor. They loved the food Bentley left for them on the floor. It was like manna from heaven (for the ants, of course).

Anyway, we had some ants last year and I purchased a couple different ant bait/trap gizmos. They seemed to work moderately well, but they never disappeared until I sprayed all the floor edges with Ortho Max insecticide and then we never saw another ant until just a couple days ago. So, I thought I would test a different trap/bait thingy and see how they compared.


This experiment was conducted in my kitchen using the 3 ant trap/bait solutions I had on hand. These were the Raid® Ant Baits PLUS™(active ingredient: N-ethyl Perfluorooctanesulfonamide 0.5%), Grants Kills Ants®(active ingredient: arsenic trioxide 0.46%), and Terro® Ant Killer II™(active ingredient: sodium tetraborae decahydrate (Borax)).
All three were placed side by side in the ant trails that were adjacent to a cabinet and refrigerator. Ant preference to the bait was measured by counting the number of ants that left a bait/trap with 'food' and headed back to the colony. The bait was left in place for over an hour so the number of ants and their preference would equilibrate.

--I'm glad this is not a peer-reviewed blog journal... this experiment would be thrown out so fast...--

Anyway, the number of ants was counted by myself over the course of a minute, and replicated twice. The number was averaged and rounded to the nearest integer for reporting purposes. Results were graphed using Excel, and if the following photos show up, you will see a graph of the data. No statistical analysis was run at all.


The bait that appeared to have the highest ant attraction was the Raid® Ant Baits PLUS™ that had a mean ant visitation of 22 ants/min. The next highest was the Terro® Ant Killer II™ with a mean ant visitation of 18 ants/min. These two highest baits had ants crawling all over them during the test and it was difficult to decide when an ant was done eating or if it was just going halfway back to the colony, and then realized it was still hungry and headed back.

The lowest ant yield in this trial was Grants Kills Ants®. It had an average ant visitation of 6 ants/minute. No ant was actually seen taking this bait back to the colony, unlike the other two. It may have been because this bait is more suited for the larger ants, and the ants we had were very small and loved the sticky sugar of the Terro and bait and also the easy access of the Raid ant bait.

I'm not sure what the implications of this highly non-scientific test are, but I know that as of this writing, the number of ants in my kitchen have decreased significantly. I hope this will help any of you who may find ants in your homes.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DST Part II - The truth comes out.

After posting the last tirade about the lies of DST and how it will not save any energy, I've received a lot of comments (only 3 posted comments, however). Some were in complete agreement, and other were not. One person even told Nikkala that my posts were boring and that she fell asleep reading them. Well, I'm sorry that I put any of you to sleep. At least you don't read my posts while you are driving. That could be really dangerous.

But now to the point... and especially to those of you who think I got it wrong with DST. Read this and then post how sorry you were to ever doubt me!

This morning Ars Technica had a short article on the early results of the changed DST. Here is a quick quote from the article (although I hope you all read the whole thing):

As it turns out, the US Department of Energy was correct when they predicted that there would be little energy savings. This echoed concerns voiced after a similar experiment was attempted in Australia. Critics pointed out a basic fact: the gains in the morning will be offset by the losses at night. That appears to be exactly what happened. Reuters spoke with Jason Cuevas, spokesman for Southern Co. power, who said it plainly: "We haven't seen any measurable impact." New Jersey's Public Service Enterprise Group said the same thing: "no impact" on their business. So while the US government pats itself on the back for at least looking busy, know that the main goal—energy conservation—has not been met.

The Reuters article mentioned above is where the story broke. It mentions some of the same things that my last post mentions... including the fact that less than 10% of electricity is used for lighting. The story fails to mention the increased use of other energy sources because of the change. The Australian study mentioned in the earlier post (found here) mentions this about energy saving models and reality:

Moreover, the lessons from Australia may carry over to the U.S. and to California—Victoria’s latitude and climate are similar to those of central California. In 2007 DST will be observed in March—a month that is analogous to September in Australia, when our point estimates suggest that DST will increase rather than decrease electricity consumption. Further,when we re-estimate the simulation model that supported a DST extension in California, using Australian data, we find that it over-estimates energy savings. This casts suspicion on its previous policy applications in the U.S., and provides further evidence that current plans to extend DST may be misguided. It should be noted that our estimates of energy use likely represent a lower bound, as we account for electricity consumption only. Including gasoline demand in the analysis may increase the estimate of DST’s effect on energy consumption, as longer and warmer evening hours drive an increase in evening leisure travel.

This is the real problem, dependence on foreign oil. Saving electricity generated from hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, and other sources is not going to "save the world". What we need now is that 300 mpg carburetor...or this little gem!