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Sunday, April 30, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,


Cornmeal won't kill ants but will feed them

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 12:40 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

In the old days people were told to put cornmeal on the ant piles, and the cornmeal would kill the ants when they ate it. Is this true?


Sprinkling cornmeal on anthills does little more than feed the ants.

Worker ants, the ones that do the foraging, don’t eat solid food. Instead they take found food to their larvae, which consume it and secrete a liquid to feed the rest of the colony.

“All colony members are able to eat liquids but only a select group of larvae can process solid foods. … A liquid diet is forced upon adult fire ants because they have a filter near the mouth that screens out particles larger than 0.88 micrometers,” Stephen Welton Taber writes in “Fire Ants.”

“For comparison, a typical bacterium is about that size, and many are too large to enter the insect’s digestive tract. Solids strained out by this sieve accumulate in a pocket and the resulting pellet is fed to the oldest larvae, which do not filter their food.”

The cornmeal sprinkled atop an anthill may rile up the ants and make them want to leave their mound. But they won’t die — and they likely won’t go far.

LC code provisionsregulate chickens

Can you tell me if there are restrictions on having a few chickens within the city limits of Lake Charles?

“Any person keeping chickens, ducks, geese or other fowl or rabbits within the city shall keep such fowl and rabbits within pens or other enclosures which shall not be nearer than 50 feet from any building used for residence or commercial purposes,” reads Section 4-7 of the city code.


‘Subsequent’ used for numbers after 4th

Is it true that once a person has been arrested for DWI four times the charges no longer accumulate?

It’s true that state law has no provision for the ordinal numbering of DWI offenses beyond “fourth,” but if a drunken driver is arrested a fifth time he or she will still be charged with DWI — in this case, “fourth or subsequent offense,” the wording in R.S. 14:98.

First- and second-offense DWI are misdemeanors; third- and fourth-offense are felonies. The penalty for fourth-offense DWI includes 10 to 30 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.


The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email

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