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Chalk Dust, Cinnamon Spice and Coffee Ground as Insect Repellants Essay


There are several household problems we and our helpers encounter at home. These may be issues regarding food supply and storage, cleanliness and sanitation. One of the most common problems is the presence of household ants, especially the red ones, causing a disturbance in our own system of food storage. Red household ants do not only infest stored food in the kitchen but also bite our skin and destroy well- landscaped gardens by building ant hills. Because of this observation, we decided on conducting a study that would eliminate ants with the use of alternative substances that can also be found at home. With this study, we will not only discover other uses and benefits of household waste products but also provide new ways of promoting clean and sanitized homes by eliminating insects. Once proven effective, chalk dust which is one waste product in the classroom, will also be of good use at home.


The study aims to find more possible uses of household waste products aside from remaining as garbage such as coffee grounds, and discover further and effective use of chalk dust. Also, we aim to eliminate household insect especially ants that would cause a nuisance in our kitchen.


Talcum Powder- an ingredient in both chalk and baby powder, and is a natural ant repellant. Brewed Coffee- coffee produced from a process with the use of coffee maker wherein hot water drips onto coffee grounds held in a coffee filter made of paper, plastic, or perforated metal, allowing the water to seep through the ground coffee while extracting its oils and essences. The liquid drips through the coffee and the filter into a carafe or pot, and the spent grounds are retained in the filter. Coffee ground- is the used bitter powdered coffee that remains in a pot or coffee-maker after brewing your coffee.

HYPOTHESIS: All three substances tested will give significant results in repelling ants.


* 50 grams of coffee ground * 50 grams of cinnamon spice * 50 grams of chalk dust| * Similar area where the three experiments will be conducted, same length * The same ant pathway where the substances will be placed * 1-3 tbsp. of sugar |

Resulting Variable: Time it takes for the ants to move away from the repellants


Ant and Its Symbolism
“Chinese consider and identified ant as the “righteous insect” and attribute orderliness, virtue and patriotism. On the other hand, Muslims consider the ant as the earthly teacher of Solomon and an embodiment of wisdom.” (Retrieved from http://sherryandrea.com/ant-symbolism-and-meaning/)

“In the Old Testament, the Ant is referred to as some harvesting species which are to this day found in Syria and all around the Mediterranean basin. These species wherever they are found, as the latest investigations of naturalists have proved, lay up stores for the winter. In the Tamuldic Literature, The ant was mentioned being experimented by Simon ben Halafta to ascertain whether they inhabit without a ruler. Also, it was mentioned that ants procure food. There were also statements in the Book of Proverbs where it is pointed out that the wisdom of the Creator is manifested in the fitness of the body and wonderful life of the Ant.”

“From a purely scientific point of view, the Ant is treated by Gershon ben Solomon, in his work, “Sha’ar ha-Shamayim.” The Ant, he says, gathers its wheat in the harvest, biting off the germs of the grains in order to prevent them from sprouting and thus preserving them from rotting- a fact verified by recent observation. The Ant, he says further, is proportionately the strongest of all creatures, being able to carry from two to four times its own weight. Moreover, it can move both ways, forward and backward.”

History of Brewing Coffee

In the early history of coffee, the coffee beans were dried and eaten. By the 16th century, coffee was roasted before being ground and boiled in water. The entire resulting mixture of liquid and grounds would be consumed. The invention of the Ibrik (A small pot used in brewing and serving Turkish coffee that was invented in the late 16th century.) allowed for a more skillful technique of brewing. In the 18th century, the French developed the drip brewing technique wherein coffee is produced by using a cloth bag as a filter to separate grounds from the liquid coffee. This technique allowed for steeping the coffee at a lower temperature as it was not brewed while constantly adding heat. (Retrieved from http://coffee.wikia.com/wiki/Brewing)

Chalk in Prehistoric Times

As found in nature, chalk has been used for drawing since prehistoric times, when, according to archaeologists, it helped to create some of the earliest cave drawings. Later, artists of different countries and styles used chalk mainly for sketches, and some such drawings, protected with shellac or a similar substance, have survived. Chalk was first formed into sticks for the convenience of artists. The method was to grind natural chalk to a fine powder, then add water, clay as a binder, and various dry colors. The resultant putty was then rolled into cylinders and dried. Although impurities produce natural chalk in many colors, when artists made their own chalk they usually added pigments to render these colors more vivid. Carbon, for example, was used to enhance black, and ferric oxide (Fe 2 O 3 ) created a more vivid red.


1. Gather the variables needed. You can find cinnamon spice in your kitchen. If not, you may use any spice available (e.g. pepper, black pepper, garlic). Collect coffee grounds after brewing coffee with the use of a coffee maker. Collect chalk dust from other classrooms. Measure the quantity and make sure that each one reaches the same amount- 50 grams. 2. Choose an area at home where you can find an ants’ pathway and measure its length. This will also be one of the controlled variables in the experiment. 3. Make sure that there are ants present. If none, place a few pinches of sugar or food crumbs to attract the ants. 4. Once the ants are present, choose among the three substances to be placed first along the path and put it evenly making a thin line. 5. Record the time it takes for the ants to leave the place. 6. Repeat steps three to five with the use of the other two substances and record the results on the Table of Data and Observation below. You may also take pictures during the experiment.

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