Hot alum water is a recent suggestion as an insecticide. It will destroy red and black ants, cockroaches, spiders, chintz bugs, and all the crawling pest which infest our houses. Take two-pounds of alum and dissolve it in three or four quarts of boiling water; let it stand on the fire until the alum disappears; then apply it with a brush while nearly boiling hot to every joint and crevice in your closets, bed steads, pantry shelves, and the like.
Brush the crevices in the floor of the skirting or mop-boards, if you suspect that they harbor vermin. If, in white-washing a ceiling, plenty of alum is added to the lime, it will also serve to keep insects at a distance. Cockroaches will flee the paint which has been washed in cold alum water.
Chalk and Ants
Sugar barrels and boxes can be freed from ants by drawing a wide chalk mark just round the edge of the top of them. The mark must be unbroken or they will creep over it, but a continuous chalk line half an inch in width will set their depredations at naught.
Moths in Woolen Garments
The ravages of these pests may be prevented by the use of the following receipt: Mix half a pint of alcohol, the same quantity of spirits of turpentine, and two ounces of camphor. Keep in a stone bottle, and shake before using. The clothes or furs are to be wrapped in linen, and rumpled pieces of blotting paper dipped in the liquid are to be place in the box with them, so that it smells strong. This requires renewing about once a year.
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