Ash and Insects


Drugstore Beetle Photographs: Kamran Iftikhar

Ash, the residue left from burning fuel such as wood is a readily available product of civilization that has a variety of uses. Ash can be abrasive and have some insect deterrent effect. Some cultures have traditionally mixed ash with stored grains and seeds in attempts to reduce insect infestations. R. Miller notes the presence of ash spread around saddle querns in tombs at Amarna may have been an effort to reduce insect infestation of the grain left in the tomb. However, the use of ash to protect foods may be more of a prayer than effective strategy. Several scientific evaluations of ash as an insecticide found that in some cases, incremental reduction results, but the results are typically not satisfactory.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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